Those little, squirming things in your birdbath are container-breeding mosquitoes (Figure 1). These mosquitoes are in their larval stage. Adult container-breeding mosquitoes lay eggs wherever water collects, which can be natural structures—like bromeliads—or artificial ones with standing water—like your birdbath. The eggs are either laid in batches (called rafts) that float above the water, or singly. When the larvae hatch, they eat fine organic particles from the water.
Figure 1. Container-breeding mosquito larva, Aedes aegypti. Photograph by Catherine Zettel Nalen, University of Florida.
In Florida, about 13 species of container-breeding mosquitoes exist. A few major species that can be found statewide include the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), the Florida St. Louis encephalitis mosquito (Culex nigripalpus), and the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus). The aforementioned mosquitoes act as vectors, carrying pathogens that can cause diseases in people such as Zika, yellow fever, dengue, St. Louis encephalitis, and West Nile virus.
To stop container-breeding mosquitoes from thriving in your birdbath, clean it out at least once a week. For more information about controlling and preventing mosquitoes from breeding around your home, click here!
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This guest post co-authored by Shari Linn, a member of the UF/IFAS Gillett-Kaufman Lab.