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I just read about three interesting, non-chemical ways of keeping a rain barrel free of pesky critters:

1. Put a goldfish or two in the barrel. I especially like this one because of the happy little ecological world it creates. The fish eat the mosquito larvae and then poop out beneficial elements (mainly, nitrogen) for your garden. Things to remember: leave enough of an opening so that the fish can receive oxygen from the surface, and take the poor guys out before the first frost!

2. A thin layer of vegetable oil on the surface of the water can prevent mosquito larvae from clinging to the surface, which is how they breathe. The oil slick will also serve as a barrier for insects to enter the water. Do not use this method with goldfish because it blocks the availability of oxygen.

3. Filters - cover the intake with a piece of old nylons or netting. You will need to clear out the filter regularly and ensure that there are no holes for insects to pass through.

 

Any other suggestions? What about growing water plants in the rain barrel? Has anyone tried that?


Tags: control, garden, insect, mosquito, pest, water

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I also heard a single drop of essential oil (any kind) will do the trick as well:)
Goldfish! I love it!
The goldfish is an awesome idea! But how to filter fish waste? Or...is it a good fertilizer?
Ohhhh boy! Did you ever open up a can of worms with this subject... LOL. Sorry about the pun. My Hubby and I were just discussing this article when we both looked at each other and grinned.... we often think alike. Why not take the rain barrel goldfish idea just one step further and make it not only functional, but, attractive as well? If I have fish anywhere, I want to SEE them in their cozy little under water world.  Instead of buying a plastic or wooden barrel to collect your rain, build your own. Just because it will be classified as a rain "barrel" doesn't mean that it has to be round. And when building it, make one side see thru. Picture sitting out on your patio, a little fire going in your fire pit, sipping on a cup of coffee, and watching your fish swimming around happily in their own little eco-system, providing you with not only entertainment and relaxation, but, healthy fertilized water to use in your garden or patio plants.  Adding plants should not be an issue as they are beneficial to both the water and the fish living in it. Instead of having just a plain old water fountain or little pond, you now would have something that is functional as well as enjoyable..... Hmmmmmmm..... think we'll be working on this project soon! Thanks for the awesome idea!
The fish waste is an awesome fertilizer as long as it is diluted. It is a hot fertilizer so one must be careful not to use too much. But, since it would only be a couple of small fish in quite a bit of water, it should be diluted enough that you wouldn't have to worry about burning your plants. Happy Growing!

Caroline Malcolm said:
The goldfish is an awesome idea! But how to filter fish waste? Or...is it a good fertilizer?
We often use Bettas or goldfish for this. They keep the mosquitoes down, and look nice too. We also have some parrot feather and duckweed (both water plants) that we tie a small weight to, that live in one of our barrels.

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