Mosquito larvae - natural treasures, fish food and pests

Mosquito larvae - natural treasures, fish food and pests

the essentials in brief

  • Mosquito larvae go through four stages of development and live mainly in water.
  • Large numbers of mosquitoes make mosquito larvae an important part of the food chain, primarily for fish and birds.
  • Red, white and black mosquito larvae serve as fish food in ponds and aquariums or are the target of control measures in the garden and home.

Portrait of red mosquito larvae - natural treasures and a source of food

Red mosquito larvae are masters of adaptation, clever survivors and mostly live in water. The filigree, slender larvae are rich in important nutrients and live in huge schools. These attributes make red mosquito larvae valuable natural treasures and an inexhaustible source of food for fish. Midges hatch from red mosquito larvae with a lifespan of a few days. In contrast to some other members of their species, mosquitoes do not bite or suckle blood. The following portrait summarizes important information about red mosquito larvae:

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Appearance and habitat - profile

Red mosquito larvae are the offspring of mosquitoes that gather in huge swarms for a wedding dance. After mating in the air, the females drop numerous eggs over the surface of the water or attach small packets of eggs to the bank. The insects don't have much time to start a family, because dance mosquitoes only live for a few days as imago. Red mosquito larvae hatch from the eggs. The following profile sums up important identifying features and preferred habitats:

  • Body shape: slim, worm-shaped with head capsule and distinctive mouthparts
  • Composition: 3 breast segments with 1 pair of stubby feet in front, 9 abdomen segments with pusher
  • Color: red (use of hemoglobin for oxygen supply)
  • Movement rhythm: meandering
  • Main habitats: standing and flowing water with fresh or salt water, less often bank substrates
  • Diet: algae and suspended matter, floating leaves, empty larval shells
  • Thermal resistance: heat-resistant up to 51 ° Celsius and frost-resistant

The vast majority of the 570 mosquito species known in Central Europe practice a clever survival strategy in the larval stage. Red mosquito larvae live in self-made tubes to protect themselves from predators. Under the protection of these webs, the caterpillars complete a total of four larval stages until they pupate for a few days, hatch as finished mosquitoes and soar as light as a feather into the air for a wedding dance.

Purpose in life and possible uses

mosquito larvae

Red mosquito larvae are a coveted delicacy for fish. A wide range of species ensures supplies in every season. There are early spring types (March / April), spring types (April / May), summer types (June / July) and autumn types (September / October). The main hatching time is in summer when mosquito larvae are needed most urgently as a food source. The larvae often attach themselves to the surface of the water with their tubes, which makes them easy prey. Not only amphibians make use of the abundant food source, but also domestic birds and migratory birds.

Owners of fish ponds, aquariums and terrariums have not missed the benefits of the mosquito larvae. For this reason, red mosquito larvae are dried or can be bought as frozen food in most specialist shops and on the Internet.


Experienced anglers know that when red bait is dangling from a fishing rod, curious and hungry fish are not far away. Dried, red mosquito larvae, which give hegefishers and competitive anglers the best catch rates, are perfect.

Differentiate mosquito larvae by color

In the realm of mosquitoes, joy and sorrow are close together. Mosquitoes, in particular, make life hell indoors and outdoors when the beasts are after our blood. Good to know that the color of mosquito larvae reveals which mosquito species will hatch after pupation. The following table explains the differences:

SurnameLarvae ofStinging type yes / nohabitatSuitable as
Red mosquito larvaeMosquitoesNoWater and earthFish food, reptile food, bait
White mosquito larvaeTufted mosquitoesNowaterFish food, reptile food, bait
Black mosquito larvaeMosquitoesYeswaterFish food, reptile food, bait

The above portrait illuminates in detail the high regard for red mosquito larvae. Black mosquito larvae, on the other hand, arouse ambivalent feelings in people because they transform into the hated mosquitoes. Of course, this does not matter to the fish in the pond and aquarium, because they eat the larvae regardless of which species they belong to. White mosquito larvae represent the minority among native species and are less common in the wild than red and black larvae.

Mosquito larvae in the pool - what to do?

mosquito larvae

A pool magically attracts female mosquitoes to use the inviting surface of the water as a place to lay eggs. Within a short time the pool is teeming with mosquito larvae, which spoil the joy of swimming. Without countermeasures, hosts of mosquitoes hatch and hunt for human blood donors. You can put a stop to this bold hustle and bustle by combating mosquito larvae in the pool. The following methods have proven themselves in practice:

  • Remove mosquito larvae with a pool vacuum
  • Alternatively, destroy mosquito larvae with a filter pump, ideally a sand filter system
  • Home remedies for killing mosquito larvae: Add detergent to the pool water

As a preventive measure, we recommend covering the water with a pool tarpaulin after every swim. The installation of water features is more attractive for the appearance of the pool and just as effective in prevention. Mosquito larvae have little chance of survival if the water surface is constantly in motion. Additionally, we recommend keeping an eye on pool chemistry. Primarily the pH value should be checked regularly. Values ​​below 7.2 and above 7.6 are regulated with adequate pool products.


Kill mosquito larvae in the rain barrel

The rain barrel is one of the most dangerous breeding grounds for mosquitos in the garden. Female mosquitoes interpret standing water as a welcome invitation to lay countless egg packages on the surface. A carpet made of mosquito larvae announces the impending mosquito invasion. By breaking the surface tension of the water, you destroy mosquito larvae sustainably. The use of chemical agents is taboo if you want to water your vegetables with water from the rain barrel without hesitation. As a home remedy, a few drops of washing-up liquid are sufficient to end the swarm of mosquito larvae in the water barrel.

Breeding mosquito larvae yourself - how does it work?

Financial considerations are not in the foreground when fish pond owners or aquarists decide to breed mosquito larvae themselves. You can buy red mosquito larvae dried or as frozen food at an affordable price. The most important motive for breeding is the controlled framework from which mosquito larvae emerge. Purchased mosquito larvae always harbor the risk of being contaminated with parasites or pollutants. We looked over the shoulder of experienced aquarists and found the following options for breeding mosquito larvae:

  • Fill the tub or tub with water, set it up outside so that female mosquitoes lay their eggs
  • Check out rain barrels with friends, skim off swimming mosquito larvae, put them in the water barrel at home
  • Collect mosquito eggs yourself in water, let them grow into mosquito larvae in a water bucket
  • Important: Cover the vessel with an insect net or old silk stockings to prevent it from escaping

All options come with a lot of effort and a variety of risks. Red mosquito larvae often protect themselves as flying mosquitoes with self-spun tubes until they hatch. In order to get to the larvae as live food for fish, the tiny quiver must first be removed with great care. Simply collecting mosquito eggs and larvae from unfamiliar waters without the permission of the owner can have legal consequences.

Fighting mosquito larvae - tips & tricks

mosquito larvae

In water-rich regions, cities and municipalities deploy heavy artillery to combat mosquito larvae before they turn into stinging pests. The association “Municipal Action Group to Combat the Mosquito Plague” alone invests around four million euros every year along the Rhine to destroy up to two billion mosquito larvae. The focus is on black mosquito larvae, which mutate into the dreaded mosquitoes. Hobby gardeners can benefit from the experience gathered by the experts for effective control of pests outside and inside. We have compiled practical tips & tricks for you below:

Fight mosquito larvae outside

A proven means of combating mosquito larvae comes from the realm of bacteria. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis was discovered in the mid-1970s for the biological destruction of mosquitoes in the larval stage. It is a subspecies of the Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium and has been used as a biocide ever since. The bacteria can kill mosquito larvae in the water within a short period of time without causing damage to other animals or the environment. Neudorff mosquito-free is one of the top products on the market with this active ingredient and approved for use in home and allotment gardens. How to use the agent competently:

  1. Buy biocide in tablet form
  2. Application of the rain barrel: crush 1 tablet in every 50 liters and stir in with a wooden stick
  3. Use in the pond: add 1 tablet per 1000 liters to the pond water
  4. Repeat control every 4 weeks
mosquito larvae

With the help of a fizzy effect, you can check whether the remedy is doing its job. In a water barrel, all mosquito larvae are destroyed within 2 to 3 hours. The duration of action in the pond depends on the water volume. Since Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis is a very specific agent, it does not affect other aquatic life such as fish, frogs or toads. A disadvantage is that the bacteria not only kill black mosquito larvae, but also harmless white and red mosquito larvae have to believe in them.

Kill mosquito larvae inside

In living spaces, the control of mosquito larvae mainly focuses on preventive measures. Avoid potential breeding grounds. How to do it right:

  • do not leave open liquids standing around
  • Dump the dog and cat's drinking bowl every day, clean it and refill it fresh
  • Remove water from saucers no later than 10 minutes after watering
  • Do not put a filled, open water glass on the bedside table
  • Always put away wet bath and kitchen sponges

Do not underestimate the damp sink in the bathroom and kitchen as a potential nesting place for mosquito larvae. If you pour a large gush of boiling hot water into the opening every day, mosquito females will thwart your plans. In addition, we recommend regularly scrubbing all drain openings in the house thoroughly with a brush and vinegar water.

frequently asked Questions

How long do mosquito larvae take to hatch?

Mosquito larvae go through four stages of development until pupation. Depending on the species and habitat, this period extends from a few weeks to several months. Mosquitoes therefore spend most of their lives as larvae. The pupal stage lasts only a few days, with hatching even with red mosquito larvae within a few seconds and with black mosquito larvae within a few minutes.

What helps against mosquito larvae in the pool?

Buy a pool vacuum with a telescopic rod. With this device you simply suck off mosquito larvae from the surface of the water. If this method is too time-consuming for you, install a sand filter system to remove mosquito larvae from the pool. It is cheaper to use dish soap that you drip onto the surface of the water. This breaks up the surface tension and the mosquito larvae sink. This procedure has the advantage that you primarily kill black mosquito larvae of mosquitoes. Red mosquito larvae, on the other hand, breathe through the skin and are spared.

I want to breed mosquito larvae for live fish food. What do mosquito larvae actually eat?

Mosquito larvae have very different ways of life. Most species live in the sweet or salt pass and adapt their diet accordingly. The menu mostly contains degradation substances from the water and tiny algae. Some species of mosquito larvae settle on aquatic plants to nibble on the floating leaves. There are also predatory species that feed on other insect larvae. White mosquito larvae, for example, like to hunt water fleas. If you breed mosquito larvae yourself, the nutrition plan depends on the respective species.

Red mosquito larvae are suitable for which fish?

Whether you feed red mosquito larvae in the pond or aquarium depends on the composition of the fish. Familiarize yourself in advance with the profile of every species of ornamental fish that cavort in the water. Many freshwater and saltwater fish like to eat red mosquito larvae and can tolerate this diet well. These include sticklebacks, carp and goldfish. For some fish, on the other hand, consumption causes digestive problems, such as the exotic cichlids.


Have cunning black mosquito larvae escaped your attention and are now buzzing around as brazen mosquitoes? Then make an effective mosquito trap with home remedies. Put 200 ml of water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 drop of washing-up liquid into a small bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film, which you prick with a thin sewing needle. Mosquitoes greedily squeeze their way through the perforated film. When trying to nibble on the liquid, the pests sink hopelessly.