– By Donna Carbonaro

We all know that mosquitoes breed in lakes and ponds, but in your backyard? Mosquitoes find the same things attractive in a yard that we do. Lush lawns and landscaping and shade from trees and shrubs give adult mosquitoes the perfect resting areas. Standing water in fish ponds, water fountains and birdbaths are excellent places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and for larvae to grow and thrive.

Mosquitoes are very adaptable and can breed in water as shallow as 1/16 inch. During warm summer weather, water only needs to stand for a few days for mosquitoes to complete their life cycle.  What steps can we take to minimize mosquito friendly habitats but keep the yard we enjoy?

  •  Empty water from unused buckets, flower pots and other unused containers and store them where they will not collect rain or water from sprinklers.
  • Dispose of old tires
  • Change water in pet dishes, watering troughs and birdbaths at least weekly.
  • Keep water levels up and clean debris from fountains weekly. Moving water does not attract mosquitoes, so keep recirculation pumps in good working order.
  • Avoid overwatering your yard which can lead to standing water. If water pools in your lawn or garden, fill in any low spots with sand.
  •  Fix faucets, air conditioners, hoses and sprinklers that leak and puddle.  

Remove excess vegetation in and around ornamental ponds. Ponds can be stocked with mosquito fish (provided for free by the San Benito County Agricultural Commissioners Office) or use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products such as Dunks, Plunks or Bits (available at most hardware stores and garden centers) to keep the pond free from mosquito larvae. Keep recirculation pumps screened to prevent clogging. 


  • Keep rain gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris. 
  • Seal rain barrels so mosquitoes can’t breed in them.
  • Fill open tree holes with sand or mortar.

If you need help with a mosquito problem or to obtain mosquito fish, please contact the Mosquito Abatement Program at the San Benito County Agricultural Commissioners Office at (831) 637-5344.