Hardiness Zone: 6a
By lonrgr from Corsica, PA
A friend of mine and I have been using goldfish for the past few months. They totally take care of any skeeters, and the fish seem happy and healthy. We also feed them regular fish food. It's kind of fun going out in the morning with a cup of coffee and feeding the fish. :) I have a 29 gallon aquarium to move them into this winter with hopes of reusing them in the barrels next summer.
To keep them from going back in, make sure to cover with screening, the water can get in but momma mosquito can not. We change the water in our birdbath daily to prevent mosquito colonies.
Churning the water sounds like it would work because mosquitos only lay their larvae in standing water. You could skim them off too and squish them (gross but gets the job done).
I've always heard that churning the water drowns the larvae. This would be better than using chemicals. try churning the water for a minute every day. Also try covering the top with a board during dry weather. This will keep any bugs inside.
A rain barrel isn't a backyard pond. Putting any type of fish into a dark rain barrel is just plain cruel. Why not put a dollar's worth of window screening across the top, and buy another dollar's worth of bungee cords (from the Dollar store, of course) to hold it on. Problem solved, permanently, and nothing has to suffer and slowly die down there.
The person who said about the goldfish, is a good idea. Buy try buying feeder guppies or feeder goldfish. You get 12-15 for $1.00 & they'll last long enough to eat the mosquitoes. Some might even live long enough to become pets.
Please do not put chlorine in your perfect Rainwater, go to the pet store and buy a couple goldfish a little container of fish food generally goldfish don't live very long but I had my last 3 years until the raccoons got them, when the rainy season starts just keep them in a fishbowl until you can put them back out.
I just toss in a third or half bar of soap (depending on the size of barrel) and have no problems.
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