Plants to attract mosquito predators?

rebulahcApril 7, 2010

Hi everyone!

Sorry if this is has been covered in a previous post, but I'm desperate for some assistance for plants that might help to remove mosquitoes from our garden.

Our garden in Wayland, Massachusetts backs onto a large neighbouring standing water swamp which we do not have access to and which is a breeding ground for mosquitos. The swamp itself is a protected wetlands and we are unable to approach the swamp water directly.

I was wondering if there are any specific shade loving plants that you would recommend which are native to Massachusetts which might help to attract predators of mosquitos (perhaps in particular dragonflies?) to our garden. We would prefer to plant on the perimeter of the swamp since we would prefer not to use chemical means if possible.

Many thanks for any suggestions and help as it is greatly appreciated from a novice gardener!

Rebulah Conundrum

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deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)

I don't know of plants, but my husband was just told that the Purple Martin bird eats tons of mosquitos. AFter reading on the internet that this is an established myth, and PM's eat no to very little mosquitos, listen with caution to anybody advising you to attract purple martins. I was so excited about getting flowers and birdhouses to attract them! But, ah, reality is not so friendly...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:37PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

You might install a bat house or two - bats eat mosquitoes. Some sort of water garden (pool plus a few plants) should attract dragonflies.

Skunk Cabbage is a native plant that attracts insects that dragonflies eat. You may not care for the smell but you get used to it (at least I did as a kid).

That site also recommends yarrow, which is native.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:22PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I toss mosquito dunks into our wetlands. Completely organic and nonchemical, they contain a bacteria which infects mosquito larvae and only mosquito larvae. It doesn't completely eliminate the mosquitoes and they are relatively expensive, but I figure that once the population gets going for the season, it will self-regenerate. The years I haven't used them the mosquitoes have been much worse.

I would second the recommendation for bat houses and add the suggestions of homes for insect-eating birds. I see the swallows consuming many insects and also the flycatchers like phoebes and kingbirds, but I don't know what kind of insects. They are out early morning and late afternoon when there are mosquitoes out and about. You can find directions on the internet for making bluebird houses, and the tree swallows will nest in them as well. Or you can find them ready-made.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:32AM
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singleton165(z5 NH Seacoast)

A pool is a good suggestion for attracting dragonflies...we have a swamp nearby and I love watching them swarm in the summer. I don't have the woodline to grow skunk cabbage or I would in a heartbeat!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:51AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Barn swallows are wonderful mosquito predators. They love open fields and nest in and about barns and other buildings. We have a couple who nest in the eaves of our front porch every year.

I'd also echo what others have said about bats. Unfortunately their populations are way down due to the "white nose" virus.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 1:11PM
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pixie_lou

singleton - the problem with the pool attracting dragonflies is that the pool also attracts mosquitos.

I also use mosquito dunks. I need so many that I usually buy them wholesale. I've tried to find a place to buy dragonfly larvae online, but no luck.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Try putting up bat boxes high in a tree. Bats eat lots of mosquitos. The problem is that even with lots of mosquito predators you will still have more of the pesky biters than you want. The predators require a certain amount of prey in order to stay local. I would try the BT dunks if the swampy area is on your property. Don't under any circumstances get a bug zapper. Those things kill lots of beneficial insects.

Steve

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:53PM
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