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Controlling Insects & Mosquitoes in Water Butts

This tip  for Controlling Insects & Mosquitoes in Water Butts was sent in by a reader. We’ve not tried all the tips – so if you try this tip, let us know how you got on in the comments box below.

Water ButtsWe’re always happy to get comments, tips and even full articles for the site from gardeners: just contact me or pop your tip in on the comments box below.

Happily mosquitoes are just an irritation, sometimes severe,  to most of us in the UK but they’re a massive disease spreading problem in hotter parts of the world.

Other insects have similar lifestyles and biting midges are found where it’s damp or there are ponds and standing water. Even with fairly well fitted lids on the water butt, they often find their way in. One female can lay hundreds of eggs.

To avoid this happening float some olive oil on the top. Just enough to cover the surface with a very thin coating. About a tablespoon full should be enough.

After a month or two skim it off and replace with fresh oil. It may look a mess but it will not affect the water quality and I guarantee it will stop them from laying any eggs and kill any larvae.

Before you treat your water butt, remove anything floating on the top.

If you have a tight well sealed lid that will also stop them but most butts are just not that tight. Normally a water butt only requires that you start off with a clean interior and that you draw off the water regularly to stop it becoming stagnant.

The only reason for using olive oil instead of the cheaper oils is that olive oil will not separate allowing minute particles to sink down into the water below. It also lasts longer without going rancid. Otherwise any oil does form a barrier and that’s what it’s all about.

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4 comments on “Controlling Insects & Mosquitoes in Water Butts
  1. Jane Victoria Farquharson says:

    thank you so much for tip on olive oil will pop some in on top

  2. Thomas Hevezi says:

    Very interesting but does anyone know how long you can store the water?
    Most of the web searches suggest that rain water can only be kept for a week or so and even then the jury is out as to using the water on vegetables and other crops.

    • John Harrison says:

      I don’t know what you’ve been reading but water stored up in the winter will be usable all summer or longer. Drinking water does need more care, but we’re talking water for the veg plot.

  3. Thomas Hevezi says:

    Thanks John

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