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Getting Rid of Mosquitoes

By Gerry Stansfield

Neoregelia 'Morris Henry Hobbs'

During the hot summer months, Auckland and many other places in New Zealand have mosquitoes.

For those of us who grow bromeliads in our gardens this can become a real problem. Here are some suggested ‘solutions.’

If you have only a few bromeliads, the problem can be best solved with a spray of ordinary fly spray in the cups and surrounding leaves, but if you have many hundreds or perhaps thousands of plants, this method is obviously not suitable.

So, let’s look at the life cycle of the mosquitoes as it can help us to combat them more efficiently. Their life cycle has various stages: e.g. egg, larva, pupa, and adult. If the life cycle is interrupted on any one of these, then the mosquito can’t reproduce. This interruption can occur in several ways.

Preventing water from standing is obviously the best way, as each of these stages requires water, but unfortunately so do our bromeliads, but hosing them out over the summer months is one way we can prevent them from breeding. But here again, if you have a large number of bromeliads and many of us do, this can be not only time consuming, but awkward, stretching over large areas of plants etc.

One very good solution come from our well known Auckland grower Len Trotman of Te Atatu South.

(Actually, this was not originally designed for mosquitoes but as a repellent against Slugs, Snails, and also to avert quilling in bromeliads).

Len Trotman’s recipe for mosquitoes:
transgenic-mosquitoes 1
500ml of Sunlight Liquid (dish washing)
200ml of Household Cloudy Ammonia.
100ml of Citronella or Pine-O-Cleen disinfectant.
Pour the contents into 5ltrs of cold water.

As this mixture is very concentrated use only at 2 to 4 tablespoons per litre of water in your watering cans. It can also be mixed with your liquid fertilizer, and can be used weekly if desired. It is not detrimental to your bromeliads even at the seedling stage.

You will notice when spraying, that foam is generated, but this is not a problem as each of the stages in the life cycle of the mosquito is dependent upon the surface tension of the water. The adults rest on the surface to lay eggs and the other forms hang below the surface. If the surface tension is broken, then the life cycle is interrupted ?

Some of this information was extracted from the Internet through the Hawaii Department of Health. Our grateful thanks. G.S.

Extracted from the September 2002 BSNZ Journal

Please also look at this excellent article on the FCBS website Mosquitoes are not necessarily a bromeliad problem at all. Ed


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