I read this great article about how native plants can help reduce mosquito populations by attracting more of the critters that eat them! I saw it on the blog for a company based in Idaho called Conservation Seeding & Restoration. Rather than trying to rewrite a great piece, I present it here in its entirety! Their blog is excellent, by the way, and I highly recommend checking it out here.
Mosquitoes. The pesky insects don’t just bite; they can spread disease. CSR’s answer? Install native plants to attract mosquito predators! Dragonflies, various birds and bats are all wonderful mosquito-eaters that we can attract using native plants.
Western Coneflower, Sunflower and Owl’s Claws are three great draws for small birds. Cattails and bulrushes attract dragonflies and other mosquito-eating insects. You can add dense shrubs that provide cover for birds and mosquito-eating insects such as Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush, and food such as Golden Currant, Chokecherry and Serviceberry…just to name a few!
The addition of bird houses and trees for nesting are also beneficial. You can attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, finches, cardinals, grosbeaks, sparrows, blackbirds, jays, woodpeckers and indigo buntings by filling your bird feeder with sunflower seeds and safflower.
A birdbath is also a good method for attracting birds. Birds are naturally attracted by dripping water. If you are shopping for a birdbath, try to find one that has a fountain or some type of running water -which will also prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Lets not forget about bats! Each night, one bat will consume thousands of insects – including mosquitoes. Attracting bats to your yard is as simple as placing a bat house. For best results, bat houses should not be placed in a secluded corner. However, bat houses need to receive at least six hours of sunlight each day. Suspend two houses back to back on a pole about twenty feet off the ground. One house should be painted a light color, and the other one needs to be painted a dark color. The light color house should face the northwest and the dark colored house towards the southeast. This will help enable the bats to switch houses as the climate changes.
By making a few changes in your landscape, you can control those pesky mosquitoes -naturally!