No one likes mosquito time, especially not near a creek, pond, lake or other body of larvae-breeding water. Luckily, poultry and waterfowl owners can rejoice in the knowledge that their feathered friends do like the little pests, and will often eat them up by the truckload. Most fowl eat mosquitoes, though ducks and guinea hens are particularly noted for their abilities to consume large quantities.
Ducks such as the Muscovy love to eat mosquitoes, both in winged adult and in larval form. Moreover, because ducks take so well to water, and because mosquitoes lay their eggs in water to hatch into larvae, ducks have ready access to mosquitoes before they even become adults. Ducklings as young as two days old will go after mosquitoes. Many types of duck will perform this valuable service; India Runner ducks are another example.
Chickens and Turkeys
Chickens and turkeys, both types of barnyard fowl, eat a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, grasshoppers and Japanese beetles. They also enjoy ticks and flies, other nuisance insects that may attach themselves to you, your pets or other livestock. Letting chickens and turkeys loose into the yard and among your crops gives them access to mosquitoes and other irritating insects, but be careful not to allow them too near tender young plants. Wait until plant crops are older and tougher, so the birds do not eat seedlings. Turkeys may also go after fruit.
Guinea fowl are known for their insatiable appetites, and this extends to the bugs in your garden. While they particularly enjoy ticks, insects such as mosquitoes, beetles and grasshoppers are also on the menu. They also go after millipedes and spiders, providing chemical-free pest control in your yard as well as reducing the incidence of Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks. As an additional benefit, they eat fleas, reducing the chances of infestation of cats and dogs.
Several types of non-fowl birds also eat bugs, including mosquitoes. The yellow warbler, for instance, is a resident of almost all parts of North America at least part of the year, and its diet includes mosquitoes. The common nighthawk eats a wide variety of winged insects. Other birds eat other nuisance bugs, such as caterpillars and beetles. If you want to attract bug-eating native birds to your yard, cultivate native plants. Various types of wild duck also live in most parts of the United States, so planting native cover and providing water sources can entice them onto your property to eat pesky bugs.
- Mother Earth News: Natural Pest Control for Gardens with Ducks!
- Mother Earth News: Poultry Pest Patrol: Control Insects with Barnyard Fowl
- Mother Earth News: Poultry Pest Patrol
- University of Kentucky: Raising Chickens and Poultry for Home Pest Control [PDF]
- Mosquito Squad: The Guinea Fowl Is Pecking Away at Tick-Borne Illness
- ENature: Garden Patrol: Ten Birds That Help Control Garden Pests
Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.