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Solar fountain for birdbath?

Discussion in 'Nature/Habitat/Garden Corner' started by pamD, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. pamD

    pamD New Member

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    I am looking at the NWF habitat program, and am trying to convince my husband that birds and birdbaths aren't all bad. The only way I can get him to agree to a water source in my yard is with fountain, in order to would prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Has anyone used the solar-powered fountains out there? Do they work? Do you think they would fix the mosquito concerns? I don't know if I have the capability to lay an electrical line to a fountain.

    Any other thoughts about easy and wildlife-friendly landscaping would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Pam D.
     
  2. Sunny

    Sunny Chief Advisor

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    If you put little fishies in the birdbath (little ones) and in a shady-ish area- that will keep mosquitos away.
     
  3. brim

    brim Member

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    I'm no avion expert, but wouldn't the birds (depending on species) eat the fish?
     
  4. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    The solar fountains do work .. however, you needed worry about mosquitos if you use the 'donuts' they sell for use in birdbaths. They are environmentally safe, do not harm the birds, but are toxic to mosquito larvae.



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
     
  5. Sunny

    Sunny Chief Advisor

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    Not sure- I asked my MIL's neighbor about the tiny fish in his birdbath and he said it was to keep the mosquitos away- so really I am just basing it on what someone told me- and I did see his tiny fish- don't know what kind they were- but they were alive and well...
     
  6. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    Probably giambusa <sp> ... they're known colloquially as 'mosquito fish', as they love to eat mosquito larvae.



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
     
  7. Linda Schlosser

    Linda Schlosser New Member

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    Mosquitoes are indeed an annoying pest and can transmit several harmful diseases. You didn't explain how large a birdbath you were thinking of so I am guessing it might be the common garden variety from home improvement stores on a little pedestal.

    If kept clean and the water is changed about every 5 days, you will have no problem. But if you want maintenance free changing water every few days isn't. (5 days is key because that catches the eggs and larvae between stages before they can hatch. Most birds that visit bird baths are seed eaters (Cardinals, finches, etc.) and insect or worm eaters (Robins, swallows). It is rare that carnivorus birds (fish eaters like herons) would be interested in such a small body of water.

    About the mosquitofish mentioned . . . "Gambusia affinis", is native to southern and eastern portions of the United States. They have been one of the most effective non-insecticidal and non-chemical methods of controlling mosquitoes for over eighty years. Mosquito fish do not lay eggs, but rather give birth to live young. These fish, therefore, require no special environment, as most other fish do, for depositing and hatching their eggs. They breed throughout the summer and new broods are produced at intervals of about six weeks, with 50 to 100 young in a single brood. The young are approximately 1/4 inch in length when born and grow to a maximum size of about three inches. They are ready to begin the work of destroying mosquito larvae at once. Mosquitofish can eat mosquito larvae as fast as the larvae hatch from eggs, as many as 100 per day. Mosquitofish live 2-3 years and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

    Where to use (and not to use) mosquito fish . . .
    Mosquitofish are intended to be used for stocking ornamental ponds, unused or "out-of-order" swimming pools, and animal water troughs. You may receive mosquitofish from your local vector control district (begin with Loudoun County Health Dept). If there comes a time when you no longer have a use for these fish arrangements should be made for a technician to return the mosquito fish to vector control. Do not dispose of mosquitofish indiscriminately. Although a natural way of controlling mosquito larvae without the use of insecticides or chemicals, mosquitofish should never be placed in any natural habitat, such as lakes, streams, rivers, or creeks. Their introduction into certain natural habitats may disrupt the ecological balance that exists there. Recent studies suggest that mosquitofish may reduce amphibian populations.

    Pond Predators . . .

    Be sure to provide large rocks and vegetation for shelter from predators such as raccoons, possums, cats, herons and egrets. There should be rocks on the bottom in the deepest part, where the fish will spend cold days in an inactive state. At other times, since the fish tend to spend the night at the edges, overhanging banks serve well to help protect them.
     

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