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How to Prevent Mosquitoes in Rain Barrels

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prevent mosquitoes in rain barrels by treating the water.

Collecting water in a rain barrel can reduce your water consumption over a growing season by enabling you to use plentiful rainwater to irrigate plants. Although you can conserve water and save money by collecting rainwater, you must take steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your rain barrel. Because mosquitoes can quickly breed in standing water, if you do not prevent this from occurring, you may create an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Cut a piece of window screen to fit over the large opening of the rain barrel (for rain barrels with openings on top). Use heavy-duty scissors to cut the screen.

Place the window screen over the top opening to cover the entire opening.

Secure the screen with a bungee cord to hold it in place.

Measure out an appropriate amount of mosquito larvicide to place into the rain barrel. Depending upon the formulation of the product, you may need 1 tsp. to prevent mosquito larvae on the surface of a rain barrel. Alternatively, use one circular Mosquito Dunk in a rain barrel--the disk will slowly disintegrate in the water over the next month and will prevent larvae from growing in the water. Consult package recommendations for the proper amount of larvicide to use and for the timing of repeat applications.


Things You Will Need

  • Scissors
  • Nylon window screens
  • Bungee cord
  • Mosquito larvicide


  • Even when you cover the most obvious openings with screen, mosquitoes usually find a way to enter a rain barrel through small openings. For this reason, using screens to cover openings and larvicide to prevent larvae from developing will be an effective way to prevent mosquitoes in a rain barrel.
  • According to the University of Illinois Extension, emptying a rain barrel every 10 days can also prevent mosquitoes.
  • This is especially important in areas where West Nile virus is prevalent.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.