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Bromeliads and Mosquitoes
Bromeliads are popular ornamental plants that are attractive and easy to maintain. But certain types, such as tank bromeliads, can hold water between their leaves – making it a great place for mosquitoes to breed.
The eggs hatch when water is present and after a few days, become adult mosquitoes that can bite people and spread diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika.
To keep your plants from breeding these mosquitoes:
- Flush the water—and the mosquito larvae and eggs—out of your bromeliads. A good strong hosing will flush the water with larvae out of your bromeliads. Do this at least once a week to disrupt the mosquitoes’ life cycle.
- Coat the water in the bromeliads with a small amount of food-grade oil. Either quickly spray the surface of any water in the plant with non-stick cooking spray, or place a few drops of cooking oil in the water. The oil will cover the surface of the water and keep any mosquito larvae present from breathing.
- Treat the water in your bromeliads with a safe larvicide. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or BTI, and methoprene, are commercially available larvicides that are safe for plants and around people and pets when used as directed. Find them in pellet or granule form at hardware stores, as well as online. Apply about every two weeks or so for maximum effectiveness.
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