Rain barrels are my favorite way of saving rainwater. But these water barrels attract a lot of unwanted growth including algae and mosquitos. To keep yourself and your family safe from bites and germs, you need to take care of your rain barrels.
I know, especially living down here in Florida, how hard it can be to keep mosquitos out of your rain barrels. You need to understand the process and then keep doing it at regular intervals.
If you’re one of those rain barrel owners that find yourself with algae, mosquitos, and larvae, growing in it, have no fear…you can get rid of them.
If you’re experiencing mosquitos in your water barrel then follow these steps:
How to keep mosquitos out of your Rain Barrel?
To keep mosquitos out of your rain barrel, there is no secret to it, you just need to keep them covered. But if you have an open barrel, there are a few ways that can work.
- Repurpose an old Lid: You can use a lid from an old trash can or a barrel.
- Buy a New Lid: You can also try to find a new lid that can fit your rain barrel. Take measurements to make sure that the lid is right for your barrel.
- Mosquito-Proof Screen for Rain Barrel: If you cannot find a lid, a mesh screen can work for you. A mesh screen is 1/16 inch thick. It can be a great way to keep insects and mosquitos out of the water.
Just make sure to use water before the level gets up to submerge the screen. Here is a mesh screen I found that can work with water barrels that do not have a lid.
How do you get rid of mosquito larvae in a water barrel?
To get rid of mosquitos and mosquito larvae, you can try some of these methods.
- Use Chemical Treatment: An effective way of getting rid of mosquito larvae is to use commercial treatment. You can find larvae tablets that effectively kill larvae and eggs. Read the packaging carefully before use.
Mostly, it is safe to use this water in the garden. You can also use larvicides with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. These are natural bacteria that kills larvae and is safe for humans and pets.
- Consume water in a Week: Another method most people recommend is to use the water you have collected within a week or less. A mosquito egg becomes an adult in 7 to 10 days. By consuming water before that you can avoid their growth once and for all.
- Empty Barrel Frequently: If you aren’t consuming it regularly, then you must empty the barrels once a week. But if you are keeping your barrel closed and using a chemical treatment, you can use this water for longer.
How to remove algae from the rain barrel?
Another big issue that you will come across when using rain barrels is the growth of algae. If you have emptied the barrel and found the uninvited guests residing in the barrel, it is time to get rid of them.
- Use a natural cleaner like a mix of bleach and water.
- Let it sit for a few hours, and then drain it.
- Now, rinse it with water using a garden hose.
- It will remove algae. Now, scrub the barrel with dish soap.
- You can use a scrub or microfiber cloth attached to a long handle.
- Let it dry, you can put it upside down to dry fast.
How to Prevent Algae from Growing in Rain Barrels?
Now that your rain barrel is all nice and clean, you must try some tips o prevent it from growing again.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Algae need sunlight to grow. Try to place your water barrel somewhere where you can avoid direct sunlight. By avoiding sunlight, you can keep algae from growing in the water.
- Paint your Barrel Black: Not everyone has downspouts in places that can let you put the barrel in shade. You can use a barrel with opaque plastic to avoid sunlight. Another great idea is to paint the barrel black.
- Cut the Food Source: Other than sunlight, algae also need nutrition. Therefore, check your gutters and downspouts for leaves and debris. You can also use leaf guards to avoid leaves.
- Clean your Barrel Regularly: This is a given. To avoid any kind of contamination, keep your barrel clean.
Did you know you could actually keep mosquitos and algae out of your rain barrels for good?
These methods have worked for so many and I am sure you will find them very useful. The key is to maintain a routine of emptying and cleaning your rain barrels. By following a routine and keeping them covered, you can keep mosquitos, larvae, and algae out.