There are lots of mosquito eaters, natural mosquito predators that just love to dine on a plump, juicy mosquito – a fact you might take a bit of comfort in next time you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes!
If fact, if there weren’t a number of mosquito predators, the skeeters would get quite out of control. And that wouldn’t be a good thing even for mosquitoes, because if there were unlimited numbers of mosquitoes, they’d eventually run out of food. When it comes to predators vs. prey, nature always seeks a balance.
But when it comes to mosquitoes, we humans aren’t interested in balance.
We want to get rid of the bloodsuckers – as many as we can, and as quickly as we can. In your own personal war against the mosquito, you can enlist some allies that Mother Nature herself uses to keep mosquitoes in check.
Careful, though – you might find that some of nature’s best skeeter eaters aren’t exactly critters you’d want to cozy up with!
Mosquito Eating Bats
Can mosquito-eating bats help with mosquito control? In fact, yes, they can.
But although many species of bats are voracious insect eaters, don’t count on your local bat population decimating your local mosquito population.
So if you have a large population of bats in your area, consider them to be a wonderful ally in the war against mosquitoes. They’ll lend a hand in the battle against mosquitoes, but they won’t win the battle by themselves.
As you may know, some types of bats can eat an amazing quantity of insects every night – half their body weight or more in bugs. The problem, though, is that bats don’t specialize in eating only mosquitoes. They’ll eat lots of other insects, too.
In fact, studies performed upon the furry flying mammal in recent years have shown that mosquitoes make up only a small part of a bat’s diet. And that only makes sense if you think about it from the bat’s perspective.
After all, if you were a hungry bat, burning lots of energy swooping through the night air chasing dinner, which would you go after: A fat, juicy moth, or a miniscule mosquito?
So whether you’ve got bats in your belfry or not, you’ll still need to come up with other methods of mosquito control if you’ve got a large mosquito population in your area.
But every little bit helps in the war against mosquitoes. And at least the little bit of help that bats do offer is free!
Mosquito Eating Birds
Many species of birds will eat mosquitoes, but none will have a significant impact upon the mosquito population in your yard.
Just as with bats, the energy required for a bird to catch a mosquito compared to the nutritional value of the mosquito is not a very attractive proposition.
Even the Purple Martin, long fabled to be a voracious mosquito eater, will rarely bother with catching mosquitoes. According to the Purple Martin Conservation Association, only rarely have studies found mosquitoes to be part of the Purple Martins’ diet – less than 3% at most.
And the potential impact of birds upon the mosquito population is also impacted by the differing schedules of birds and mosquitoes. When mosquitoes are the most active, bug-hunting birds are the least active.
Insects That Eat Mosquitoes
Ironically, the insect that is often called a mosquito eater, isn’t. This insect is the crane fly, and it looks a lot like a giant mosquito. Also sometimes called the mosquito hawk, it somehow has the reputation of being a ferocious mosquito eater.
But alas, the crane fly is not the least bit ferocious. In fact, the idea of a crane fly eating a mosquito couldn’t be more wrong, because in truth, most species of crane flies eat nothing.
By the time a crane fly reaches maturity – the stage at which it looks like a mosquito on steroids – it lives for only a few days. And it spends those days looking to mate and reproduce. Depending upon the species of crane fly, they’ll either eat nothing at all during their brief life as an adult, or just take an occasional sip of nectar.
But though they may lack the mosquito-eating reputation of the crane fly, there are a number of insect species that are mosquito eaters. Damselflies, spiders and many other insects take a nice bite out of the mosquito population.
But the champion skeeter eater of the insect world is the dragonfly.
The Dragonfly: A Mosquito’s Worst Nightmare
If mosquitoes could dream, dragonflies would be their worst nightmare. That’s because dragonflies are voracious mosquito eaters. And since the dragonfly’s life cycle is similar to the mosquito’s, dragonflies are among the mosquito’s worst enemies from cradle to grave.
Both mosquitoes and dragonflies start life out in the water, as larvae. Even at that stage of life, dragonfly larvae are hunters. And mosquito larvae are among their favorite prey.
In adulthood, dragonflies continue to hunt mosquitoes. They do so with deadly efficiency, because dragonflies are amazingly fast and maneuverable on the wing. Once a dragonfly has a mosquito in its sights, it’s kind of like a heat-seeking missile flying up the tailpipe of a fighter jet – that mosquito ain’t getting away.
In fact, dragonflies are such voracious mosquito eaters that the town of Wells, Maine has been releasing dragonfly nymphs every spring for more than 35 years as their primary form of mosquito control.
Take that, mosquitoes!