downy woodpecker - birds that eat mosquitoes

What Birds Eat Mosquitoes?

I think that you will agree with me that most people do not like mosquitoes.  If you are like my husband you probably do not mind them because they do not bother you.   However, when I am outdoors at night in particular, those blood sucking pests eat me alive.  So I got to thinking, what birds eat mosquitoes?   Because if I could attract them to my yard then maybe the mosquito population wouldn’t be so plentiful around here.

Okay, I already know about a few birds that eat mosquitoes, however I did not realize that there were quite a few more species that I never even thought of.   That is good because it gives me hope.  Read on……

 

baby purple martin - purple martin birdhouses

 

 

What Birds Eat Mosquitoes and How To Attract Them To Your Yard?

The following birds eat mosquitoes as well as plenty of other insects as listed below:

Purple Martins – eat insects on the fly which are:  mosquitoes, beetles, flies, dragonflies, and moths.  You can attract these birds by having purple martin houses in your yard.  See my  previous post for more details.  

Barn Swallowseat insects on the fly:  mosquitoes, flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, and moths (99% of their diet).  To attract barn swallows you need a covered shelter and mud around as that is what they build their nests with.  Of course plenty of insects around is also a must.  

Geeseeat mosquito larvae on top of the water, but mostly green vegetation such as plant roots, stems, seeds, grain, bulbs, and berries.  Geese need to be around water and also like open fields where they feed on grain.  

Mallard Duckseat mosquito larvae on top of water, but mostly aquatic vegetation.  Mallards need to be around water too.

Red-eyed Vireoseat mosquitoes, butterfly larvae, beetles, cicadas, wasps and ants, grasshoppers and dragonflies.  Red-eyed Vireos like berry producing shrubs and plenty of insects.  

 Downy Woodpeckers – eat mosquitoes, beetles, weevils, ants, plant lice, caterpillars, fruits, seeds, sap, and suet at feeders.   To attract this woodpecker to your yard have a good supreme fruit and nut mix and also suet.  

 House Wrens –  eat mosquitoes, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars.  The Carolina Wren also eats mosquitoes and other smaller insects as well as seed and fruits.   Having a nesting box in your yard can attract them as well as hanging plants as they like to nest in them.  

Nighthawks –  eat mosquitoes, queen ants, wasps, beetles, moths, mayflies, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, other insects, and a small amount of vegetation.  Nighthawks are attracted to bright lights such as street lights to be able to find insects.  They can be difficult to attract to your backyard.  

Eastern Phoebes – eat mosquitoes, wasps, beetles, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, flies, midges, cicadas, spiders, ticks, millipedes, as well as occasional small fruits or seeds.  This bird will not visit your feeder but likes to be around open woods and water.  We currently have one hanging around our pond.  

Eastern Bluebirds – eat mosquitoes, snails, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, ants, spiders, mealworms, moths, termites, and berries.  Bluebirds like nesting boxes and to be around open areas with low grass.  

Baltimore Orioleseat mosquitoes, mealworms, wasps, other insects, oranges, apples, peaches, berries, and bananas.  Attract these orange and black beauties with oranges and/or nectar when they first arrive in spring time.  

Warblers – eat mosquitoes and many other insects.  Many warblers can be seen as they migrate through in spring and fall.  They usually prefer wooded areas but you may be able to attract them in with meal worms or suet.  Some may eat black oil sunflower seed.  Generally, we only see them during migration time where we live but you may have the right habitat to keep them longer.  

Other Ways To Keep Mosquitoes At Bay

While most birds will eat mosquitoes when they are available in spring and summer, it is not a high percentage of their diet as you can see above.  However, it does not hurt to try to attract some of these birds to your yard to help reduce the mosquito population.  Obviously, you would want to take other precautions to prevent these pests from hanging around your backyard.

Here are a few things that you can do:

  1. Use a mosquito repellent (Deet) every time you go outdoors.
  2. There are also devices that you can purchase to wear to repel mosquitoes like the Thermacells, and also necklaces and bracelets with citronella in them.  I actually use the bracelets which I find help a lot.
  3. Burn citronella candles or any type mosquito candle sold in stores.
  4. There are plants that help keep mosquitoes away that you can plant in flower pots on your patio or deck.  I’m actually trying some of these this year to see if they work:  Lavender, marigolds, citronella grass, catnip, rosemary, basil, and scented geraniums.
  5. Do not wear anything bright when you are outdoors at night.  For some reason mosquitoes are attracted to bright colors.
  6. Do not wear perfume or any perfumey type soap if you are going to be outside at night.  That is a magnet for them for sure.  When I know that I am going to be outdoors for the evening I use a bland type soap to alleviate mosquito bites.
  7. Empty any standing water which will hold mosquito larvae.
  8. I came across this DIY recipe from Paul Harvey the other day.  I haven’t tried it yet but reviews say that it works great!

         Big Bottle Cheap Mouthwash

           3 cups Epsom Salts

           3 Stale 12 oz. cheap beer

Mix together until salt is dissolved.  Put in spray bottle.  Spray anywhere outside it will not harm flowers.  Mosquitoes gone for up to 80 days.  


My remedy for mosquito bites:  If you get bit do NOT scratch it.  Immediately, get some ice and freeze the spot where you got bit.  You should not get a bump and the itch will go away.

One more:  This is my go to cure when I do not have ice…..once I get bitten by a mosquito I immediately spit on my finger (I know sounds gross) and rub it into the spot right away.  Do not scratch!  The itch will go away within 15 to 20 minutes with no bump.  Works like a charm!  

Final Thought

You can attract quite a few bird species that like to eat mosquitoes as part of their diet.  Not only is this beneficial for you to help to keep mosquitoes at bay but also just having these birds in your yard is a birdwatcher’s delight.

These birds however, are not going to be your total solution for getting rid of mosquitoes.  You will need to take other measures in order to deter these pests and keep them from eating you alive.  From burning citronella to planting flowers and plants that keep mosquitoes away, to wearing devices and/or not wearing smelly type perfumes or soaps that may attract them, you can keep them at bay.  Goodbye Mosquitoes!

I would appreciate any thoughts about this post?  If you have anything to add please feel free to comment below.

 

Happy Birding!

 

 

 

 

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