Mosquitoes are plentiful and annoying. Curious what eats mosquitoes? In this post, you’ll learn about the animals, insects, and plants that commonly eat mosquitoes.
Insects that eat mosquitoes include dragonflies (and their larvae), spiders, and ants. Other animals that feed on mosquitos are bats, turtles, and many birds. Some fish species have a specialized ability to consume mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. And 3 types of plants eat mosquitoes.
There are few insects more annoying than mosquitoes. These little bloodsuckers carry multiple diseases that they can spread around humans and often come into your yard because standing water attracted them.
15 Mosquito Predators
What eats mosquitoes? Here are some of the most common animals that eat mosquitoes.
As you look at what bugs eat mosquitoes, you’ll find that dragonflies are the most common.
Dragonflies existed for more than 300 million years and have thin wings and long bodies. These bugs have feet that they use to grab and hold their prey as they eat it.
One study found that those in captivity can eat 90% or more of the prey in their habitats. In the wild, dragonflies eat 30 or more mosquitoes per day.
Fortunately (for mosquito-haters), dragonfly larvae actually feed on mosquito larvae when they can, to the extent that dragonflies do most of their predatory damage to mosquitoes before either insect is even close to mature.Sciencing
It should not surprise you that frogs eat mosquitoes because they often share an ecosystem.
Tadpoles feed on mosquito larvae and can wipe out a large number of the bugs during this stage in a single week.
Young frogs will also eat both larvae and adult mosquitoes. The two creatures share an area and fight to see who can consume and find the most resources.
Adult frogs are less interested in eating mosquitoes because they are so small.
When searching for which bugs eat mosquitoes, don’t forget about spiders. There are several types that eat mosquitoes along with other insects.
Spiders eat up to 800 million tons of bugs per year and can help with population control. Some spiders use webs to draw bugs to them. They spin their webs in places that are safe.
They then attack the bugs as they come across the web and can spin them into a cocoon, which they can save for later. There are also spiders that hunt mosquitoes. They will grab the mosquitoes and use their fangs to hold them down as they eat.
Learn more about 9 common house spiders.
Don’t worry if you see bats overhead when relaxing outside because these animals help control the mosquito population that is around you.
The bats found in parts of the United States can also consume hundreds of mosquitoes per night.
So bats eat lots of mosquitos. Do bats eat bees?
5. Mosquito Fish
Though there is a handful of fish that eat mosquitoes, mosquito fish eat more of these bugs than any other type. These fish live in large schools that can contain more than 100 fish.
They begin eating bugs in their youth and continue eating them as they age. During their younger days, mosquito fish can eat up to 1.5 times their body weight in mosquitoes.
They can eat hundreds of mosquitoes per day. Some pond owners introduce mosquitofish to help reduce mosquitos.
6. Ants: Colobopsis schmitzi
In the island of Borneo, a small ant (Colobopsis schmitzi) is known to eat mosquito and mosquito larvae from the fluids of the carnivorous pitcher plant (Nepenthes bicalcarata).
It dives under the surface of the digestive liquid and consumes prey captured by the pitcher plant. This plant, incidentally, also feeds on ants.
7. Purple Martins
The Purple Martin is one type of bird that eats mosquitoes. They are native to North America and are often found in the south and east regions.
These birds hunt in the same way that hawks do. When the bird sees a mosquito, it will dive or swoop down and grab the bug out of the air to swallow it whole.
Purple martins are in the swallow family.
The birds also eat fire ants and other small bugs.
8. Red-Eared Slider Turtle
You may not see a red-eared slider in person unless you’re at the zoo or in Honduras, which is their native home. This turtle gets its name from the red marking on its head.
There are reports of people seeing the turtle in the southern US as former owners released them into the wild.
Red-eared sliders are invasive animals that can kill bugs and smaller animals and take over an ecosystem. One turtle can eat dozens of mosquitoes daily.
Out of all the different types of bluebirds, the Eastern Bluebird is the most common predator of mosquitoes.
They usually only eat mosquitoes if they find a large group of them because they are so big that a single bug isn’t a good meal for them. Bluebirds will go after other smaller bugs if they have the chance, including mealworms and beetle grubs.
Though you see many bluebirds today, they were once nearly endangered as there were so few of the birds in the wild.
Geese are creatures of habit that often fly south for winter and return to the same ponds and lakes when the temperature rises in the spring.
Though you may not think that geese will eat mosquitoes, they eat almost anything they find, including bread and crackers.
Most geese only eat mosquitoes during the larva phase and consume them as part of a diet mixed with other foods. Baby geese will also eat larva mosquitoes. Geese prey on mosquitoes who come to their habitats, too.
Cardinals will also eat mosquitoes. This is the official bird of Ohio where it comes out in the spring and has bright red feathers. They live across both South America and North America.
These birds come in different colors and shades and can also range in size. Cardinals often sing to each other and will prey on mosquitoes they see in the wild, but the adults will feed the bugs to their babies until they can handle eating grain.
As much as you love catfish breaded and fried, that fish loves mosquitoes nearly as much.
Many refer to catfish as bottom feeders or trash fish because they eat almost anything they find in the water. When left alone, catfish can grow several feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds. They tend to eat small mosquitoes and those in the larva stage.
They are an effective way to control a mosquito population in a small ecosystem because of how many insects they eat.
3 Plants that Eat Mosquitos
There are 583 species of carnivorous plants.
“today we recognize at least 583 species of carnivorous plants in 20 genera, 12 families, and 5 orders of flowering plants.”Thomas J. Givnish, National Center for Biotechnology Information
There are five types of plants that eat meat. The first three of these eat mosquitos and other insects.
- Venus Flytrap (Snap traps): There are just two species of snap trap plants: Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and waterwheel plant (Aldrovanda vesiculosa). Eats mosquitos and other insects.
- Pitcher Plant (Pitfall traps): Typically attract insects with nectar bait. Some bromeliads are mosquito-eating pitfall traps. Eats mosquitos and other insects.
- Sundew (Flypaper traps): A common species is the Cape sundew (Drosera capensis). Eats mosquitos and other insects.
- Bladderworts (Bladder traps): This type of carnivorous plants uses a complex hydrolic vacuum with level-action doors. Utricularia vulgaris is an example of a bladderwort. Eats aquatic invertebrates.
- Lobster-pot traps: Specialize in aquatic protozoa.
Learn more about other tiny black bugs around the home.
Animals That Don’t Eat Mosquitos (But Should)
Sometimes names are so descriptive, we make assumptions as to the nature of the animal.
Enter the mosquito hawk.
The name mosquito hawk refers to a crane fly or a daddy longlegs.
If you are researching insects that eat mosquitoes, you have certainly stumbled across an expression like this: “A single mosquito hawk can eat dozens of mosquitos”.
This just isn’t true. Here are a couple of sources to explain more.
That inch-long, gangly-legged insect that sneaks into your house and bounces around the walls and ceiling is a crane fly, and despite rumors to the contrary, it is neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And it’s harmless.Entomology Today
Despite widely held beliefs that adult crane flies (or “mosquito hawks”) prey on mosquito populations, the adult crane fly is anatomically incapable of killing or consuming other insects. Although the adults of some species may feed on nectar, the adults of many species have such short lifespans that they do not eat at all.Crane fly, Wikipedia
So not only do mosquito hawks (crane flies) not eat mosquitos, it isn’t even possible because they’re incapable of eating them.
More Reading: Can Mosquitoes Bite Through Clothes?
What Insects Eat Mosquitoes?
There are many ways to kill and repel mosquitoes that you see flying around your yard.
Depending on where you live though, you may find that there are natural ways to control those bugs because some mammals and birds along with insects and reptiles eat mosquitoes.
The different animals that eat those bugs include bluebirds, catfish, dragonflies, and some types of bats.
- About the Author
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Dena Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at GudPixel. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she runs with her husband, Bryan.