Organic Gardening – Can Mosquito Larvae Breed in Manure Tea?

Carmen D. Lade

Okay, so you’ve started doing the tea thing with the buckets full of manure with water on top. But you’ve started to wonder – is it possible for mosquitoes to breed in the tea?

Well, the truth is, mosquitoes require surface tension in order for them to lay eggs. The bubbling water created from aerating the tea should usually prevent the mosquitoes from laying their eggs inside it.

But what if you’re not aerating the tea? Well, if you don’t aerate then you are creating a concoction that will encourage anaerobic organisms such as fecal coliforms and E coli. Due to the fact that anaerobes don’t exhale carbon dioxide but instead exhale sulfurs, methanes and alcohols, you will end up creating acid ammoniacal, alcoholic mixtures which will burn your plants and could possibly encourage pathogenic bacteria to develop.

The best rule to follow when it comes to compost tea is: if it smells bad, don’t use it. Even if it smells a tiny bit off (sulfurous, alcoholic, ammoniacal, etc.) then you really mustn’t use it on your plants as it will do more harm than good.

If you do end up with bad tea like this, you can put it on the compost heap, as long as you keep turning it every day until the smell has gone.

Like anything when it comes to successful organic gardening, there is a right way and a wrong way to compost. If you do it the right way, you can look forward to lots of nice, fresh vegetables to dig up and eat later.

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