Easy Mosquito-Proof Rainwater Tank

| 5/21/2013 4:13:00 PM

rain barrelWhen warm weather finally reached the Missouri Ozarks this spring, I wondered if I’d have to drain my newest rain collection system before it became a mosquito nursery.

I like to encourage propagation of several beneficial lower life forms here, including earthworms, ladybugs, toads and lizards. Snakes, too, are most welcome. Mosquitoes, however, are not on my protected species list. Besides the diseases they carry, a swarm of pesky skeeters will send me bolting into the house, screaming about how I miss winter.

Last spring, my husband surprised me with a spiffy 425-gallon portable stock tank, one of the truly nicest gifts of my life. As we have no livestock, we instead leveled a space for the tank to catch rainwater under a downspout. Already into the drought of the century, though, it was August before any measure of moisture was in the tank. But, wow, was that nutritious rainwater ever appreciated when it finally arrived. My parched plants loved every drop.

The tank came with a threaded lid, which we replaced with a circle of window screen. My husband drilled numerous holes into the bottom of an old flour canister that fit nicely into the opening, and then set it atop the screen. The downspout, a section of 6-inch PVC pipe, sits inside the canister, which holds down the screen and can easily be dumped of accumulated leaves.

I fashioned a remarkably sun-proof cover for the tank by sewing together recycled bed sheets (on my trusty treadle, of course) and then painting the fabric with some leftover green enamel paint. The cloth cover shades the tank enough to help prevent algae growth, even in 100+ degree heat, and should extend the plastic tank’s lifespan.water tank

I suspect mosquitoes hate the dome-shaped contraption as they are banned from their favored habitat – warm, still water. Did you know mosquitoes can reproduce in 10 days? In wet weather, even a cow’s muddy footprint provides a breeding ground for them. I am not so proficient in math, but calculate that to be a multitude of mosquitoes in very short order.

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