Last week was the first extended warm period since the decent rains of last month and the mosquito population went from practically zero to beaucoup skeeters. If you walked out onto the porch near sunset clouds of them would descend on you.
So I did the usual walkabout looking for standing water in pots, animal drinking bowls, etc. The main culprit in this maddening mosquito mating mayhem appeared to be the real pond which was fishless due to being totally dry not long ago.
Also, the new ornamental pond, although small, was supporting an abundant supply of wrigglers in the rainwater it had collected. The plastic pond shell and the 3 pools of the plastic waterfall all held a thriving population of late instar larvae. (The pond project is on hold temporarily during all the fair hubbub and another project of mine, so it's just sitting.)
Future hordes of tiny vampires were simmering all around me.
I needed some allies.
So I headed off to Flat Branch, a small creek that crosses under US-19 ... most of the time. A half hour of dipnetting brought up plenty of mosquitofish (Gambusia) and hordes of mostly pregnant freshwater grass shrimp like the little girl below. The mosquito fish get that name because they really love to eat mosquito larvae. It's a joy to behold as they relentlessly gobble the tiny wrigglers ... plus they breed like guppies, which they resemble strongly.
They went into the real pond along with some big tadpoles, crawfish, and shrimp. I also put one mosquito fish into each of the waterfall pools and three went into the main pond shell.
I'm very partial to crustaceans and not just on my plate. They just fascinate me.
So many specialized parts, comical expressions and those eyes!
This gal is carrying precious cargo, a clutch of eggs glued to her pleopods.
The majority of the shrimp that came up in the dipnet were pregnant females so it looks like a good spring for these little beauties.
Which should mean a good year for the bluegills and shellcrackers that love to feast on the shrimp.
Which could mean a fish dinner for me.