Why Use Fathead Minnows For Mosquito Control?

Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) help to control the mosquito population by eating mosquito larvae and pupae before they can emerge as flying adult mosquitoes. As long as the minnows are able to thrive in the area of standing water they are introduced to, they will provide an excellent means of natural mosquito control, since mosquitoes require standing water to successfully reproduce. 

Where Can Minnows Be Used?

The Department of Health encourages the use of mosquito-eating fish in large-scale containers on your property such as ornamental ponds, open-topped rain barrels, watering troughs for large animals (i.e. horses) and even swimming pools that are no longer in use. During the Department's springtime give-away, the Fathead minnows may be stocked in larger areas of standing water such as swamps, retention basins and natural ponds*. In order to use the minnows effectively, they should be stocked in areas that have a minimum of 8" to 12" of water.  It is not necessary to stock streams & rivers as mosquitoes generally do not lay eggs in moving water.  If fish are already present in the area of concern, it is not necessary to add Fathead minnows, as the existing fish population should provide appropriate control. Care should be taken not to stock fish in fishless waters that may be used by amphibians (frogs and salamanders) for breeding.

* Licensing is required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to stock fish in any location that has an outlet, or can flow into a different body of water. A permit will be provided to those participating in the Department of Health's fish giveaway program and is specific for Rockland County only. 

Learn More About Mosquito Control

Downloadable Educational Brochures

Additional Resources

  • Blank Posting of any biological or chemical treatment made in an attempt to prevent mosquito breeding requires proper posting.
  • Mosquito Dunk Label for the most commonly used residential larvicide.
  • Tire Resource Card to know where to dispose of unwanted tires in Rockland County.