Mosquito Dunks: Pros, Cons, Effectiveness and Safety Overview

Today, we’re focusing on mosquito dunks and how they work. We’ll also talk about how they can help you get rid of larvae and put an end to your mosquito problem once and for all.

Do you want to enjoy summer without mosquitoes hijacking your outdoor activities? Are there areas in your yard with stagnant water? If so, then you’re in the right place!

We’ve all been there. You’re out enjoying a late summer dinner al fresco when, lo and behold, you get attacked by mosquitoes.

These flying pests don’t just disturb the peace, their bites pose a health risk. This is why it’s critical to find some quick and safe method of controlling them.

Luckily for us, there are many ways to get those pesky insects under control. Some come in the form of sprays, lotions, candles, and incense sticks.

Let’s get started.

What Are Mosquito Dunks Made Of?


Mosquito dunks consist of a certain type of bacteria as their main ingredient: BTI. Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (BTI) is a type of bacteria that kills mosquito larvae before they hatch. It also targets the larvae of fungus gnats and black flies.

BTI was first identified in the late 1970s. Scientists isolated the bacteria strain from dead mosquito larvae.

Since then, it’s been developed into many forms, such as capsules, granular, liquid, and powder. These are commonly used by mosquito control personnel.

Homeowners can find BTI-based larvicides at their local garden stores. They’re available as mosquito dunks or granular bits.

According to the Center for Control Disease (CDC), BTI isn’t toxic except for just these annoying insects. It’s not harmful to humans, animals, fish, birds, or the soil.

Bear in mind that some dunks contain other active ingredients besides BTI. However, they pose a low to moderate health risk to humans, animals, and honeybees.

The three most common active agents in larvicides are:


How Do Mosquito Dunks Work?

Dunks are a type of larvicide designed to float on the water surface. So, how do mosquito dunks work?

They’re actually pretty straightforward in their technique. After about 48 hours, the BTI starts to work by breaking down the watery exterior of the larvae. With no protection, they die before they’ve had a chance to complete their life cycle.

Sometimes, larvae will also feed on the dunk mistaking it for food. The BTI spores release toxins into their guts, which causes the larvae to stop eating and die.


Where’s the Best Place for Mosquito Dunks?


For these dunks to get the job done, you have to place them in places where adult mosquitoes are most likely to lay eggs. This is usually in places where there are pools of stagnant or slow-moving water.

A few examples of their breeding habitats include:

  • Drains and water puddles
  • Uncovered trash cans
  • Swimming pools
  • Birdbaths
  • Creeks
  • Standing water in plant trays
  • Rain barrels


Are Mosquito Dunks Effective?

Summit Mosquito Dunks (2) 6pks. 12 Dunks Total
  • Bundle includes 2 packs 0f Summit Mosquito Dunks
  • 6 Dunks per pack
  • Kills larvae


In more ways than one, mosquito dunks are the perfect type of pesticide. Its main component, BTI, is naturally found in soil. Many city municipalities use BTI as an effective way to control mosquitoes.

To make the most of BTI Mosquito Dunks, make sure you replace them regularly. One dunk lasts for about a month. So, try placing a new one every 25 to 30 days, as recommended on the Summit Mosquito Killer package. This way, the active ingredient in the new dunk has a chance to get to work before the previous one dissolves.

Another thing to boost effectiveness is to start early. Place the dunks around your yard in early spring as soon as temperatures start getting warmer. This usually marks the beginning of mosquito breeding season, which lasts until the beginning of fall when temperatures begin to drop.


Are Mosquito Dunks Safe?


Mosquito dunks are 100% safe to use in and around your home, thanks to their main ingredient. This naturally occurring bacteria is approved for pest control by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). BTI ensures that the dunks will only get rid of a specific type of species and nothing else.

Dunks don’t even harm beneficial insects, like honeybees, ladybugs, and butterflies. They’re also eco-friendly and frequently used for organic gardening.


Pros and Cons


Let’s take a look at some of the hits and misses that come with mosquito dunks.




Are mosquito dunks an ideal mosquito pesticide? Yes, they are, and here’s why:



Mosquito dunks are non-toxic to humans, birds, and wildlife. So, they’re safe to use in your backyard even if you have children or pets.

Another benefit of dunks is that they’re approved for use in organic farming. It poses no health risks to your health or the environment. You can also apply it to food plants and water sources without fear of potential health risks.


Low Maintenance

We all hate having to stop what we’re doing to spray repellent every two hours or apply lotion. Mosquito dunks do away with all that hassle.

Simply place one and forget about it for about 25 days. Then, place a new one. There’s no mess to clean up or any leftover parts to pick.



Mosquito dunks get to work as soon as you place them in the water. Each dunk controls about 100 square feet of water, no matter how deep.

If you have an area bigger than 100 square feet, place several dunks at the same time. Just make sure you spread them out for maximum effect.

After 48 hours, they go into full effect. After that, they’ll start to break down and dissolve. They’ll keep doing what they do best for about a month, depending on the size of the area.



Another plus is that dunks don’t have an expiration date. Since BTI isn’t considered a living bacteria, it can’t expire as long as it’s stored away from direct heat and sunlight.

Even so, manufacturers recommend you use them within two years of their purchase date. Two years is still a pretty long time if you ask us.



Many bug insecticides need to be constantly reapplied. You end up paying a huge chunk of money to spend a few hours avoiding getting bit by mosquitoes.

Mosquito dunks, however, are affordable. Some come with two, five, or six to a pack. Then, there are those with 20 dunks to a pack, like Summit Chemical Company Mosquito Dunks. It’s a great way to get your money’s worth and enjoy a whole month with no mosquitoes.



Cutter Citronella Candle, pack of 1, Tan
  • EFFECTIVE DECK & PATIO AREA REPELLENT: Repels mosquitoes and other flying insects.
  • MADE WITH REAL CITRONELLA OIL: 17-ounce candle burns for up to 30 hours.
  • PERIMETER OF PROTECTION: Use several Cutter CitroGuard Candles to maximize the repellent barrier.

Mosquito dunks are excellent at getting rid of larvae. Yet, they’re ineffective when it comes to killing any existing adult mosquitoes.

The best way to eliminate both mosquito larvae and adults is to use dunks in combination with something else. You could use mosquito-repelling candles, incense sticks, ultrasonic or zappers. It mostly depends on the layout of your yard and your personal preference.

Another option is to grow plants known for their mosquito repelling powers. Some of these include lavender, citronella grass, and rosemary.


A Final Note


Now, you know how useful mosquito dunks can be. They’re a practical and ideal way to control annoying pests. Plus, dunks are easy to use, quick-acting, and affordable.

Not to mention, they’re a sure way to annihilate these pesky insects early in their life cycle. They head straight to the source of the problem, which is what makes them so successful.

We can finally have a chance at some outdoor fun without having to put up with buzzing, biting mosquitoes. So, throw a couple of mosquito dunks around your yard and let the good times roll!

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