The Unexpected Reason You Might Want To Add Vegetable Oil To Your Birdbath

Just like moths drawn to flame, mosquitoes will seek out any sort of stagnant water to lay their evil offspring, which makes your bird bath an ideal target. If you find yourself unable to enjoy birdwatching because there are tiny flying menaces trying to suck your blood, you might want to try adding vegetable oil to the water. The core concept behind using oil in your bird bath revolves around its potential to create a protective barrier between the water and the mosquitoes laying their spawn.

That being said, it's a scientific fact that oil and water don't mix. In fact, were you to combine these two liquids, you'd see that the oil would stay in separate little globular pockets and would not form a protective coating across the surface of the water. So in order for this mosquito repelling hack to fully work, you would have to use a lot of oil. And that in itself would probably scare off your bird buddies, too. There are other options to repel mosquitoes besides this viscous liquid.

Err on the side of caution

To make your bird bath a mosquito-free zone, all you need is the bird bath itself and some vegetable-based oil. This includes light olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, and the like. Pour a small amount of the oil into the birdbath so that it covers the entire surface. Make sure you change it at least twice a week and give it a deep clean because, as you might expect, it'll get pretty greasy.

While using any type of vegetable oil could possibly put a dent in your mosquito population, you'll also want to consider what it can do to our fine-feathered friends. Birds have a natural oil layer on their feathers that helps keep them waterproof. If they come into contact with water containing oil, their feathers will undoubtedly become matted, which will make it difficult for them to take flight. Plus, they'll smell like oil. So while adding oil to your birdbath might seem like a relatively eco-friendly way to reduce the mosquito population, it might have negative consequences for the birdies.

The solution isn't necessarily oil

Instead of using cooking oil in your bird bath, you can opt for a different type of oil that has a high success rate for killing mosquito larvae. Unfortunately, cinnamon oil will not kill adult mosquitoes, but it will repel them. This fragrant scent is also deadly to mosquito larvae, and adding a few drops to your bird bath won't harm you or your avian friends, either. 

But ultimately, when it comes to deterring mosquitoes from invading your bird spa, the simplest and easiest thing you can do is to just change the water on a regular basis. Be sure to give it a decent cleaning to remove all the feathers, feces, and other floaty things. Mosquitoes take around a week to transition from egg to flying annoyance, so providing your birds with a clean bath on a weekly basis will ensure that mosquito larvae will never get the chance to develop.