Rain water barrels

Message I posted a while ago didn't get through. I was asking (I think NAD) what he/she put in the barrels to keep the water from getting contaminated or breeding mosquitoes w/o harming plants that drank that water.
Anybody?
HB
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I replied. Again, I do not put anything in my rain barrels. My Barrels are small only 40 gallons and under each of five downspouts. They are open tops when it rains they just overflow. When it does not rain or i see scum or bugs on the tops of water, I will top them off with my well water or from another barrel so it overflows. I will use one barrel at a time. Mosquitoes are mostly from the drainage ditches or my pond.
I learn to live with them. I do not go out at dusk or early dawn. When the sun shines the bugs seem to go away. I wear light weight long sleeve shirts and pants and once in a while spray my clothes with a bug repellant.
In about three weeks the infamous Fish Flies (May Flies) will be more of nuisance than the mosquitoes. But with all this rain the bugs are bad this year.
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Why don't you just put a screen over the top of the barrel? If it is a wooden barrel, you probably have some old barrel hoops around. Lay one hoop down. Place the screen over the hoop, and then lay the second hoop over the first, which will pinch the screen and hold it in place.
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My home is out in the open, I do not get much leaves or anything else in my gutters or my cheap plastic barrels. I have inspected my gutters and they are always clean. I have plants and shrubs next to the barrels so the overflows does not seems to create any problems. I will often take my watering can and dip it in the barrels for watering my hanging plants. A cover is something I have no need for. I should also mention I have a two foot roof overhang that also cuts down on Floating objects. So far I have no real problems with my cheap lazy system. The barrels are also on raised bricks for a cheap plastic bottom spigot for draining them. The plans was in an issue of Hobby Farm Magazine.
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Here in Australia where David H-S and I both live, collecting rain water in tanks (cisterns in USian) is common in all rural areas and it's used for domestic supply (drinking, washing). Whilst these tanks are quite a lot larger than rain butts, the same thing applies to them as it does to smaller water holding devices. To avoid getting mosquitoes or dead possums or birds in your drinking water, you make sure all tank inlets/outlets are screened or closed in. Water is collected off the house gutters and runs directly through a pipe straight into the tank or the pipe stops above a screened hole in the top of the tank. You don't put anything in the tank - you just exclude light.
Rain water is usually considered to be too high a quality for just plants and frequently bore (well bore in USian) water is used for plants as it doesn't have to be as clean as household water and nor does it need to be as soft.
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That is a good point. I do not need a cistern. I need just enough extra water to get through between the rains and it has rained a lot here in the land of the Great Lakes this month. If there is an extended period of no rain there is my well system.
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Thu, 26 May 2011 14:55:41 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

Keeping the roof and roof plumbing clean and the tanks screened works for me and I drink it. there is no need to start with poisons if physical barriers work.
D
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Here in New York City the Parks Department gives out free rain barrels. They have lids into which your downspout can be fitted, and overflow valves.
It's also illegal to have any open container on your property that can collect water. I got a ticket for having a puddle in a tire in my yard. That, btw, was instituted after we started getting West Nile Fever here.
Chris
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Ticket for having a puddle? If my county alone handed tickets for puddles, the state of Michigan would have a huge budget surplus. No tickets here for such... I really cannot call it an offense... Tax maybe... I do not even have to mow my yard if I do not want to, life in the country.
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Fri, 27 May 2011 08:32:50 -0700 (PDT), Chris

We used to have similar regulations from some urban local government taken one step further, you couldn't have any kind of water tank. Now they have seen the light. [shakes head]
David
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Mosquito dunks, they kill the larvae and we use them in the fish pond, they are safe for the fish. I think the active ingredient is BT. Find em at Lower, or Home Depot or maybe at WalMart. Good Luck.
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g'day higgs,
take a look at how we do ours scan down page about 1/2 way, we then use one of thosecigar sahped 12volt bilge pumps with a car battery pack charger (bought at auto accessories shop) to pump water out with, the drum could be put on astand and have tap a the bottom, this way no mossies ever,no evaporation either.
think about putting in a rain wate tank of at least 15k litre capacity collect a substantial amount of water, our tank is 22.5k/l. water is important stuff.
On Thu, 26 May 2011 14:55:41 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

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