Almost everyone can agree that summer is the most enjoyable season of the year. The days are longer, you go on family vacation, and the weather is finally warm. This creates the perfect combination until the bug bites begin...
It starts with one then you're scratching all over. Does bug spray even help?
Unfortunately, summertime also attracts the worst neighborhood intruder: Mosquitoes. These pests can turn outdoor adventures from enjoyable to annoying in an instant.
Not only do mosquitoes make enjoying outdoor amenities difficult, they also pose scary health risks, especially for aging-in-place residents and children. These insects can carry diseases like the West Nile and Zika viruses. With the high potential health risks and general annoyance, it’s easy to understand why you'd want these pests out of your HOA community immediately.
Here are a few go-to tips from IKO's property managers to rid your neighborhood of mosquitoes:
- Check for free-standing water. Did you know that mosquitoes lay their eggs in water? Standing water provides a perfect place for mosquitoes to increase their numbers. If you have a birdbath, pond, or a playground slide with rainwater at the base, you might have a growing mosquito habitat.
If you do have a pond, ask your association management company about incorporating fish. Some species, like goldfish, bass, bluegill, mosquito fish, minnows, koi, catfish, and guppies, are natural predators to mosquito larvae. This is instant mosquito control.
In addition, try adding a waterfall or fountain to the free-standing water areas in your neighborhood to disrupt the surface of the water and prevent these insects from nesting.
Maintain routine landscaping. In addition to free standing water, mosquitoes are also attracted to dark, humid areas. Unkempt landscaping is another place where mosquitoes like to gather and multiply. To combat this, take our advice in the next step.
- Plant mosquito-repelling plants. Part of your HOA services is keeping up with the neighborhood landscaping. Communicate with your association management company that you'd like to see some insect-repelling plants located around common areas like the pool, tot lots, and playgrounds.
Ask about plants like marigolds, citronella, lemon balm, citrosum (marketed as "the mosquito plant"), lavender, and catnip. You can also invest in herbs, such as basil, sage, rosemary, and peppermint in your community garden. This provides fresh herbs for your neighbor's next dinner while fighting off those disease-carrying insects.
- Be aware of other predators. Like certain types of fish, there are other natural methods for mosquito control. Birds, such as geese and ducks, are known for hunting adult and aqautic stages of mosquito.
However, the most successful mosquito predator are dragonflies. These bugs have earned the nickname “mosquito hawk.”
Dragonflies are able to avoid their own natural predators while skillfully hunting down pesky mosquitoes. Because dragonflies are attracted to ponds and aquatic plants, if your community doesn’t want to bring in fish, then dragonflies are the way to go.
IKO Tip: It's known that bats also hunt these insects, but don't rely on them (or bring them into your neighborhood) to get rid of the problem. These nocturnal animals are also known to carry a plethora of diseases.
- Invest in the right bug zapper. Normal bug zappers don't kill as many biting insects as you'd think because mosquitoes are actually attracted to carbon dioxide and water vapor from the breath of mammals. Purchase a bug zapper that emits carbon dioxide, not ultraviolet light, or use an external source like octenol to better attract these insects.
Mosquito control in your neighborhood can be difficult. If you find that this is a problem in your HOA community, contact IKO Community Management to see how an association management company can help your your neighborhood solve challenges like these.
Our property managers will most likely start with the landscaping. Take a peek at how you can help us by clicking on the button below to download our Landscaping Maintenance Checklist: