While the official start to summer is still a week away, In many parts of the country, one of the unofficial harbingers of summer has already arrived.  It is that infamous incect, the tiny dracula of the evening hours, the scourge of any picnic or barbeque, none other than the dreaded Culicidae, more commonly known as the common mosquito.  In addition to being generally annoying, mosquitos are also known to carry some pretty nasty diseases, such as Malaria and Zika.  So the million dollar question is, how can you prevent these summertime pests from running summer for the residents of your community?

Stop it at the source

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in bodies of standing water.  That, of course means ponds and lakes, but mosquitos are not picky about the size of their real estate, they will lay their eggs in pools, birdbaths, or any small, concave surface that can hold water.  

If your community boats a pond as part of your landscaping plan, you may need to consider how you can best mitigate your potential pest problem, while still maintaining your swanky aesthetic.  One way to do this is to introduce natural mosquito predators to the area.  If your pond is suitable, you may choose to move some friendly fish into the neighborhood.  Some species, like goldfish and guppies (among others), consider mosquito larvae a delicacy and can provide a simple and natural way to mitigate the problem.  

If your pond proves to not be fish-friendly, consider installing a feature that would keep water from standing still. This could be a fountain, waterfall or any other water feature that keeps water moving, thus keeping mosioto from nesting on the surface of the still water.

Educate residents and encourage them to be on the  lookout for possible mosquito breeding grounds on their property.  Some of the easiest ways that homeowners can help in the goal of ridding the neighborhood of these incessant insects is to drain or cover pools immediately after use and be sure that any play equipment or patio furniture is not collecting rain or sprinkler water, thus providing a sweet little nursery for mosquito larvae.  

Plant your Solution

Another simple and natural way to rid your community of these tiny blood-suckers is to make use of plants that have become known to repel mosquitos.

Citronella Grass

Citronella is well known for its ability to keep mosquitoes at bay.  In fact, it is the signature scent of this grass that probably comes to mind when you think of mosquito proofing your person or space, as the oils it produces is often used to make candles and sprays for such a purpose.  Citronella is a low-maintenance plant, but it can meet an untimely end if confronted with frost, so be aware if you live in a slightly cooler climate.  

Marigolds

While these beautiful blooms are certainly nice to look at, they also provide a plethora of other benefits when introduced to your garden or green spaces.  Like Citronella Grass, Marigolds are known to send mosquitos packing. They also deter other pests like aphids, and whiteflies, while feeding pollinators like bees and butterflies. They are easy to grow, thrive in full sun and, again, they’re pretty.

Lavender

Not only does lavender boast a soothing scent, the oils that produce it are known to deter adult mosquitos. Lavender is a perennial, which means, once it is established, you should see it reappear year after year to ward away those creepy-crawlies.  With a divine smell, beautiful flowers and the power to keep mosquitos on the run, it is hard to argue with the lovely lavender.

Chemical Warfare

If all else fails, or if you are unable to utilize natural forms of mosquito combat, there is another option. Many HOAs have come to rely on companies who spray insecticides in specific locations throughout the community, in order to rid them of the insect issue.  However, this method may make some cautious residents a bit uncomfortable, being that it is introducing chemicals into spaces that are often occupied by pets, children, etc, and has been known to have deleterious effects on other, more desirable insects like butterflies and bees.  Because of this, it would behoove any prudent board to consult with the community before making a final decision whether or not to resort to spraying insecticides. If your community does decide to move forward, be sure that you are through in vetting a reputable company.  Do your research and educate yourselves and your community members. Be sure that you know exactly what the company is using, as well as any precautions that should be taken.