Since the onset of the pandemic, people have been spending more time at home, and this combined with the warmer temperatures have made mosquito and wasp infestations a prominent concern. Busy outdoor amenity spaces and resident patios offer opportunities for both mosquitoes and wasps to loiter where they are not wanted. Late summer is the prime breeding time for wasps in particular, so it is crucial that vigilant steps are taken to avoid infestations on apartment properties.
Wasps can be a threat to people’s safety, and their constant buzzing can be a nuisance to residents and their guests. Furthermore, if someone is allergic to wasp venom, they could pose a serious risk. For mosquitoes, with more than 82 species in Canada alone, transmission of diseases like the West Nile virus are concerns, as are allergic reactions which can sometimes lead to secondary infections. Fortunately, with the proper steps, both pests can be treated and prevented so that residents can get back to enjoying outdoor spaces.
Standing water on balconies
Patios and balconies are often a large selling point for floor plans in apartments, but they can easily offer up rent-free stays for flying pests, especially in the late summer and early fall months. Virtually any amount of standing water is an attractant for mosquitoes, so reminding residents not to overwater plants or to empty overwatered plant containers is crucial. Advising residents to keep an eye out for wasp nests on their patios will also help, as they can alert management as soon as they notice one. Most common nesting sights are under eaves, in wall voids or behind objects or furniture on patios and balconies. Early detection of wasp infestations leads to quicker and more effective removal by your pest management professional.
Cleaning gutters, clearing trash
Gutters should be cleaned and cleared regularly to avoid the build-up of debris and any potential wasp nests. Making sure other general pest control on the property is up to date will also help with wasps, as other pests such as spiders and insects are tasty treats and can attract wasps. Garbage, trash, food or flowering plants on residents’ patios and balconies can attract wasps as well. Inspect and seal cracks, holes and voids in exterior walls to prevent queen wasps from overwintering on property and thereby readily starting their next season.
For common areas, the same rule applies for standing water – water is the number one thing mosquitoes need to reproduce and lay their eggs. Even a droplet of water is enough to serve as a breeding spot for mosquitoes. Being consistent with your preventive measures in larger areas is crucial for success in repelling mosquitoes, as they can rapidly reproduce and become an issue before you realize there is even a problem.
As long as the weather is suitably warm, mosquitoes are active. Any common area trash cans, pool furniture, over watered plants with large leaves or decorative ornaments, and poorly drained areas near the pool or countertops for grills can create standing water and attract mosquitoes. Landscaping that is dense or overgrown can also provide resting spots for mosquitoes, so be sure to trim them regularly.
Flowers and certain landscaping can also be the culprit for your poolside wasps. Any outdoor eating areas such as grills or poolside snack areas are prime places to find crumbs or sugary soda spills, both of which can attract wasps to common areas.
As a property owner, the best defense against wasps is to keep the areas clean and to reduce the number of potential nesting sites for wasps. By taking proactive measures against pests that pose both a health risk and a nuisance to residents, you will create an unfavourable environment for them, forcing them to find more appealing places to congregate. But if you find yourself unsure of where to start, contact your pest management provider. Working with an expert who knows your property will help you successfully mitigate the issues and develop an Integrated Pest Management plan, which focuses on exclusion and minimal use of insecticide products. Putting a prevention plan in place now will help you for seasons (and years) to come.
Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is quality assurance manager of regulatory/lab Services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. For more information, email Alice Sinia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orkincanada.com.