Between spreading diseases and causing itchy bites, there are many reasons to help keep mosquitoes away from your senior living community. Fortunately, there are several proactive measures to help prevent mosquito populations and get back to focusing on employee well-being and resident care.
In a senior living community, employees value a safe working environment, and your residents expect higher standards of sanitation and cleanliness. Pests can spread harmful pathogens and diseases such as West Nile virus and Dengue fever, putting your staff members and residents at risk. For the health and safety of residents and employees — as well as the reputation of your business — it’s important to have a plan in place before mosquito issues arise.
Mosquito habitats and signs you have a problem
Mosquitoes typically appear in the spring and can remain late into the fall, depending on the regional climate. All mosquitoes thrive in warm, humid conditions with access to water. In fact, the first three stages of a mosquito’s life cycle — egg, larval and pupal — all require submersion in water for development. The warmer and wetter your climate, the more mosquitoes you’ll likely have.
Three signs that you may have a mosquito problem around your community:
- You can visibly see or hear mosquitoes flying.
- You can see mosquito larvae in standing water around your property.
- You or others on your property experience increased mosquito bites or annoying encounters.
Proactive measures to help prevent mosquitoes
Fortunately, you can work with your pest control provider — as well as your maintenance and sanitation teams — to identify and incorporate preventive solutions that help reduce mosquito populations at your senior living community, including:
1. Reduce sources. Because mosquitoes need water to thrive, remove standing water around your property regularly, including:
- Keeping drainage areas and gutters clear and unclogged.
- Checking flat roofs and parking lots for places where water might puddle.
- Refreshing water weekly in permanent fixtures, such as bird baths or plant pot trays.
- Cleaning out catch basins and trench drains to ensure that they are draining well and not creating buildup.
- Removing debris or waste that may fill with water and serve as artificial container breeding areas.
2. Modify the habitat. Maintain landscaping to reduce shaded areas that create moist hiding spots.
3. Remove additional debris from grounds, including underbrush and any trash that might add shade or water retention.
4. Install gutter guards, if needed, to prevent clogs that cause water to gather.
5. Keep swimming pools and fountains treated, with water circulating, to avoid stagnant water.
The most effective mosquito control begins ahead of the warm weather and continues with ongoing monitoring and maintenance into the fall.
Mosquito exclusion tactics
Exclusion refers to techniques that include repairing, sealing and closing off common pest entry points around your community. The best exclusion practices to help prevent mosquitoes include:
- Adding screens to windows and doors.
- Repairing any holes or tears in window and door screens.
- Keeping doors closed as much as possible.
- Sealing areas around utility line penetrations and any other area where mosquitoes might manage to infiltrate your community.
IPM and healthcare
Implementing an integrated pest management, or IPM, program in a senior living or healthcare facility is a crucial step in preventing mosquitoes. The IPM approach focuses on a combination of preventive measures to effectively manage pest populations, including thorough inspections, customized treatment plans for your community and ongoing monitoring of your program’s effectiveness. By partnering with your pest control provider to develop an IPM program, you can identify pest pressures unique to your community, maintain open lines of communication around pest pressures with your staff members and establish a documentation process to help mitigate pest sightings and monitor trends.
Mosquito control services help reduce mosquito populations, which in turn can aid in reducing the likelihood of mosquito-borne diseases and preserving the comfort and overall well-being of your residents. By implementing preventive mosquito control measures, long-term care facilities can demonstrate their commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for their residents, staff members and visitors, promoting confidence in their care and services.
Ian Williams is a technical services manager for Rollins Inc., where he works to support Rollins’ field operations, marketing and training teams with technical guidance on products, protocols and policies to ensure the best results for customers. Before that, he worked for more than a decade with Trutech Wildlife Removal and Critter Control, both Rollins Brands, in various roles including technician, branch manager and training manager. Williams is a board-certified entomologist with a specialization in urban entomology and is a certified wildlife control professional and a preventive controls qualified individual.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.
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