Minimizing Mosquitos- July 2016

Although pest control should always be top of mind, concerns about Zika, a virus transmitted by infected mosquitos that causes fever, rash, and joint pain, make it more important than ever to control mosquitos.

“Mosquitos are not just annoying; they are pests that cause public health problems by transmitting viruses like West Nile and Zika,” says Nancy Troyano Ph.D., medical entomologist and director of technical education and training for Rentokil, an international pest control company.

1. Minimize standing water:
Mosquitos need standing water to breed. Landscaping ponds, puddles, and liquid pooling in trash cans can attract mosquitos.

“Any areas where there is a cup or more of stagnant water is a concern,” Troyano says.

To avoid becoming a mosquito breeding ground, keep lids on trash cans—and empty them often—soak up puddles, and install fountains or agitators in landscaping ponds.

2. Keep air moving:
Just as stagnant water attracts ­mosquitos, so does stagnant air. “Mosquitos are weak fliers,” Troyano says.

Installing fans in outdoor eating areas, gift shops, and queues can help minimize the number of ­mosquitos because the they cannot fly against the currents fans produce.

In Portland, Oregon, all of the concessions at Oaks Park are outfitted with fans to keep bugs from infiltrating sticky, sweet ingredients.

3. Schedule regular inspections:
The grounds crew at Oaks Park performs daily inspections, picking up trash, emptying recycling bins, cleaning sticky residues in the picnic areas, and addressing other problems that might attract pests. In addition to deterring mosquitos, the inspections help improve the guest experience.

“Guests don’t want to eat their lunches while creatures are buzzing around,” says Mike Soto, the park’s guest relations and security director.

Oaks Park also schedules thorough quarterly inspections to identify areas where stagnant water collects (it could be pooling around wave-pool pumps or collecting near trash cans) and eliminating breeding grounds like concave concrete or sculptures that collect water.

4. Create barriers:
Screens are a simple and effective option for keeping mosquitos out of buildings and enclosed structures, including restaurants, gift shops, and ticket booths.

Enclosing open-air buildings may not be practical, but, in areas with existing doors and windows, installing screens and keeping the doors closed helps keep mosquitos from taking up residence.

5. Partner with pest control:
A contract with a pest management company ensures mosquito control is a priority.

“A pest control company knows what to look for and can provide solutions to control mosquitos,” Troyano says.

An expert can also make recommendations for pest-control solutions and number of applications based on mosquito season in your location.

Troyano suggests scheduling spraying after the park closes so treated areas will be dry and guest-ready when the gates open in the morning.

6. Sell protection:
Concerns about the Zika virus will make guests extra vigilant about applying insect repellent. Keep it stocked in the gift shop, and let guests know that you take their health and safety seriously.