It seems we can blame anything on the housing market these days. Retail sales down – that’s because so many people have higher mortgages and less discretionary money. Crime rates increasing – less people are in stable home environments and are getting desperate for money. My big toe hurts, it must be because there’s another foreclosure on my street. I’ve heard every link (okay maybe not the last one…) and every theory from all sorts of media these past few weeks. And yes, we can even blame our insects in the OC on the dismal real estate market.
Now, as a midwestern transplant to the OC, I thought there were a few things I left behind – thunderstorms, tornadoes, humidity, and mosquitoes. Apparently this week proved all of those wrong!
Photo Courtesy of: Michigan State website
Back in the midwest we had to clothe our little children (and ourselves, honestly) with long sleeves and pants during the hot summer evening to keep the skeeters from gnawing at your skin. Failure to do so not only yielded scratchy patches of swelling, but also left open the door for the West Nile virus to make a grand appearance.
So after moving here to So Cal, I thought we had avoided the West Nile fear. But alas, mosquitoes are here thicker than ever. Normally we live in a pretty arid environment and let’s face it there’s not much still water around the area so mosquitoes in So Cal are usually kept to a minimum without the proper breeding ground. But according to the OC Register the West Nile virus has infected 13 birds here in the OC and shows no signs of ending. Why the influx? Believe it or not – the real estate market.
How is that you say? Well, with the high number of foreclosures and abandoned homes the swimming pools are not being maintained. And dank, damp swimming pools that are not running are the perfect breeding ground for the pesky, blood-sucking vermin. While the mosquitoes are multiplying like rabbits in the foothills we’re once again facing the unintended and completely unanticipated consequences of the wacky housing market.
What can we do about it? Sure enough, someone had to get smart on the issue. There’s two things. First, the LA Times is reporting that the Governator has cracked down and started asking the banks that own the homes to simply drain the pools. No standing water = no boom boom room for mosquitoes = less mosquitoes = minimized West Nile risk.
Secondly, if the water is not drained, ABC news has been reporting that up north some groups are using mosquito egg eating fish to take care of the problem. If the pool’s in bad enough shape to be a breeding ground for the pests, they might as well house a few fish in there as well. I’m sure it will help the home show nicely as well (you could list it as “pets included”).
Either way, keep your eyes peeled for the little vermin and if you see an unmaintained pool due to foreclosure you might notify your health department. Your neighbors will thank you later! And remember, we can always blame everything that’s going wrong on the housing market, right?