Recession causing abandoned swimming pools, increased risk of West Nile
By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance
Sure, everywhere you look, it’s darker and darker.
Your local Starbucks is closing. Paul McCartney and Elton John are losing cash. Chrysler dealerships couldn’t sell a Scarlett Johansson sex tape at this point.
Yet here’s a sign of the economic times no one’s talking about. Entomologists are finding abandoned swimming pools, of all things, are providing a daunting picture of the recession as they turn into breeding grounds for disease-spreading mosquitoes.
It turns out the housing crisis – which has caused thousands of foreclosures – is sticking it to residential neighbourhoods on the back end, too. Homes with swimming pools left by its tenants, of course, have no one to care for them, and it’s posing a significant public health risk to families still living in the picked-clean areas.
Data isn’t immediately available for Canadian homes, but in Phoenix, for example, the number of pools left untended because of foreclosure could hit 14,000 this year, up from just 6,000 in 2007, the Associated Press reports.
And it’s not that the algae-infested mosquito sanctuaries are just ticking off residents with itchy bites. The risk of the West Nile virus and other diseases are growing exponentially in areas conducive to family cookouts and children playing in the streets.
Public health workers have been able to quench some of the problem, deploying a “mosquito fish” – a guppy, essentially – into the deserted pools. But supplies of the fish are limited, and finding similar species outside their native southern U.S. is tough.
The problem isn’t quite subject to a quick-fix like draining the pool, either, because a simple rainfall would provide enough standing water for mosquitoes to harvest themselves, anyway.
And the Associated Press story doesn’t take into account people still in their houses yet without the disposable cash to care for their existing pool. How many families aren’t quite thrilled to foot the bill for pricy chemicals this summer? How many have more pressing concerns than calling over the pool guy?
This story isn’t AIG ripping off taxpayer money for bonuses or anything, but it’s an interesting spin on the dangers of a poor economy. And as the weather starts to heat up, it’s worth keeping an eye on, at the very least.
Posted by: Smarten up. | Apr 27, 2021 4:04:54 PM
Now is the time to fill those pools with water and plant lilly pads and throw in some gold fish. By the end of the summer you will have some lage gold fish and no West Nile Then you drain the pool fillie the fish soak them in wine and have your yearly fish fry. Next year try some trout or bass or throw in a northern pike.
Posted by: JJK | Apr 27, 2021 5:58:56 PM
We used to own a mosquito infested four acres of land with a pond. A friend of ours had too many qoi in his pond so he brought over six and put them in our pond. Fast forward a few years and we have hundreds of qoi and no mosquitos. We have a beautiful great blue herron that feeds on them and we have so many we may be selling some this year. Who would believe that our mosquito problem would make us a few dollars!
Posted by: Smarten up. | Apr 30, 2021 1:37:07 PM
Set up a block pool committee and get one person to manage three pools.drain them and add beach or if that doesn't work grab no name bleach and loosen off the top and lob it into the pool after dark. P's don't get caught! Do only the places up wind from your house and not as saleable as the places with fresh for sale signs.
Posted by: check your area | Apr 30, 2021 2:08:07 PM
This could be a great time to harvest the gardens, the area could yield sizeable return on your time. I don't want to get in trouble with anyone so use some common sense.
Posted by: smarten up | May 1, 2021 4:54:50 PM
To jjk: If you planted a black oak tree or a black chestnut tree or a horse chestnut tree near your pond then you could also get rid of mosquitoes. The logic is in the tannic acid produced by those trees that provides a sunscreen for tadpole eggs. The mortality rate for the amphibians would go down and they would eat the mosquito larvae. You could also put up tree swallow boxes around the pond and the birds would eat the flying mosquitoes before they bite you. tree swallows eat their weight in the insects in a very short time. These ideas may be low key but the cost to do it and the end result will make it a long term solution to the mosquito problem in your area.