Once, it was thought that someone who lived in a $500,000 or $1,000,000 home had the world on a string.  But for many, that dream has become a nightmare.  Because of the declining economy of the past several years, foreclosed homes are dotting the streets all over the country…. modest homes or million dollar ones.  Persons who are facing foreclosure on their homes are not as concerned with the upkeep of the house when they know they won’t be there much longer.

One of the horrible realities of the more exclusive homes is the condition of the swimming pools, where families once played.  They have turned from turquoise blue to emerald green, or “green pools”, which are actually not so emerald, but a dark, murky green.  These pools are breeding grounds for millions of mosquitoes, which carry the West Nile virus, posing a health hazard for neighbors.

According to an ABC News report, Chris Miller, a biologist with Contra Costa Mosquito Vector and Control District in California, is in control of breeding tiny, cannibalistic fish – Gambuzia Affinis.  No larger than 2 ½”, they eat mosquitoes.  He says an adult female can eat up to 500 mosquitoes a day.  Bags of 150 fish are sent out with each pool crew dispatched to inspect green pools in his district.

These popular little fish are being used across the country to help with the problem of green pools.  After chemical solutions are used to suffocate mosquito larvae, the fish are then released into the water to eat the remaining larvae, gnats, algae and other vegetation. Abandoned pools should not be drained, as the pool walls can crack and cause damage to surrounding ground.  Also, a drained pool can partially fill up with rainwater, thereby creating a hazard to children who might wander into the yard.  The best option is to keep these pools filled and kept clean.

This responsibility should fall on the real estate agent who has taken over the property.  When a home is foreclosed, most times the electricity and water are turned off.  Someone has to see that that doesn’t happen, in order for the property to be maintained.  A well-kept property is much easier to sell than one that has become run down, and a hazard to the entire neighborhood.  There are many other health hazards that abandoned houses present.  As warm weather is here, the issue with the swimming pools has again surfaced, making those who live next to them victims of circumstance.