bees, wasps

Bees & Wasps in Your Community Association

The Roles of Bees and Wasps in Community Associations

During the warmer months in the Delaware Valley many residents in Community Associations will notice
the proliferation of bees and wasps in the landscape beds and common areas. What many residents may not
know is that some of these insects, particularly certain species of bees or wasps, can be beneficial for the Community Association. Bees and wasps can help to pollinate plants and flowers in the landscaping beds and sometimes also help to control other insect pests. On another note, certain bees and wasps may also create a nuisance by nesting in the common areas or building structures which may require the services of a professional pest control company. In order to differentiate between these different types of insects, please read on.

Do you know the difference between a Wasp and a Bee?

Bees – Are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants. They are mostly known for their role in pollination and the integral part they play in our ecosystem. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in the world and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Below are the most common bees found in the Tri-State area:

European Honey Bee is the best known bee species. They have the ability to produce honey and are the most popular bee in North America. The honey bee builds its nest from wax secreted by workers in the colony. Unfortunately there has been a large decline in the honey bee population due to the overuse of pesticides.

Carpenter Bees – Are solitary in the sense that every female is fertile, and typically inhabits a nest she constructs herself by boring into wood. There are no worker bees for these species. Carpenter bees do not produce honey or beeswax. This type of bee can be destructive to your home.

Wasp -The majority of wasp species are solitary, with each adult female living and breeding independently. Many of the solitary wasps raise their young by laying eggs on or in the larvae of other insects. The wasp larvae eat the host larvae, eventually killing them. Solitary wasps parasitize almost every pest insect, making wasps valuable in horticulture for biological pest control.

Yellow Jacket – Is the common name in North America for predatory wasps. Most of these are black and yellow. All females are capable of stinging. Yellow Jackets, like most wasps, can sting repeatedly, and will do so when threatened. A yellow jacket colony can have up to 5,000 members, ruled over by a queen. Yellow jackets build nests in the ground, old tree stumps, wood piles, wall cavities and in sheds. People are often stung while trying to remove a nest or running over a nest with a lawnmower. Despite having a bad reputation, yellow jackets are important predators of pest insects and play an important role in preventing crop damage.

Hornets -Are the largest of the wasps, and are similar in appearance to the yellow jacket. They are distinguished from other wasps by the head and by the rounded abdomen. Hornets build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Each nest has one queen, who lays eggs and is attended by workers who are female. Most hornets make nests in trees and shrubs, but some build their nests underground or in the corner of a building. Hornets are often considered pests and aggressively guard their nest. Like the yellow jacket, hornets can sting repeatedly.

Hopefully this helps you better understand the roles that bees and wasps play in our Community Associations. Please consider this information when trying to identify these types of insects in the outdoors so that we don’t exterminate those insects that are beneficial for all of us.

PENCO Management has the expertise to deal with various issues that your Homeowners or Condominium Association may encounter on a daily basis. Our company provides Property Management services to New Castle, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties.  Our management team would be happy to schedule a meeting with your Board of Directors to discuss your Communities’ needs, as well as answer these very important questions regarding PENCO’s services.

snow removal

Snow Removal in Your Community Association

Common Snow Removal Procedures in Community Associations

Snow Removal in the Delaware Valley this season has been minimal, however, this may not be the case for the remainder of the season. February has been known to be one of the snowiest of months in the region. We would like to offer suggestions for residents and Board Members for common snow removal procedures within Community Associations.

PLEASE NOTE: All Associations handle snow differently and have different responsibilities for snow removal, these are just a few common ways that Associations handle snow removal.

SUGGESTIONS:

    • Please be patient, as we know not everyone can be first. Many Associations will request that the contractor begins clearing walkways and driveways at different locations within the Community each storm. This way everyone has a chance to be at the beginning and end of the clearing pattern.
    • Other than the clearing and salting of roadways, it is common for all remaining snow removal procedures to begin after the storm has ended.
      • Most Communities do not provide snow removal services when there is less than 2″ of accumulation. It is always recommended to have a personal supply of ice melt product and shovel handy for your personal use in the event that the snow accumulation is less than 2″ and your Association does not provide driveway and walkway removal services during that storm.
      • The order of priority is many times as follows:
        • main roadways
        • individual driveways/walkways
        • common sidewalks
        • parking lots
        • clubhouse and mailbox access areas
      • If possible, park your vehicle off of the street in your driveway (or garage) during and immediately following the storm.
      • In Communities where most cars are parked in common lots or on the street, keep track of plowing operations and as areas are cleared move your vehicle into the cleared spot to allow more areas to be cleared. Vehicles left sitting on the street and within parking lots during and after storms have a possibility of being “plowed in.” Additionally, areas which are tight without much clearance may remain un-plowed if the vehicles are not moved in an effort to avoid damage to the vehicles.
      • Please refrain from clearing snow off of cars which are parked on previously plowed streets. This habit makes the roads icy and costs the Association more to re-clear already plowed roadways. This also pertains to shoveling snow onto previously cleared sidewalks.
      • It is important to remove all landscaping lighting which lines walkways/driveways, door mats, planters, benches, to assist with minimizing damage to items which may not be visible when covered with a significant accumulation of snow. The contractors typically will not cover damages to items they cannot see when snow is on top of them.
      • Try to leave all exterior lights on, this will help crews to see during snow removal operations which occur during evening hours.
      • Most Associations have the snow contractor return the following day after most folks are at work or school to clear the remaining parking areas when there are fewer vehicles “to work around.”
      • Lastly, please be patient (as stated in the first bullet point above), snow removal is difficult, time consuming and inconvenient for all. If we all work together and cooperate the inconvenience of snow removal can be minimized as best as possible.

PENCO Management has the expertise to deal with various issues that your Homeowners or Condominium Association may encounter on a daily basis. Our company provides Property Management services to New Castle, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties. Our management team would be happy to schedule a meeting with your Board of Directors to discuss your Communities’ needs, as well as answer these very important questions regarding PENCO’s services.

financial audit

Financial Audit in Your Community Association

Financial Audit in Your Community Association

This is the time of year that Board of Directors should be planning for their Association’s Annual Financial Audit .  Many Association’s Governing Documents require an independent review of the Association’s financial records by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Even if the Association’s governing documents do not specifically require an annual financial audit, a prudent Board should always consider a yearly financial audit for the peace of mind in knowing that its financial affairs are in order and being handled in a proper manner.  An independent financial audit completed and given to the Association members annually by the Board shows that the Board takes their fiduciary obligations seriously.

When buyers are looking at purchasing a home in your Community, in many instances they want to review the prior year’s audited financial report to give them an idea of the financial stability of the Community.  Should your Community be interested in borrowing money in order to complete a large capital improvement project, such as roofing or asphalt replacements, the lending institutions you are working with will most likely require an audited financial records as part of their lending protocols.  In many cases insurance companies will also require an audited financial record when providing their annual premium.

Some of the steps that the auditor will take when completing the yearly financial audit may include:

  • Banking confirmation and review of all statements and records
  • Communication with attorneys representing Association regarding pending litigation and collection status
  • Review of Board minutes
  • Inspection of contract documents, bid processes and scope & specifications on capital improvement projects
  • Review of delinquent homeowner’s accounts and collection activities
  • Review of reserve plan and determination as to compliance to an adequate funding plan
  • Monitor balance sheets, profit & loss statements, and general ledger reports  to determine proper budgeting policies and review of special assessments
  • Comparison of last year and prior year’s financial statements and reports to locate any possible abnormalities, exceptions or trends and research as needed
  • Review and inspection of all vendor invoices

Annual Audits help catch errors and possible fraudulent activities in order to protect Boards and homeowners in their Association.  They determine if the financial statements are a true and correct reflection of the financial activities of the Association and are free of material misstatements.  They are one of the best tools in showing prudent and responsible community management for the benefit of the Association, its Board, and your professional property management firm.

PENCO Management has the expertise to deal with various issues that your Homeowners or Condominium Association may encounter on a daily basis. Our company provides Property Management services to New Castle, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties.  Our management team would be happy to schedule a meeting with your Board of Directors to discuss your Communities’ needs.

Submitted By: S. Erney

snow removal procedures

Snow Removal Procedures in Associations

 

Assisting with Snow Removal Procedures in Your Community Association?

The winter months can bring much joy for Community Association residents with
the holidays approaching and families getting together.  If past winters are any indication, and with the colder
weather quickly approaching, many Community Associations in the Northeastern U.S. will also experience
significant snowfall.  The snow removal procedures below will help to expedite the snow removal process in your Community.

In order to prepare for these inclement weather events, homeowners should be aware of the snow removal procedures for their specific Community Association.  By having
some general knowledge of these snow removal procedures, Community Association residents can
help to facilitate the timely removal of snow and ice from the streets and sidewalks of their Community.

Here are some general reminders that you should keep in mind regarding snow
removal procedures for your Community Association:

  • Snow removal contracts normally require the snow removal contractor to begin plowing the community streets once two inches of snow has fallen.  Vehicles parked on the street will only impede efforts for snow plow trucks and other equipment to complete their tasks. Please make sure that your vehicles are moved from the streets prior to the beginning of snowfall.
  • Individual sidewalks & driveways (where applicable), mailbox pads, and dumpster bays are normally cleared of snow once the snow has ended so that the contractor is not clearing the same areas twice and can also focus on keeping the streets open to the Community.
  • Parking areas and spaces create the greatest challenge for snow removal in Community Associations.  The snow removal work can only be completed after vehicles have been moved from these areas and the snowfall has ended.  It is important  to be aware once these efforts have begun in order to move your vehicle to help speed the clearance of your parking space, as well as others.
  • Do not push snow off vehicles into the previously cleared driveways, parking spaces, or roadways, without shoveling the snow onto uncleared areas.  It is important to remember that leaving this snow on cleared areas creates hazardous conditions for yourself & others within the Community Association.  In addition,  re-plowing or shoveling the previously cleared areas is inefficient, time consuming, and expensive for the Community.
  • Should you have medical conditions (visiting nurses, planned supply deliveries,etc.) or priority employment (doctor, nurse, or emergency personnel, etc.) concerns, it is important to make certain to let your property manager know before the storm arrives.  The property manager may be able to put you on a priority list for snow removal services to your home.

Please contact your property manager first if you have a request or concern regarding snow removal in your Community Association.  Your issue should then be able to be addressed in a timely manner without the snow removal contractor being diverted from their duties.

PENCO Management, Inc. can help you manage your snow removal operations in your Community Association, in addition to the other property maintenance, administrative, and financial services it provides for over 60 communities in the greater Delaware Valley including Bucks, Montgomery, and New Castle Counties.

Submitted by: M. Chupalio