Having a pool at home can really make a big difference. You are always ready to beat the heat of summer. You can host one-of-a-kind house parties. You have that one relaxing spot to unwind. However, your pool is always under threat by creatures you may never have even heard of.
Your pool is in constant threat of bug infestation, even more than you probably realize. If you do have a pool at home, you may not know about the potential risks of bugs and the diseases that they could carry through your pool.
The majority of bugs that end up in swimming pools can cause gastrointestinal diseases via fecal contamination as they live in your pool. Their excrement may contain single-cell parasites called Cryptosporidium and Giardia that are the leading causes of pool-related gastroenteritis in Australia and worldwide. These parasites can cause diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Bug infestation is something that shouldn’t be shrugged off when you have a swimming pool. They bite and sting people, clog filters, and float on the water’s surface, which looks dreadful enough already. Although regular pool maintenance can keep intrusions to a minimum, an outdoor pool is always going to be a bug magnet because like people, insects are attracted to water when the weather gets hot.
Before you find ways to get rid of them, it helps to know the most common bugs that are attracted to swimming pools. Here are some of the most common bugs in that can access your pool.
Water Boatmen and Backswimmers
The Water Boatman is a non-biting oval shaped insect that feeds off of algae. They are from the family Corixidae, the largest water bug family. Plant materials that are collected in pool filtering systems, traps and drains can either be a food source or a place to lay eggs for this insect.
When Water Boatmen are present, backswimmers are usually nearby because the Water Boatmen are food for the Backswimmers.
Backswimmers have long hairy legs that they use like the oars of a boat. The oar-like legs allow them to move quickly through the water while floating on their backs. This bug is also known as a Water Wasp because it has a nasty sting.
Both the Water Boatmen and the Backswimmer have wings and can fly.
Flies: Dobsonflies, Mayflies, and Stoneflies
Other common aquatic insects that invade swimming pools are Dobsonflies, Mayflies and Stoneflies.
The Dobsonfly has a wingspan of up to 5 inches, and it can bite if it comes in contact with a human.
Mayflies are slender and pale and travel in groups that often look like clouds moving up and down. They lay their eggs on water surfaces, and could mistake a swimming pool as a good place to lay their eggs.
Adult Stoneflies are recognizable because of how they move in groups of thousands. They are attracted to bright lights and water. Adult Stoneflies have short life spans and die soon after flight.
Midges are small two-winged bugs – also related to flies – that breed in water or marshy areas. They are especially attracted to pools with fruit trees nearby because they like sweet sap and nectar. Some midges have a painful bite too so you might want to avoid them.
They are really scary, and they love to be around stagnant water like swimming pools. Palmetto Bugs are also known as American cockroaches, water bugs, and flying water bugs. It is the largest of the common species, and it can grow up to more than 1.5 inches in length. Their color is reddish-brown, with a pale brown or yellow border on the upper surface of their body. Yes, both the male and female are fully winged. Also, just like any other cockroaches, they can cause various diseases.
These bugs are elusive, but they can be under control if you follow strict guidelines. Regular maintenance and cleaning could work; however, following these simple tips and practical routines can help you keep your swimming pool bug-free.
Use proper chemical treatments
One of the first steps you need to take as a pool owner to keep the bugs away is to make sure your pool has regular chemical treatments. With pool water that is properly treated with the appropriate chemicals, insects are less likely to not only come by for a drink, but also unlikely to ever return. Additionally, mosquitoes would not lay their eggs in chemically treated water. Proper and regular chemical treatments can also prevent algae from blooming, another factor that attracts bugs to your pool.
Purchase a pool cover
Having a pool cover can go a long way in protecting your swimming pool against bugs. It can also guard from other annoying pests such as frogs. Not only can this help keep the bugs out of your pool when it’s not in use, it can also help prevent excessive water evaporation. This is a must if you are not using your pool daily, and when you’re about to go on a vacation for a few days.
Practice proper landscaping
If you see any plants, branches, or trees that are surrounding your pool and hanging over the pool area of your property, it would be best if you trim them off. While these trees and plants do a great deal to beautify the surrounding area of your pool, they also act as a superhighway for insects to reach your pool. If they are not maintained properly, they can cause serious bug infestations. Make sure that they are trimmed orderly and maintained well because they can really aid bugs if left unchecked. Additionally, remove items that provide shelter for spiders and other pests such as yard debris, trash, and construction waste.
Planting a few specific plants in your backyard can help deter pests. For some reason, flies really despise the smell of basil. You can use this to your advantage by placing pots of basil around your home and pool. Though your cat may love catnip, mosquitoes hate it. In fact, according to Science Daily, catnip repels mosquitoes better than DEET. To keep mosquitoes out of your yard, grow catnip. Planting rosemary, lemon balm, lemon grass, marigolds, horsemint, and citronella can also help keep bugs away.
Regulate pool light usage
Certain bugs are attracted to unnatural lights. When you’re not using your pool, especially during the evening hours, make sure you turn off your pool lights. Also, look to replace UV bulbs with LED bulbs. This is just another way to minimize insects getting lured into your pool.
Keeping food away from bugs
Bugs are always on the lookout for abundant food resources. Leaving food lying around the pool area can definitely attract flies, bees, and wasps to your backyard oasis. Eliminate sources of outdoor food for bugs, such as scattered pet food, fallen fruit, and any other food sources. Clean up any spilled soda, leftover food from previous pool parties, or even crumbs that can be tasty for bugs.
Brushing your pool regularly
As mentioned above, algae can surely attract bugs to your pool. A regular pool brushing regimen can prevent algae from blooming around your swimming pool, thus reducing the insects attracted to the algae. It’s also best to keep in mind that once you’ve brushed the pool, you need to vacuum all of the debris you’ve stirred up.