Monsters From the Deep: 5 Bugs You May Find in Your Pool This Summer
With summer heating up, you may not be the only one looking for a dip in the pool. As if worrying about bugs on land wasn’t enough, there’s a whole other group of bugs that can survive — and thrive — in water. Here’s how to identify those unwelcome pool guests and prevent them from ruining your water oasis.
Swimmers and Divers
1. Predaceous Diving Beetles
They may not participate in your cannonball contest, but predaceous diving beetles get their name from swimming deep under the surface of the water. While diving beetles usually live in fresh bodies of water like ponds and lakes, a murky pool with leaf debris and plant matter will make them feel right at home. These brown, oval-shaped beetles are attracted to light reflecting off the surface of your pool, so turning off exterior lights at night can help prevent them from taking a swim.
2. Water Boatmen
Water boatmen have distinct oar-shaped legs that make them look like they’re rowing a boat. But instead of going gently down the stream, they’re staying in your pool for one thing — algae. Even microscopic algae that the human eye can’t see is a tasty meal for these bugs.
Water boatmen often get confused for diving beetles, but you can tell them apart by their slender, streamlined bodies and the yellow or green markings on their back. They can reproduce quickly by laying their eggs in algae to give their larvae a constant food source, so keeping your pool clean is a must when dealing with these aquatic invaders.
No, those aren’t dead water boatmen floating upside down, they’re something much worse — backswimmers. The next step up the food chain, backswimmers are predators that swim upside down and feed on smaller bugs. So, once you have water boatmen in your pool, backswimmers won’t be far behind. Backswimmers are more likely to bite you if you get near them, and while their bite won’t do any long-lasting damage, it certainly will sting.
At only 1/20th of an inch long, you may not even see thrips on the surface of the water. In fact, you probably won’t notice them until you go to check out your tan, only to find yourself covered in moving black dots.
If you do have thrips, they probably ended up there by accident. Thrips enjoy hanging out on plants, so if you have any vegetation near your pool, thrips are likely to fall in. They are able to feed on algae, though, so once in your pool, they can reproduce quickly.
Nowhere is safe from these blood-sucking pests. While you can find mosquitoes buzzing around in any part of your yard, dealing with them on a relaxing pool day is especially annoying. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so if your pool hasn’t been used in a while, mosquitoes will use it as a breeding ground to field an entire mosquito swim team before you know it.
Keeping It Clean
Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with water bugs. Turning off lights at night will limit reflections that draw these bugs to water. Putting a pool cover on at night can also help keep critters out. However, you may need to take a few extra steps if you already have bugs in your pool.
Use a skimmer to scoop out bugs floating on the surface. Also, make sure to empty the filters on the side of your pool to clear out any debris or trapped bugs. In general, using an algaecide will go a long way in getting rid of water bugs, as it eliminates their food source. Vacuum the bottom of the pool to remove any dirt and microorganisms that attract water bugs. Scrub the tile around the edge of the pool to remove any hidden algae from the grout. Lastly, remove any vegetation and standing water close to the perimeter of the pool.
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