Skinny Dipping with Six-legged Scopophiliacs

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Many insects love water, and if you own a pool you know that it’s a constant battle to keep the water clean, clear and free of unwanted visitors.  Many insects get accidentally trapped when they fall in and eventually drown while others attempt to make your pool their home.  So, when you go for that late night skinny-dip (or “chunky-dunk” for overweight folks as myself) you may have some unwanted compound eyes peering at you.  

Most of the bugs that end up in your pool filter or floating on top of the water are nothing to be concerned about.  These are the incidental ones that can easily be removed with a hand skimmer.  Many of these will be sucked up into the pool skimmer basket.  For a bug lover as myself, every time I check the pool skimmer it feels like Christmas.  I eagerly pop open the lid to the skimmer basket to see what prized specimens are caught and would be welcome additions to my collection.  You can find lots of different types of beetles, flies, dragonflies, and wasps.  The most annoying thing I find that tends to clog up the skimmer is fire ant swarmers.  We have lots of fire ants in our neighborhood and when they swarm they all seem to fly straight into my pool.  We can have thousands of them floating around and they can sting.  Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about them flying into the pool.  So, every time we go for a swim the first person in is responsible for using the hand skimmer to remove the fire ant swarmers, wasps, and any other floaters.

Occasionally we will get some aquatic insects that decide to visit the pool and stick around for a while.  These include water striders (skinny bugs with long legs that scoot across the surface of the water), water boatmen (small gray bugs with long paddle-like back legs), and giant water bugs (very large tan bugs that swim on the bottom).  All of these insects are predators and are looking for other insects to munch on.  They can also give a painful bite if handled.  If any of these are found in your pool the best thing to do is scoop them out with a net.

While there’s not much you can do to keep bugs from winding up in your pool, there are some things that may help reduce the number of them showing up:

  • Keep the areas around your pool well maintained.  The more bushes and other vegetation you have nearby the more insects will be present.  Keep grassy areas cut and don’t store a lot of junk near the pool.
  • Make sure there is good drainage around the outside of your pool.  Fix any areas that have standing water.
  • Be sure to keep your pool water pH at the recommended levels to allow chemicals to work properly and clean filters and skimmers on a regular basis.
  • Reduce lighting around your pool.  The more lights you have on at night the more attractive it becomes for insects.