Before you venture into your swimming pool this summer, you might want to take a closer look. There are two nasty pool pests that you should be aware of; the water boatman, and the backswimmer, or water wasp. Here's how to recognise these pests and eliminate them from your pool.
The water boatman is a small, greyish-brown, oval-shaped insect. It moves around by skating across the water surface tension or swimming beneath the water, and it can also fly. They're harmless creatures that don't bite.
Water boatmen feed on the algae and other green stuff that grows in the vicinity of your pool, especially in the filters, drains and traps, and this is also where they lay their eggs. Water boatmen also eat mosquito larvae. Although this sounds like a good thing, having water boatmen in your pool attracts another, less benign insect; the backswimmer.
The backswimmer (water wasp)
Backswimmers are definitely an unwanted interloper at any pool party. Although similar in appearance to water boatmen, they're considerably larger. Backswimmers also lay their eggs on the algae and vegetation in and around your pool area. They get around by swimming beneath the water surface and can also fly. Backswimmers feed on other insects, especially water boatmen. And they have a very painful bite rather like a wasp sting, hence their other name; water wasp.
How to get rid of water boatmen and backswimmers
Like most pool party gatecrashers, these pests won't hang around if there's nothing on offer to eat. In order to starve-out the backswimmers, you'll need to get rid of their preferred snack first; the water boatmen. The best way to do this is by removing the water boatmen's green food source.
- Start by shocking your pool with several doses of chlorine. Scrub away all algae from the bottom and sides of the pool, and clean out the filters. Repeat this process several times.
- After each shock and scrub, skim the surface of the water to remove any water boatmen and floating algae. Place the pests in a bucket of oil and water which will quickly kill them off.
- Increase the amount of chlorination in your pool and clean out filters regularly. If your pool has an auto-water re-filler, place a chlorine tablet inside it to prevent further algal growth.
- Some species of algae are resistant to chlorine, so treat your pool regularly with a proprietary algaecide that you can buy from a good pool supplies store.
Once all the water boatmen have been removed from your pool, keep it free from algae to deter them from returning. The backswimmers will soon disappear when their food source has been eradicated.
If the problem persists, have a chat with a local pest control company, such as Statewide Pest Control, for more advice.