Rob Cox, March 22, 2012
How to keep Critters out of your Pool
Critters in the pool! Some people can't stand to see bugs, frogs, ducks or dogs in their pool, and almost everyone would swim faster at the sight of a snake swimming with them!
Fact is, bodies of water are a natural habitat for many animals. They prefer darker, more vegetated areas, which provides some protection from predators, but your pretty blue pool will sometimes do the job.
This blog post will cover some of methods of discouraging certain animals from using your pool as their own private oasis.
I've heard that snakes prefer a black bottom pool, one that is painted or plastered black - to a traditional blue or white pool. This may be true, I'm not sure. Most snakes, except for aquatic snakes, like water moccasins, probably fall into the pool by accident. Then they may have trouble getting out, unless you have an easy step or ramp for the serpents to slither up!
To prevent snakes from coming into the area; here's some old home remedies to scare snakes away from the pool.
Frogs love the water, of course. So much that a smart inventor created a product called Frog Log, which provides an exit ramp for frogs, toads, crickets and other such critters. Another product that helps in the same way is called the Critter Skimmer. A specially modified skimmer lid, with a spiral ramp on the inside, that allows critters to climb up and out of the swirling skimmer. Whew!
I have heard of folks who catch the frogs in nets and fill a mayo jar full, then they drive down the river and release them.That's the more frog-friendly way to do it I suppose. But if you want a more direct method try a rubber snake. Frogs and snakes are not friendly, and if you place a few around the deck or in the pool, you can scare the frogs, and maybe Grandma too.
Frogs also don't like high chlorine levels, and low pH. I've heard that if you sprinkle DE filter powder along the outer deck edge, or in the planters, that will deter the frogs from entering the pool area. If you see frog eggs floating in the pool, remove them with a small bucket or jar, a skimmer net sometimes disperses them into dozens of little black dots.
Ducks are some of the messiest visitors to your pool, if you know what I mean. They drastically affect the pH level, and increase chloramine production. Cute too look at, especially when the whole family moves in, but oh, what a mess! It's usually only temporary, and ducks move on, but sometimes they stay awhile.
If you post a few plastic Owl sentries around, the ducks may avoid your house, and setlle down on your neighbor's pool instead. A large barking dog will likely do the trick as well. One product that has been around for several years is called "Duck Off". Funny name, I know - but it really works. Changes the surface tension on the water or something, so that the ducks don't like it. Not noticeable by humans.
If your dog loves to jump in the pool, and you would rather he didn't, I'm not sure what to suggest - maybe a shorter leash? Some dogs love to go in the pool, and some dogs won't even go near the pool. And some just like to chase the pool cleaner around, barking at it. If your dogs is a swimmer, boost the chlorine level after use, and check the hair lint basket for dog hair, if your dog is hirsute.
If you worry about an older dog falling in the pool, and not being able to get out, or even a younger dog - look at these dog pool safety ramps. If your pool has no "wedding cake" style steps or swimout, a dog that falls (or jumps) in the pool could tire out, panic and drown. Skamper Ramp and Doggy Docks were specifically made for this exact purpose.
Safety Turtle is another safety device, which clips to a dog collar, and sounds an alarm when the device is submerged. Safety Turtle is mainly used as a wristwatch for children around pools, but works well for dogs around pools or lakes, or on the boat, to prevent 'dog overboard' situations.
At one time we had a service contract on a roof-top pool in downtown Wash. DC. The maintenance guy, Don, once remarked to me that the surface of the pool was covered in fine debris. "I can't see anything" I told him. "Look at it sideways, with the angle of the sun". Sure enough, I could see tiny, almost invisible debris - air lint, I think I called it.
If you are concerned about a flawless pool surface, and want to clear the surface of all floating debris, try "Bug Off". Bug Off changes the water surface tension, and just drops of this liquid moves everything to the side of the pool. Especially useful for water boatmen bugs or stinkbugs in the pool.
Ok, so now you know a bit more about Critters in your Pool. If you have stories of battles with creatures of the backyard, fill in a comment below!
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