Having a relaxing day lounging beside your pool is the perfect way to unwind and de-stress. But nothing can ruin your pool day more than a buzz of a hungry mosquito or the constant intrusion of birds (unless they’re swallows or house martins that dance and dip above the water of course). Seagulls, miner birds and the like are not welcome!
It doesn’t matter how clean and eco-friendly your pool is, keeping pests like mosquitoes, bees, wasps and water bugs at bay can be challenging. The damp pool environment entices insects due to the presence of algae and microorganisms they feed on. And the birds come looking to enjoy the water or find a tasty morsel left behind by a child.
Here are some tips that’ll help you make sure that pests don’t get near your pool and also stay out of your home:
Maintain Your Pool Regularly
If you keep your pool cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, you won’t have a big problem. This includes vacuuming, cleaning and skimming your pool frequently, effectively preventing algae spores from blooming before they have a chance to settle in.
Food sources for water bugs include decaying leaves, organic debris, small insects and organisms found in water. Get in the habit of testing your pH and chlorine levels every few days, especially after a period of heavy usage or hot weather. Don’t forget to clean your filters and pumps as well to ensure that no build-up occurs! If you remember that some bugs lay their eggs in algae then you won’t have an environment for them to thrive.
Get A Pool Cover
The best way to keep most insects out of your pool is by getting a pool cover. Most insect activity is at its peak at night time, so this is the best time to keep your pool protected from bugs trying to find a place to rest or breed. Pool covers also prevent insects, ducks and birds landing on its surface. If you’ve ever had to clear duck poo from in and around a pool, you’ll know it’s not fun!
A pool cover also keeps leaves and twigs from entering your pool. And it helps maintain your pool’s temperature, reducing your electricity usage.
Use Pool Netting
Pool safety netting over your pool area is a simple and effective way to prevent birds from entering your pool. These nets are specially designed with small holes that won’t allow birds or other pests to pass through, but still allows sunlight and air to penetrate. Nets require minimal maintenance and can be easily removed when you want to use the pool.
A note of caution though – lizards and skinks can get caught in netting. So this may not be the best option if you have skinks, lizards, water dragons and frogs loving to hang out near the pool.
Use Citronella Candles Or Torches
A great way to keep insects away while adding to the ambience of your poolside experience is to use scented candles or torches around your pool area. Citronella is a natural insect repellent and does a good job on its own.
Break The Surface Tension
Many algaecides contain surfactants that lower the surface tension of the water, preventing insects from landing on the surface of the pool. These algaecides consist of granules that dissolve in the water, providing a more effective pest deterrent without posing any danger.
Use A Skimmer Box With A Ramp
Many insects end up in your skimmer box and drown. By using a ramp, you can provide them with an escape route to safety, allowing them to crawl up the ramp, exit through the hole in the lid, and fly away unharmed.
Use Pool Lights Sparingly
Insects are attracted to light and will come into your property if they see the pool lights at night. Consider using a timer and other methods to reduce the hours they are running.
Choose the flavour of white in the bulb carefully. Cool white and blue tints are more likely to attract insects because they mimic moonlight. If you go for the yellow, orange or red tints, these tend to be away from the wavelengths that most insects can see. And so that means they are less likely to be attracted to the light.
Clean Up Freestanding Puddles Of Water
Anyone who has lived in the tropical climates knows that mosquito larvae can be found in any small puddle of water. They breed in areas with standing water, such as gutters, birdbaths, or shallow pools. It only takes a little water to grow many mosquitos
Check your pool area for any standing water weekly or fortnightly. Remove any standing water near your pool. A simple trick is to fill the drip trays under pot plants with sand. That way the water can drain freely without resulting in stagnant water. Check your rainwater tanks and water storage vessels to ensure screens are intact and prevent mosquito entry.
Use PVC Strip Doors To Keep Pests Out Of Your Home
Pool life at home is fun – and you’re often traipsing in and out to find cool drinks, towels and icy poles. And you definitely want the bugs and curious birds to stay out. It’s not fun finding a bird helping themselves to stuff on the kitchen bench!
You might be disciplined about keeping doors shut. But the kids probably aren’t! A great option for the main entry into the house from the pool is PVC strip doors.
PVC strip doors make excellent barriers to keep insects outside and not let them fly into your home. Strip curtains on your door create a physical separation that helps maintain a pest-free environment without causing significant inconvenience. That keeps the unwanted visitors outside. While you, the children and the pets can easily flow between inside and outside.
Get A Motion-Activated Scarecrow Or Water Sprayer
Motion-activated scarecrows or water sprayers sense movement. When they do, they can make a loud noise or shoot water. This scares animals away from your pool without hurting them.
They’re great for keeping birds and other animals away. Plus, they’re harmless. Watch out though – there may be small children who love to activate them – making for extra pool fun!
Experiment With Bird Scarers
If you’re finding that birds are disrupting your enjoyment of your pool, bird scarers can offer a practical solution. They come in a variety of styles, designed to mimic specific bird predators. They work by emitting sounds, smells, and visual signals that birds are supposed to find off-putting, so that they will stay away.
In practice, it depends a bit on the type of bird. Some species are more easily fooled than others. Birds like crows are highly intelligent so they might work it out pretty quickly.
But if you only use your pool now and then, bird scarers could be a great short-term solution.
Keep Food and Drinks Covered
Many of us have been to the poolside barbecue where you spend so much time swatting the flies away that people think you’re waving at them. Sun plus water plus food can be the recipe for a fly invasion.
So, if you’re having a poolside BBQ, make sure all your serving dishes, food and drinks are covered. Give your guests a way to cover their plates. At the Sydney Opera House, the outdoor café meals come with an attractive mesh cover to prevent seagulls from taking off with your burger.
Mesh or a lid (or even good old alfoil) will keep the wasps off your kebabs and let guests relax and enjoy the occasion.
Revamp The Landscaping Surrounding Your Pool
As ever, the secret is in good design. Think carefully when you plan your landscaping.
It’s great to have attractive and native plants. But keep the ones birds and bees really love away from the immediate pool area if you can. That way birds, bees and bugs will be less attracted to your pool area.
Birds often look for shelter or a place to perch while they search for food, and dense shrubs or trees near the pool make it an ideal resting spot. By moving these potential perching spots further away, or making them less attractive, you can discourage birds from hanging around your pool area.
Get Pest Control Services for Your Property
How do you know that it’s time to call in a pest control company? If you’ve tried a whole bunch of strategies, and it’s not making a difference, it might be time to seek the services of a pest control company. The good ones will also give you advice on your particular situation and where the nooks and crannies that bugs love are in your space.
There are options for pest treatments and sprays that are fast acting and short-lived in the environment. And some that are based on chemicals that plants make naturally.
Take the time to quiz the pest control company about their sustainability practices. So that you can be confident that the pest control does the job while protecting the environment at the same time. Good pest control companies will delighted that you asked and keen to show you their credentials.
Your swimming pool and backyard oasis can be a haven for helpful insects and birds, while deterring the unwanted ones. Making it a place where you, your family and friends want to spend time together.
As ever smart design and preventive measures are important. Implementing preventive measures such as covering the pool, removing standing water, installing PVC strip doors, redesigning your landscaping, or seeking pest control services can effectively deter pests from invading your pool area and ultimately your home.