Depending on where you live, as a pool owner you could wake up one morning and discover ducks, an alligator, or even a bear taking an unauthorized dip. Learn how to keep critters out of your pool.
Know Your Local Wildlife
All manner of wildlife, from insects to birds and reptiles to large mammals, are attracted to water. Figure out what kinds of animals are most likely to invade your pool. Once you know what kinds of creatures you most need to deter, you can select an effective method.
Local laws almost certainly require fencing around your pool. Additional natural barriers like hedges and shrubs may make entering the pool area inconvenient for some pests.
Don’t Forget Fido and Fluffy
Domestic pets can also be a nuisance around the pool. You may think they can use pool steps, but they may not be able to see them. Unfortunately, cats and dogs that get into the pool frequently can’t get out. They exhaust themselves trying, and eventually drown. Install a ramp that projects up out of the water where your pet can see it, and walk up out of the pool.
The Scamper-Ramp is a white plastic ramp that attaches poolside. Dogs, cats, and rodents who fall into the pool can use it to escape. It eliminates the need to use pool nets to try to get a terrified squirrel or small dog out of the water.
Below are solutions for common critter problems in and around pools:
Ducks and Other Birds
Ducks may look cute swimming around in your pool, but they’re probably pooping in it, too. Geese can be even messier, pooping all over the pool deck and the lawn. Deterring birds takes a bit of creativity, and scare tactics tend to work best.
To frighten birds away from your pool, try leaving large, colorful pool toys that look like predators in the pool. Pool floats that look like sharks or alligators can be effective.
“Scare Tape” and other glittery decorations scare birds off with their bright, reflective surfaces. Scare tape or metallic ribbons hanging from tree branches, on stakes in container gardens, attached to rafts, or around the pool deck can help.
You may think of decoys as something hunters use to attract ducks. But decoys shaped like owls can deter ducks.
Products that change the surface tension of the water to deter ducks are designed to be harmless to humans, but unpleasant for ducks. If they don’t like how the water feels, they won’t come back.
Man’s best friend can deter ducks, especially if Fido barks at them or chases them. The problem with this is that Fido might accidentally end up in the pool.
A safety pool cover that protects the pool but prevents people from falling through and become trapped will also take away the attraction for water birds. If they can’t land in the water, the pool is of no interest to them.
Eliminate nesting and roosting areas close to the pool by cutting back overhanging branches. Trim back shrubs to prevent birds from nesting or roosting near the pool.
Frogs and Snakes
Snakes are the natural enemies of frogs, so scattering a few rubber snakes around the pool deck may keep the froggies out. Rubber snakes will also deter some species of birds.
There are products designed to help frogs get out of the pool if they get in. One such remedy provides a platform for frogs to climb onto and then hop out of the pool. Another provides a sort of spiral staircase within a skimmer that helps frogs get out.
If you have a problem with real snakes getting into the pool, try growing mint and lemon grass around the perimeter of your pool. Sprinkling the ground with cloves or dried garlic, or non-toxic substances designed to irritate creepy-crawlies may also help keep critters out of your pool.
Unless the snakes in your area are naturally aquatic, they may have fallen into the pool from overhanging branches. That’s another good reason, in addition to deterring birds, to trim or remove trees around your pool.
If your pool area attracts deer, a sprinkler system with infrared detectors might help. When the sprinkler detects the presence of an animal, it directs a shot of water at the offender and scares them off. There are also flashing infrared light systems that deter large mammals. Place these carefully to be considerate of neighbors who might be bothered by intermittent flashing lights.
In Florida, there is a risk that an alligator might decide to take up residence in your pool. This is a situation where prevention is your best option. Pool screen enclosures are designed to keep all kinds of creatures out of the pool area. When properly installed, they should make it difficult or impossible for gators to get into your pool area. Obviously, if an alligator does make it in, you’ll have to call a professional animal removal service to get him out.
The best way to keep bugs out of your pool is to catch or kill them before they get into it. Insect traps now use CO2 as an attractor. Bugs drawn to them get sucked in by a vacuum and trapped.
Keeping the water circulating will prevent mosquitos from breeding. If insects populate the surface of the pool, you can spray them with a homemade solution of a few tablespoons of dish soap mixed into 16 to 32 ounces of water. Shake the solution to mix inside a clean spray bottle. It shouldn’t be sudsy except on top, and it should be clear. The bugs will eventually die and sink to the bottom of the pool. The skimmer can then capture them, and you can get rid of them when you clean out the skimmer.
A pool screen enclosure is the ultimate solution to almost all these problems. Screening materials have improved tremendously over the years in strength, durability, and pet resistance. Screening keeps bugs and debris out of the pool, while also serving as an effective barrier against wildlife and pets. Screening can also provide protection from UV rays.
Screened enclosures can prolong the swim season and add security to your private pool retreat. Check your pool screen annually for damage, and contact Pool Screens R Us for pool or lanai screen replacement.