Finding worms in your pool? Hey, that ecosystem was there a long time before your pool (or even your house!) was installed. And when it comes to the all the critters that keep the environment in your backyard balanced, there’s a lot happening that doesn’t meet the eye.
Typically, worms tend to live happily under the surface of your yard’s soil. That’s where they live most of their wormy lives because they thrive in moist, dark environments, and that’s where they find all the most delicious dead plant material they want to eat.
When worms end up in your pool, it’s not a good thing for them or for you. Worms can’t survive in swimming pools, and they certainly can’t find their own way out. And you probably don’t love the idea of diving to feel a slimy dead insect across your face. So it’s both of your best interests to get any of these dead or surviving critters out of your pool water—and keep them gone.
I’ll explain why worms are getting into your pool, why they’re not always a problem, and how to know when it’s time to take escalated measures—as well as some fairly easy and cost-effective hacks for keeping your pool worm-free.
Save the worm for the dancefloor, yeah?
Are Worms a Bad Thing?
There’s a big reason why I’m not just telling you to insecticide the you-know-what out of your backyard and consider the job well done. Worms in your yard are a good thing! They actually help increase the amount of air and water that gets into your soil, which is healthy for both the dirt and whatever landscaping you have rooted. Plus, they break down organic matter into food for soil and leave behind what are called “castings,” which is basically incredibly valuable, all-natural fertilizer.
Earthworms are basically micro-farmers. They help “turn” soil, which means they bring down organic matter like leaves from the top and mix it in with the soil below. If you have worms in your yard, that’s a pretty good sign you have healthy soil.
So no, these aren’t bad guys at all. The problem is only when these same good-guy worms end up in your pool and can’t survive.
Seriously: if you’ve got worms, don’t use insecticide. You’ll other be killing other beneficial critters like bees, ladybugs, spiders, and butterflies.
Worried about other, non-buggy intruders? If you don’t have a pool alarm yet, make sure to get one that is ASTM certified—this is not the kind of device that has any room for manufacturer error. I recommend the PoolWatch Certified ASTM Alarm. It’s loaded with patented features that immediately alarm you to the happenings around your pool, all while circumventing false alarms.
Why are Worms Getting Into My Pool?
Hey, these good guys aren’t trying to get into your pool. They love moisture, but not pure water. What they like more than anything else is dirt! And they have no urge to pull on sunglasses and drift in the sun on a pool floatie. The sun means dryness, and they detest—and often can’t survive—getting dry.
So why are they getting into your pool? The answer is pretty simple and very tragic: they fall. Although worms typically live most of their lives underground, they go where the dirty moisture is. After a heavy rain when the uppermost layer of soil is drenched with water, they’re more likely to travel up through the ground and take a look around at the world as we know it.
It’s during this fairly infrequent excursion that worms can fall into your pool. They have a pretty terrible sense of direction. Can’t blame them too much for that.
How Many Worms is Too Many?
It’s pretty normal to find a few worms in your pool after a heavy rain, but if a few worms becomes a lot of worms, and a heavy rain becomes a lot of heavy rains, I suggest some of the more escalated methods of this next section.
Many of them have other great benefits, too. For example, if you decide to install a solar cover, your pool water will also be kept significantly warmer, and you’ll have to skim out less debris on a daily basis. And if you decide to space out your landscaping further from the perimeter of your pool, you’re also helping to keep wasps, bees, and dragonflies out of your pool.
Looking to extend the swim season as much as you can, so that you can get the most fun for your buck? A heat pump is the answer for you—but you’ll want a powerful unit that will save you on your energy bill every month, like the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.”
How to Get Rid of Worms in Your Pool—And Keep Them Out
Ready to get those worms out of your pool? You mean, you don’t want to not feel these slimy guys next time you cannonball? Okay, okay. I don’t blame you.
Here are five methods for getting rid of worms in your pool and preventing future, ah, surprises. Depending on the severity of your worm problem, I suggest you start with the easier fixes in the beginning. They get more serious as the list goes on.
But remember: no insecticide!
Method 1: Fishing for Worms!
This method is totally free and noninvasive to your landscaping, your pool, and your backyard. The downside is that it requires care after every heavy rain. Here it is: look for worms. After a particularly large storm, walk around the perimeter of your pool. Any good guys squirming toward your pool? Gently move them back to the place where they thrive: soil. Place them on top of the dirt and allow them to make their way back down.
It’s essential to make the journey out to your pool as soon as possible after a heavy rain, especially if it’s starting to look sunny out. Not only is it easier to move debris such as leaves and twigs off of your pool’s deck before they stick to the ground, but it can also save a few wormy lives. The worms that are on your deck are likely to either find their way into your pool or dry up in the hot sun.
Method 2: Use Crushed Limestone
Crushed limestone can be a helpful, non-invasive, and non-harmful tool to keep worms out of your pool. Simply add some to the soil bordering the worm’s happy place and your pool area. Limestone naturally increases the pH of the soil where it’s placed, which will keep worms from squirming over the perimeter of their home and into your pool. In case you didn’t pick up on this, worms detest an increased pH. It won’t harm them, but it’ll irk them enough that they’ll avoid any area you sprinkle with limestone.
Be careful with how much limestone you use. If you experience heavy rains, it could run into your pool. It’ll increase the pH of your water just like it increases the pH of soil—and that’ll throw your chemical balance off. You also don’t want rains to wash limestone into the poor wormy worm’s habitat.
Remember, they’re the good guys. You don’t want to drive them out.
Method 3: Install a Solar Cover
Installing a solar cover will solve a few different problems—before you may even know you have them. First of all, it’ll keep big pieces of debris out of your pool, which should lengthen the life of your sanitizer and keep costs on your chemicals low, as well as minimize the elbow grease necessary to get all that gunk out of your pool.
Second of all, it’ll use the heat of the sun to keep your water warmer. This will help take strain off of your electric heat pump, if you have one, and cut down on energy costs (if you don’t have one yet, you should. Electric heat pumps are the most efficient and convenient way to heat your pool. By far.)
You’ll also be keeping unwanted critters out of your pool. This includes worms as well as mosquitos, wasps, bees, and even small creatures like mice.
Method 4: Elevate Your Pool Deck
Do you have a very even pool deck, in relationship to the ground around it? That’s usually a pretty good thing for your equipment. But if your worm problem is getting severe, and if it’s possible, consider elevating your pool deck just a little bit.
This can be done by even adding a border or bricks or a small fence around your pool, or just adding some dirt to create a mound under your deck. It’s incredibly difficult for worms to climb even small inclines.
Method 5: Space Out Your Landscaping
This is the most escalated method, and is for pool owners who are scratching their heads over their worm problem—but also for any other insect problem, such as too many bees, wasps, and dragonflies hovering around your pool. If you’re at the end of your rope, it’s time to rethink your landscaping.
The further your landscaping is from your pool, the harder it is for worms and other insects to find their way over to your next pool party. Consider moving your soil, shrubbery, and any other vegetation over to create some healthy distance between the natural ecosystem of your backyard and your swimming pool.
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Do the Worm!
Whether your worm problem was large or small, you just took some fairly simple (if not only easy) measures to get those squiggly critters out of your pool—and keep them gone. I have a hunch you’re going to like diving into your sparkling clean pool all the more without worrying about worms in your hair. Enjoy.