If you have a swimming pool, summertime might mean two things: it’s time to open up the pool, and mosquitoes will be out in full force! For several reasons, mosquitoes are attracted to swimming pools and you might have issues with them taking up residence in yours.
You can easily keep mosquitoes out of your pool by targeting and removing mosquito larvae, setting traps, using repellents, maintaining the correct pH, keeping your pumps and filtration systems working, cleaning your pool, covering the pool, and removing any standing water around the pool.
We’ll break down why you’re finding mosquitoes in your pool, some easy tips on how to prevent them, and why you don’t want them in your swimming pool.
Why Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Swimming Pools
To keep mosquitoes out of your swimming pool, the first step is to understand why they are attracted to your pool in the first place.
This will help you fight off the mosquito populations that are calling your pool home and using it as a breeding ground.
Mosquito Eggs And Larva Are Aquatic
There are several different species of mosquitoes, but for the sake of this article, we’ll treat them all pretty much the same.
All species of mosquitoes lay eggs in water that will hatch into larvae or “wigglers”, then turn into pupae before turning into adult mosquitoes. This only takes a couple of weeks (or less!) depending on the water temperatures.
Both the eggs and wigglers need to be in the water to survive and grow into adult mosquitoes. This means that female adult mosquitoes will head to the water to lay their eggs and grow the next generation of these blood-sucking pests.
This means that without taking some proper precautions, mosquitoes will turn your pool into a giant incubator, hatching hundreds (if not thousands) of new mosquitoes to pester you and your family and friends!
Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Shade
Mosquitoes like to be close to water, but adult mosquitoes need to live in dry places on land. For them, you might have plenty of places for mosquitoes to hang out during the day when they aren’t feeding.
Shade is important during the day and pools likely have a large number of areas around where they might be hanging out.
Tables, shade umbrellas, toy chests, trees, and shade cast by the house might all be places that mosquitoes will use for shelter during the day.
The People Swimming In The Pools Make Easy Meals For Mosquitoes
Not only do pools offer a great breeding ground and places to use for shelter, but mosquitoes will often find easy meals with people using swimming pools.
Interestingly, only female mosquitoes drink blood to develop eggs, while the males stick to a vegan diet of nectar and fruit juices.
This means that to breed mosquitoes need access to blood to create eggs, and pools offer a lot of surface area for them to target and find a meal to produce eggs.
In addition to people being an easy target to feed on, pools will attract all sorts of other animals and pets that female mosquitoes can make an easy meal out of.
9 Easy Tips To Keep Mosquitoes Out Of Your Pool
If summer has just started and the mosquitoes have begun calling your pool their own, it’s time to break out these tips to help keep them away.
These 9 tips are all straightforward and inexpensive to implement – so you can get started a bit easier.
Remember, keeping mosquitoes away from your pool involves combatting the instinct of mosquitoes being drawn to water and will probably involve multiple angles of attack to get to the root of the problem.
Combining some or all of these tips will give you your best odds of fully enjoying a mosquito-free pool this summer.
Use Larvicidal Chemicals To Stop Mosquito Larvae
If you’ve got a pool and it has fallen out of use and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, treating those eggs and larva in the pool should be your first step.
The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends using one of two possible options to take care of mosquitoes in abandoned pools that have a large population of mosquitoes using them: a bacteria called Bti, and a chemical called methoprene.
Both of these options are safe for people and pets and widely available and sold as an insecticide. An easy option would be to use mosquito “dunks” which are pre-portioned disks containing a larvicide and will take care of mosquitoes for 30 days.
Summit Responsible Solutions Dunks are an inexpensive option to use. They come in a pack of 6 and will treat 100 sq feet of surface area per disk. The active ingredient in these disks is bti, a bacteria which is toxic only to mosquito larvae.
Mosquito dunks are non-toxic to fish, humans, and pets. They are approved for organic gardening, making them a great option for all-around use.
Set Bug Traps To Capture Mosquitoes
Bug traps are a great option to passively control adult mosquitoes that are flying around in a certain area, and will capture them and prevent them from using the pool in the future.
Most bug traps will rely on some combination of UV lights, CO2 generation, and smells to attract the bugs to them. From there they’ll use electricity to fry the bugs, fan to suck them in and prevent them from flying, and/or stickiness to get them stuck.
All these different methods work great and have situations they excel in while being outperformed in other situations.
For general use near your pool to control mosquito populations, I recommend a traditional style bug zapper and light. This GOOTOP mosquito zapper is an excellent option that will meet your poolside needs.
Just make sure the bug trap you choose is rated for outdoor use and is properly secured. Make sure it doesn’t fall and break, which can be a dangerous mess to clean up.
Use Repellents That Mosquitoes Can’t Stand
Traps are designed to attract mosquitoes to them, while repellents are on the opposite side of the spectrum and give mosquitoes a reason to stay away.
Most mosquito repellents work by overwhelming a mosquito’s sense of smell or covering up the smells that they rely on to identify food sources.
Bug sprays use DEET or similar chemicals to interfere with a mosquito’s antenna, essentially causing signals to get jammed. Other smells can be used that will overpower a mosquito’s senses and work quite well.
Here’s our full article covering the scents that mosquitoes hate, but to quickly recap, the scents are:
- Peppermint oil
- Geranium oil
- Cinnamon bark oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Citronella oil
- Pine oil
All of these scents are great passive scents and can be used in a variety of ways to keep the mosquitoes away from your swimming pool.
There are DEET-free sprays designed to target mosquitoes that work well to keep them away They are safe and can be sprayed around the pool to keep mosquitoes away.
Make Sure Your Pool Filtration Can Deal With Mosquitoes
Chlorine alone will not stop eggs and larva from growing, which is why it is important to rely on other pieces of equipment like filters to help to prevent mosquitoes.
Part of what attracts mosquitoes to a body of water is if the water is standing water. Mosquito eggs and larva need still water to grow and develop, and swimming pools are pretty slow-moving water.
To help combat this, make sure that your filter is clean and functioning properly to cycle water through and catch any foreign materials. A clogged filter will not work well and pulls water through slowly, which can give eggs and larva more time to grow out in the water.
Filters will also keep the pool clean. Little bits of debris can be used for hiding spots while the larvae cling to them. A good filter will not keep everything out of the pool, but it’ll help and cut down on the amount of additional work you’ll need to put in.
Routinely Check And Clean Your Pool Pumps
Pumps are a major part of the filtration system and are a key part of keeping a healthy and functional swimming pool, which is important to keep mosquitoes out.
A maintained, properly sized pump will move enough water to filter out most small bits of debris and stuff that falls in the pool and keep it clean and healthy.
Without the pump working at the right rate, the rest of the equipment in the pool (including the inlet, outlet, and filter itself) will all suffer. You should check the filter at least once a year at the beginning of the season and periodically throughout for best results.
Pumps will also determine how frequently the water goes through the heater and any chemical treatment which will give you your best chances of keeping a happy and healthy pool.
Maintain A Proper pH To Keep Mosquitoes Out
The Public Health Services of Los Angeles County recommends keeping pH between 7.2-7.8 as a way to keep mosquito breeding down.
The pH alone will make a minor difference in preventing mosquito breeding, as the eggs are still able to develop in this range, but other factors rely on pH.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to keep pH at this level is that pool equipment performs best and will last the longest in this water. Properly functioning equipment is key to keeping mosquitoes away and preventing any mosquito problems from becoming worse.
Higher pH also means that any chemical (including chlorine) will not work like it should. This can further exacerbate your mosquito problems.
Not only will mosquitoes be able to take over in a high pH pool, but other pathogens will be able to thrive and can cause other problems down the road. Proper chemical balances and maintaining equipment are key to keeping a healthy pool and limiting any possible issues.
Clean Pools = No Mosquitoes!
A clean pool is much more likely to be free of mosquitoes than a dirty pool. Frequently skimming any leaves, twigs, and anything else that falls in there will prevent any hiding places that mosquitoes might be using.
The Department of Environmental Health and Quality for San Diego County mentions that keeping a clean pool is the most important step to preventing mosquitoes from breeding and taking over your pool.
Both the equipment involved in keeping the pool clean and the physical labor of removing anything that the filters don’t get are important to keep an egg and larva-free environment.
Similarly, using chemical cleaners (primarily chlorine) will help remove the very small bacteria clean that the mosquitoes might pick up and pass on when they bite their hosts.
Abandoned pools, also known as green pools, are the most abundant source of water that mosquitoes can use for breeding in an urban environment. You’ll want to avoid this fate for your pool.
If you are planning to discontinue pool usage for the long term and do not want to keep up on maintenance, then draining it is another way to keep it clean and eliminate a location for mosquitoes to use.
A Pool Cover Can Stop Mosquitoes
If the mosquitoes do not know the water is there, then they won’t be able to use it. That is the reason that a well-fitted pool cover is one of the easiest tools to use for mosquito prevention.
Pool covers are a great tool because you likely already have one for your pool, and putting it on the pool when not in use is a great way to combat mosquito breeding.
On top of physically keeping mosquitoes out, pool covers have other benefits. They will keep pools clean from anything that would otherwise fall into the pool. This is also helpful to keep mosquitoes from breeding.
Pool covers will keep away most other animals that might be attracted to your pool and therefore attract mosquitoes.
Other general benefits of using a pool cover include reduced evaporation, reduced chemical usage, and energy savings which are all just an additional plus to being useful against mosquitoes.
Take Care Of Standing Water Near The Pool Mosquitoes Might Be Using
Mosquitoes might not be attracted to your pool itself, but to the standing puddles of water around the pool. With people splashing, and the amount of water that’ll drip off when you get in or out of the pool, there are plenty of ways for water to build up.
Uneven spots in the walkway around the pool and on the ground offer spots for water to flow down and offer a private breeding spot for mosquitoes. It only takes a half inch of water for one female mosquito to turn into hundreds.
Similarly, the equipment around the pool can hold water, including the pool cover after it rains. Using a squeegee or towel to clean up puddles can greatly reduce the amount of real estate that mosquitoes have for breeding and can cut down on the populations near your house.
If you do find them near your home, check out our article on the best ways to keep mosquitoes out of your house for good!
That’s A Wrap!
Following these tips will help you take care of any mosquitoes that may be using your pool more than you are!
Now, for a quick recap of what we covered:
You can keep mosquitoes out of your pool by:
- Targeting and removing mosquito larvae
- Setting traps
- Using repellents
- Using proper pool filtration
- Maintaining the correct pool pH
- Keeping your pumps working
- Keeping your pool clean
- Covering the pool
- Removing any standing water around the pool.
And remember, if these tips don’t fully fix the problem, you can find a pest expert near you to help you deal with the problem and provide solutions for the future. But we hope that you try these tips first and find success with them!
Becker, N., Petrič, D., Zgomba, M., Boase, C., Madon, M. B., Dahl, C., & Kaiser, A. (2020). Mosquitoes: Identification, ecology and Control. Springer Nature Switzerland.
Vinogradova, E. B. (2000). Culex pipiens pipiens mosquitoes: Taxonomy, distribution, ecology, physiology, genetic, applied importance and control. Pensoft.
Washburn, J. O. (1995). Regulatory factors affecting larval mosquito populations in container and pool habitats: implications for biological control. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association-Mosquito News, 11(2), 279-283.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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