Let’s talk about how to get rid of mosquito larvae in a pool. There are 7.3 million homes in Florida and 1.1 million of them have pools. The only thing more common than pools in Florida is probably mosquitos. Mosquitoes are the most common pest to plague Southwest Florida and its residents, creating all sorts of issues for us to deal with to keep our outdoor spaces comfortable and safe.
A swimming pool is a luxury to have in our subtropical climate, but they aren’t without their challenges when faced up against Florida wildlife and insects. Fortunately, many pools in Florida are inside of a screened-in lanai, which helps protect them. But they are not 100% pest proof and for those pools out in the open, steps must be taken to prevent the breeding of adult mosquitoes.
What are mosquito larvae?
Mosquito larvae are mosquitoes at the stage of their life after they have developed from an egg, but before they change into their full adult form. Mosquito eggs are ready to hatch anywhere from few days to several months after they are laid. It typically takes 7-10 days for a mosquito egg to transform from egg to larvae to adult mosquito.
Mosquito larvae live in pools of water. They are often referred to as “wrigglers.” They are aquatic, meaning they must live in water to survive until they become adult mosquitoes. They have a large head and thorax and a wormlike abdomen. They typically hang just below the surface of the water. They breathe air through tubes that come off of their abdomen. When the water is disturbed, they wriggle downward, hence the name “wriggles.”
What attracts mosquitos to swimming pools?
Any standing water equates to a viable breeding ground for mosquitoes. During the seasons when your pool gets heavy use, you probably won’t find mosquitoes breeding there. But you could find them to be an issue in early spring when you may not be using or maintaining the pool as much as you do in the summer months and they are in a heavy breeding season.
When a pool is unused and less or totally unmaintained, it attracts all sorts of insects. If debris of any kind is able to fall into the pool, this creates a more ideal breeding area for mosquitos. Mosquito eggs can be laid anywhere there is standing water, but larvae cannot survive without a food source. Mosquito larvae eat organic matter like algae and plant debris.
Other water features in a pool area may be prone to mosquito breeding such as a fountain that is turned off during the off season and has standing water left in it. Another source of stagnant water around pools that mosquitoes enjoy is things like pool toys left with standing water in them. A smaller body of water like a pool toy will be the first place mosquitoes are attracted to.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to a pool cover with standing water on top of it. These small pools of water tend to be very warm and make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Swimming pool covers that are kept clean and dry won’t be attractive to mosquitoes and pools that are constantly maintained will probably contain too much chlorine for mosquitoes to breed there. Pools with a good chemical balance will likely not end up with a mosquito problem.
How mosquito larvae get in your pool?
In short, an unused and unmaintained pool will easily attract mosquitoes for breeding. Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the inner walls or anything containing water. If a mosquito chooses your pool to lay eggs, the eggs stick like glue to the sides of your pool. Should some of the water evaporate or be removed, the eggs can survive drying out for up to 8 months. They can even survive extreme cold. Once the eggs hatch in a matter of days, assuming the right conditions, the mosquito larvae will live at the surface of your pool water, probably close to the walls.
Why are mosquito larvae a problem?
When an adult female mosquito lays eggs, she lays several hundred at a time. During her adult stage of life, she will lay law several thousand eggs. Without preventive measures to reduce the number of places mosquitos have to lay eggs in your outdoor spaces, you will have a mosquito infestation. Not only are mosquitoes pesky and frustrating to have around your home, but they also carry illnesses that are harmful to humans. Mosquito bites can transmit Illnesses like West Nile virus, dengue fever, and zika virus, just to name a few. This means the threat they pose goes beyond the itchy bites and into more serious territory.
Can mosquitos breed in salt water pools?
Mosquitoes can breed in fresh water, salt water, and brackish water. Some species of mosquitoes prefer salt water for breeding. Some species may lay eggs in salt water but the eggs may not hatch. Some studies have been done but not extensively. It is evident that chlorine levels have more of an effect on mosquito breeding than salt water does.
Can you see mosquito larvae in your pool?
Yes, mosquito larvae are visible in the water. Mosquito larvae may be as large as about 5 mm which means they are definitely large enough to be clearly visible in water. The larger ones will be closer to the water’s surface but are highly sensitive and will quickly submerge themselves for protection if they sense a disturbance.
Is it safe to swim in a pool with mosquito larvae?
Mosquito larvae themselves are not dangerous at all. They cannot bite you or infect you in any way. The danger with mosquito larvae comes from allowing them to mature into adult mosquitoes that are able to bite and spread illness.
How to get rid of mosquito larvae in your pool for good
Getting rid of mosquitos larvae in your pool is actually probably easier than getting rid of them in other areas of your outdoor spaces. There are a few steps, but they are simple and effective.
Use a skimmer to remove larvae and debris
The first step is to use your pool skimmer to remove large debris as well as the larvae floating in the pool. If your pool pump is currently on, you’ll want to turn it off before starting this process. You’ll likely be removing other insects at the same time, such as water bugs, backswimmers, and water boatman bugs. Make sure that any mosquito larvae that you remove during this process are dumped somewhere that you can pour bleach over them. Use something like a bucket to contain them and then dispose of the contents safely. Remember that mosquito eggs can survive being dried up for up to 8 months so they must be killed in order to prevent them from later developing.
Clean your pool
Use your pool vacuum or brushes to remove algae and eggs from the walls of your pool. Eggs stick like glue to whatever they are laid on, so it may take some scrubbing to remove them. Mosquito eggs look like black dirt so scrub vigorously on any areas that look like they are dirty. Use a swimming pool cleaning solution to clean the pool well and don’t forget to clean the pool drains as well. The pool drains are probably the most likely to have a build of debris and a concentration of mosquito larvae.
Do a pool shock to kill the remaining eggs and larvae
Use a pool shock to kill any, eggs, larvae, algae, or bacteria that you may have missed. Sometimes chlorine in moderate amounts won’t kill mosquito eggs and larvae on its own. A generous amount of chlorine will need to be added in order to kill unseen eggs. Add 1 ounce of chlorine for everyone 1000 gallons of pool water. This will increase the PPM level to 7, which will kill the mosquito larvae, eggs, and any algae left for new larvae to potentially feed on.
Caution: do not swim in your pool for 48 to 50 hours after a pool shock. This allows time for the chlorine to reach a normal and safe level again. Use a pH level meter to test the PPM levels to determine if the water is safe to swim in before getting into the pool.
Turn on the pool pump and filter to circulate water
After those steps to rid your pool of mosquito eggs and larvae, you’ll want to take steps to prevent them from returning. Turn on your pool pump and filter immediately after completing the steps above. Mosquitos will not lay eggs in running water so it’s important to keep your pool water circulating. Also, make sure there is no clogging in your pool’s drainage system.
Have a barrier treatment applied in your outdoor spaces
Have your outdoor areas around your pool treated regularly for mosquitos. This drastically reduces the likelihood of adult mosquitos laying eggs anywhere in your outdoor areas and especially in your pool. BuzzOFF of SWFL offers a barrier treatment that is applied every 2 to 4 weeks in order to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Barrier treatments are a cost-effective way to kill and prevent mosquito reinfestations in your outdoor areas. They are performed after a thorough inspection of breeding and harborage areas in the yard and a customized plan is created to work best for your property.
A surface spray treatment is applied and then a mosquito fogger is used to jet fog target areas for best results. For more information, visit our website.
Have a mosquito misting system installed
A mosquito misting system is a more long-term solution to keeping mosquitoes out of your outdoor areas. Mosquito misting systems have been used for several decades in commercial settings and have transitioned to being used residentially to for pests like mosquitoes. Imagine an irrigation system that sprays a natural pesticide on a regularly scheduled basis. Because Southwest Florida is a subtropical climate and has longer seasons of warm temperatures, mosquitoes are a real problem for us. Having a long-term solution that requires less attention is the most sustainable approach to mosquito prevention on your property.
Most of the appeal of SWFL is our ability to spend so much time outdoors for more months out of the year, but mosquitos can put a stop to that around your home because they are so frustrating and also can be dangerous to our health. Mosquito misting systems are a discrete and reliable way to keep your yard free of pesky mosquitoes without having to continuously attend to the issue. This is one of the best ways to attain long-lasting results. To find out more, check out the mosquito misting systems page on our website.
Don’t overwater your yard and flower beds around your pool
One very important thing you can do to prevent mosquito breeding and attracting mosquitoes to your pool and other outdoor areas is to not overwater your yard and landscaping. Overwater causes water to pool on the ground’s surface, which creates stagnant water and attracts mosquitoes.
Be careful by conservatively watering your yard and flowerbeds or water for shorter periods of time spread out throughout the day to allow the water time to soak into the ground before watering again.
Maintain a clean pool and pool area year round
By far, the most effective way to keep mosquito eggs and larvae out of your pool is to keep a clean pool are read around your pool. Maintenance in your yard and outdoor areas is key to reducing insect populations. Keep your yard free of organic debris piles and other sources of standing water. Read our blog post about creating a mosquito free backyard for lots of tips to help you create and maintain comfort in your outdoor areas.
If your kids have pool toys that aren’t being used, be sure to dump out any standing water and store them where rain cannot be collected in them. Pool owners should maintain their pool enclosures and lanai screens to block the majority of mosquitoes from being able to enter. You can also install mosquito traps inside of your pool enclosure in order to trap any that are able to get through. Any water source on your property should be only running water such as a fountain. Standing fish ponds or things like bird baths are a major attraction for mosquitos breeding and will surely result in a growing mosquito population in your yard.
Even if you don’t use your pool year round, you should keep a regular maintenance schedule, including checking chlorine levels regularly. Always keep debris out of your pool keep water circulating, and don’t allow water to become stagnant and dirty.