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Thread: The Noob vs. The Springtails

  1. #1
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    Angry The Noob vs. The Springtails

    Hi everyone,

    I am a new pool owner (my wife and I bought the house in SoCal about six months ago) and this led me to make one of the daftest decisions I've ever made! Towards the end of last year, I had the bright idea to put grass along one edge of the pool instead of the wood chips and weeds that were there when we bought the place. The grass area is only about 8 feet wide, and runs along the length of one side of the pool; I laid the sod myself and was chuffed to bits with a job well done.

    My first realization that this was probably a mistake when I came to mow the grass a few weeks later and then had to spend an hour skimming grass out of the pool. But this is a separate issue.

    And then, a few weeks after that, I returned home from work to find the surface of a fairly large part of the pool covered in what looked like dirt particles, which I found to be odd. Then, upon closer inspection, the dirt particles turned out to be very, very tiny black bugs that were moving around on the surface of the water (I'm sure there are many of you reading this and smiling a knowing smile at this point!). Slightly shocked by this, I grabbed my net and began skimming them off the water. Being totally unprepared for these things, all I had was a standard leaf net, the holes of which were too large to actually keep the bugs in it so, every time it went back into the water, all of the bugs I'd caught were simply released again.

    I then developed an extremely laborious process of sweeping the net through the water once, then taking it a fair distance away from the pool and hosing it down to get rid of the bugs. I then returned to the pool and did another sweep, and so on. To describe this is extremely tedious really isn't doing it justice. ;-) It worked, but the next day the bugs were back (not to mention how many dead ones were now lining the bottom of the pool). I had no idea what they were, so I did some research and the internet informed me that they are called Springtails and are very common if you have grass next to your pool.

    A bit more research suggested a few ways to get rid of them. Squirting a weak dish-soap mixture was one suggestion to break the cohesion of the surface of the water, which would then make them all drown. That suggestion seemed to be just kicking the can down the road, so I delved deeper. A more logical solution was to treat the grass with bug killer. A specific brand was mentioned, but my local Home Depot didn't carry it, so I chose a similar one that said it did the same job. I gave the grass a good soaking with the stuff and the next day there was less of them on the water, and they all seemed to be dead. I used my patented scoop-and-spray method with my standard leaf net to get as many of them out of the pool as I could, and the following day hardly any were present.

    Great, I thought! Problem solved. And then, 5 days later, the little critters were back. I repeated the spraying of the lawn, and the scooping of the pool. And I have now ordered a silt net!

    So, after a long and rambling story, my question is this: Is there a way to permanently get rid of them (some sort of lawn treatment perhaps), or is this a problem I'll have for as long as the grass is there?

    My wife and I are seriously considering removing the grass if there's no way of stopping the Springtails, so any suggestions are very welcome. Oh, the grass is separated from the edge of the pool by a row of decorative bricks - would moving the grass edge back a couple of feet help the situation?

    Thanks in advance for any help,
    Matt.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Noob vs. The Springtails

    I can't tell you how to get rid of the bugs, (hopefully someone else will know) but I can tell you do NOT use dishwashing liquid. Unless you want a pool full of suds!! It doesn't take much agitation to create lots and lots of bubbles! Then, you'll have to figure out how to remove bubbles and bugs!

    Welcome to the forum, by the way!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Noob vs. The Springtails

    A general rule for pool is, the closer vegetation is to the pool, the more maintenance the pool will require. Grass next the pool looks nice, but is high maintenance.

    Operating your pump and filter, and bringing your chlorine up will tend to reduce the population. Using a cheap and foamy algaecide will reduce, and may eliminate the population. And, unlike dish soap, cheap algaecide is broken down by chlorine -- in fact, you have to watch your chlorine levels, because adding cheap algaecide will cause chlorine to drop.

    Longer term, a deck around the pool will generally lower maintenance. Meanwhile, you'll probably need a more with a pick-up bag.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Noob vs. The Springtails

    Hi, and thanks!

    That was my other concern about the dish-soap idea! Glad I avoided it, or I might have ended up with a pool full of very clean Springtails and lots of bubbles!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Noob vs. The Springtails

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like the grass will need to go (nice as it looks). That will also cure the grass-in-the-pool-after-mowing problem.

    Are there any other vegetation tips that I should know? Such as certain plants/flowers bringing more problems than others?

    Thanks again for your help!

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