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Thread: Springtails? Water fleas?

  1. #1
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    Default Springtails? Water fleas?

    Hi
    Really enjoy lurking on this site, and have learned tons of info. Am using the BBB method this year and had a very successful (from icky black to clear in about 5 days and cheap!) opening. Thanks for all the helpful information.

    Here's my current dilemma. There are tons of little black bugs living just above the waterline of our crystal clear pool. They look like fleas, and seem to spend their time hopping quickly back and forth from the side of the pool onto the water. Did some online searching, and I am guessing they are springtails (althought these are black, and most other people say theirs are gray or brown). A suggestion from another site said to spray them with a dilute (3T in 3 cups) solution of Dawn dishwashing solution, that it would immediately kill them by changing the surface tension of the water, so that when they hopped on it, they would drown. Tried it, and it worked but it was very temporary. Within about 1-2 hours they were back with a vengeance.
    Do you have any suggestions? I understand (if they are springtails) that they are harmless, but they are gross, and making my very inviting pool uninviting! I am thinking that shocking the heck out of the pool wouldn't work, since they seem to hang out right above the waterline, and spend just a second on the water before hopping back onto the wall.

    Here are some vitals on my pool. Inground, ~22,000 gallons, vinyl liner, sand filter, BBB method, at last check chlorine(total) around 3ppm, pH 7.5, cyan A 30 ppm, hardness 280 ppm, alk 90 ppm, temp about 72. Also, we recently relandscaped around the pool (removed gravel and black plastic, replaced with new loam, grass, timbers and riverstone).

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions on getting rid of these pests!
    Chris

  2. #2
    mbar's Avatar
    mbar is offline Lifetime Member Whizbang Spinner mbar 3 stars mbar 3 stars mbar 3 stars mbar 3 stars
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    I usually get them in the spring to early summer. They eventually go away, they don't last too long & Yes, they are gross!
    Northeast PA
    16'x32' kidney 16K gal IG fiberglass pool; Bleach; Hayward 200lb sand filter; Hayward pump; 24hrs; Pf200; well; summer: none; winter: mesh; ; PF:7.5

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    aylad's Avatar
    aylad is offline SuperMod Emeritus Burfle Ringer aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    I get them in spring to early summer, too--I usually shock the pool and they go away.

    Janet

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    Springtails love moisture, so make sure any plant areas near the pool are not over watered. I have a problem with them in the Spring when it rains and the plant bed near the rear of the pool stays in the shade. Poof.. they all come out. Our landscaper told us about "Cyfluthrin" which is very effective in killing them (in the garden/grass not pool). Bifen Granules work as well, but not available in CA where I live. Again, I don't have first hand experience using them, just what I was told by someone in the landscape business. My problem goes away in May since the plant area gets full sun all day and dries up quick.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    Wanted to update...they are gone!!! Yipee

    Thank you for the replies and information that they were likely temporary. I was having nightmares of having beautiful clear pool but being too grossed out to enjoy it because of an in infestation of tiny little critters!

    We have gone from a cool wet spring to a warm dry summer and they have vanished without any help from me. Again thanks for the replies, this is a great resource.
    Chris

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    Chris,

    See the picture in this thread. Is this what your bugs looked like?
    http://www.poolforum.com/pf2/showthr...?t=1376&page=2

    Robert
    ~~
    22K gallon, IG, gunite, Sunstone Pearl White Pearl plaster, Aqualogic SWCG, Hayward Tristar pool pump, Pentair Whisperflo waterfall pump, Pentair Clean & Clear 320 cartridge filter, Sta-Rite heater.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Springtails? Water fleas?

    Robert

    My bugs looked darker (more black than tan). They were teensy like yours however, and they appeared to be shaped like a grain of rice (only about the size of a flea) I think they have antennae too, although I didn't dig out the magnifying glass...

    Ours have returned (although not as bad as earlier in the season) and seem to be related to how rainy it has been. We had a rainy spring, and they showed up. When it dried out, they disappeared, and now that it has been really damp again, they have returned, but in fewer numbers. I am hoping with a dry weekend in the forcast, they will pack up and leave again.

    I didn't do anything to get rid of them (aside from the occasional spraying with a dilute solution of dawn, which knocked them off the wall and into the water, where they promptly drowned due to the detergent effect on surface tension, however this reduction in number was only temporary). Mine hung out just above the water line, and would hop from the wall to the pool and back again. I probably should have tried shocking, but I couldn't believe it would kill them because they spent so little time in the water. However, that said, I have witnessed the miracle of bleach on our black pool this spring when we opened, so I would give it a shot if they are really putting a damper on your swimming. Ours were congregating mostly in a corner, and since it was early in the season (and cold and rain) they didn't effect our swimming much.
    Good luck
    Chris

    oh, and try googling for "springtails" and select images, there are lots of pictures of them there

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