When you purchased a house with an inground pool or decided to add a pool to your property after the fact, you knew it would require maintenance. However, you probably weren’t prepared for unwanted slimy visitors gracing their presence on the outskirts of your pool and in the water—worms!
Since worms are everywhere, there isn’t a foolproof method to eliminate them. However, I’ll walk you through many great strategies for how you can take back your swimming pool by reducing—and, in many cases, practically eliminating—the number of worms that visit it.
Why are Worms a Problem?
First of all, worms aren’t a problem out in nature; they play a vital role in keeping plants healthy. Slithering around underground, they help air and nutrients reach roots, much like farmers do when they till the land.
They also eat organic matter, leaving behind droppings that are an excellent fertilizer.
That said, you understandably aren’t looking for swimming companions in the form of dead worms in your pool. And as you may already know, worms typically cause the biggest headaches for pool owners in the spring and fall.
Worms thrive in cool weather, and rain encourages them out of the ground. It’s a somewhat ironic fact, given that wet weather is often the death of worms, as your pool well knows.
Worms use receptors instead of eyes to make their way around the world. Unfortunately, these receptors are more sensitive to telling a worm when it’s light or dark outside rather than whether there’s a dangerous body of water lurking in front of them.
Needless to say, the result of their poor directional skills is why you’re here.
Strategies for Keeping Worms Away from Your Pool
There are a lot of unwanted debris and insects that can get into your pool, but I think we can all agree that worms top the list as the grossest—you usually can’t remove them with a quick swipe of your skimmer and their slimy, lifeless bodies slip through fingers if you try to grab them.
Although the occasional worm might make its way into your pool if the conditions are right, the strategies I’m about to share will help you keep your swimming water nearly worm-proof.
Pull Out Your Pool Cover
It’s a hassle, I know. However, if you wake up morning after morning to a pool full of worms, using a pool cover is one of the best solutions.
The good news is that you might find a happy medium with when to use your pool cover. For example, if you notice that worms tend to drown in your pool when it rains, aim only to use the cover before a storm.
Keep an eye out for worm patterns with temperatures, too. The cooler the temperature, the higher the chance worms will take a dunk in your water.
You can also consider purchasing a pool cover that’s lighter weight—heavy winter covers are rarely more effective at keeping out worms than lightweight ones.
Monitor Your Pool After a Storm
If the pool cover method doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, you can try the more hands-on approach of monitoring your pool for worms after a storm. Admittedly, this isn’t a good fit for everyone—it requires you to be home and still involves some muscle work.
Essentially, the way this works is you’d visit your pool after a storm to see if worms are gracing it with their presence. If so, you can toss on a glove and pick the worms off your pool’s deck, placing them back in the grass far from your pool.
If the thought makes you squeamish, you could also try sweeping them off your deck. The key takeaway here is to catch the worms before they enter your pool and before the sun comes out, baking them into the perimeter of your pool.
Redo Your Landscape
The effectiveness of redoing your landscape depends greatly on how you have your pool set up. For example, if you have a small amount of space between where the deck of your inground pool ends and your lawn starts, there’s little you can do.
However, this method is excellent if you have ten or even twenty feet of concrete or wood space between your pool and yard. In that case, the worms are most likely coming from potted plants you have near your pool.
Simply move the pots farther away from the water (20 feet is best). That way, the worms would have to travel a distance that’s likely too far for them to reach your swimming area.
Create a Platform
Inground pools with decks that are even with the ground are like an open invitation for worms. Therefore, if you have a significant worm problem and want a near-flawless, permanent fix, consider creating a ledge around your pool deck.
If you have a concrete deck, this means adding concrete around the edge, forming a physical barrier for the worms. The same goes for using wood for wooden decks.
The good news is you don’t need to create a huge ledge—an inch or two is plenty to keep worms away, as they’re poor climbers.
Limestone is a naturally occurring rock that people use for purifying water and treating their soil. Applying crushed limestone in the dirt around your pool is an excellent way to keep worms out of the water.
The way it works is limestone increases soil’s pH level to around 7.5 to 8. Worms prefer a neutral pH level (pH of 7), so they’ll head in the opposite direction of your pool when they surface.
However, as with so many good things, there’s a downside to this—limestone isn’t suitable for pool water.
Therefore, if you decide to try the limestone method, it’s essential to check your pool’s pH balance regularly, as it could throw off the balance of the treatments you use in it.
Insecticide: The Last Resort
It likely comes as no surprise to you that there are insecticides that work on earthworms. As a disclaimer, I don’t recommend this option. Like limestone, it can seep into your pool water, not to mention insecticide’s negative impact on the environment.
You’ll need to follow the instructions on the insecticide you buy, but usually, it works by spraying the grass around your pool.
Be aware that it will also likely kill any insects in the area too. If you have pets or young children, make sure to read the bottle to know how long you need to wait before they can walk on the grass.
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Since you’re likely reading this after you already found worms in your pool, here’s a silver lining—ground worms won’t damage your pool. Yes, they’re gross. And yes, they’re a pain to remove from your pool once they’re there, but the worms themselves won’t negatively impact you or your pool water.
I hope the ideas here help to give you peace of mind. Of course, the “best” approach to keeping worms out of a swimming pool depends on the individual, but the result is the same—you’ll get to enjoy clean water without having to worry about encountering a slimy dead worm as you’re swimming.
Questions? Let me know.