This is the only guide that you’d ever need to keep your swimming pool free from ants.
In this guide, you’ll find out the reasons for clusters of ants in the pool and the damage that ants can cause to your swimming pool.
Plus, you’ll also learn 5 easy ways to get rid of ants in and around the pool.
Keep reading to know it all.
Clusters Of Ants In Pool – Why Does It Happen?
Ants can infest your pool anytime during the year. However, it’s the spring and summer months when the ants are most active.
It’s during these months, and after heavy rains, you’d observe clusters of ants in your pool.
You’ll find chunks of floating ants in the middle of the pool, near the skimmer and the pool return jets.
The worst part? That can also mean that ants have also infested the pool pumps and filters.
You’ll find out the reasons for clusters of ants in your pool in a minute, but first, let’s find out what types of ants infest swimming pools.
There are three types of ants that you’d find in your pool. These are the big head black carpenter ants, tiny red ants, which are also known as fire ants, and the flying ants with wings.
Flying ants with wings are sexually mature ants. Ants develop wings when they’re about to mate.
After mating, they shed their wings and establish a new colony where they can lay eggs.
That’s a different story altogether.
For now, let’s get into the reasons for these clumps of ants floating in your pool.
First Reason For Clusters Of Ants In Pool – Heavy Rains
Heavy rains can flood your pool with ants.
You must be wondering how?
Heavy rains destroy ants’ nests in your yard or garden, causing the flowing rainwater to carry these ants in the pool.
The most common ants that get washed away into a swimming pool are the fire ants.
Fire ants mostly nest outdoors. That makes their nest most vulnerable to destruction because of heavy rains.
Second Reason For Clusters Of Ants In Pool – The Summer Heat
Like all creatures, ants need water to survive.
And during the peak of the summer season and because of excessive dryness, your pool attracts ants.
Ants walk on the pool’s edges to access water, which causes many of them to fall into the pool.
Third Reason For Clusters Of Ants In Pool – Salty Pool Water
If you don’t maintain your pool well, the pool water gets salty.
Salty pool water is a clear indication of something wrong in your pool.
Studies confirm that salty water attracts ants more than sugar does.
So, why does pool water turn salty?
It’s because of the unhealthy levels of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in the pool water.
In layman’s terms, TDS collects all the solids and minerals dissolved in the pool water.
In a poorly maintained pool, the TDS level increases because of a rise in minerals, salts, metals, and organic matter.
And the most tangible indicator of high TDS levels is salty or bitter flavor in the pool water.
Along with attracting the ants, high TDS levels in water can put a big hole in your pocket by damaging the pool filtering, pump, and pool fixtures.
Fourth Reason For Clusters Of Ants In Pool – The Ant Mating Season
Now the fourth reason has a lot to do with flying ants with wings.
Flying ants, also known as alates, are sexually matured ants who leave their nests to mate and start a new colony.
Your pool attracts them because these flying ants need water to quench their thirst.
And the reflecting light from the pool’s water surface also attracts flying ants. It’s because flying ants are attracted to light.
During the spring and summer months, and sometimes after heavy rains, you’ll find swarms of flying ants buzzing around over your pool.
Another often overlooked reason for flying ants in the pool is the magnetic field from the electrical equipment, such as the pool pump, that keeps your pool running.
Every electrical equipment emits heat and sets off a magnetic field.
Not to mention, that also makes ants in electrical outlets pretty common if there’s ant infestation.
The antennae of these flying ants catch the magnetic field, and the electrical equipment draws these ants to themselves.
That’s also one of the reasons you’d find ants in electronic appliances like laptops and toasters.
These flying ants can severely damage the pool pump and the plastic fixtures by chewing on them. That can even short circuit the pool pump because electricity can easily pass through ants.
Fifth Reason For Clusters Of Ants In Pool – A Buggy Yard Or Garden
That’s one of the obvious reasons for not just ants in the pool but also for swimming pool bugs that float around and make swimming in your pool a terrible experience.
Also, if there are shrubs and bushes very close to the pool’s perimeter, then it makes it easy for the ants and bugs to get inside your pool.
These are the five reasons why you have ants in your pool.
But why do these ants form clusters?
Let’s find it out.
Why Ants Form Clusters In Pool?
Ants drown in water. But they can remain alive for days before dying.
Ants form clusters in water because it helps them develop a raft-like shape to get to shore.
That’s one of the surviving mechanisms of ants in water.
So, if you see clusters of ants in your pool, then some of these ants are dead. But some are alive for sure.
There are chances of getting some nasty bites if you choose to take a dip in a clump of ants floating around in your pool.
How To Get Rid Of Clusters Of Ants In A Pool?
Now that you know the reasons for clusters of ants in your pool getting rid of ants in the pool would be a cakewalk.
You’d attack the root causes of ants in the pool that’ll make your pool secure from ants in the long run.
To get rid of ants in the pool, begin by targeting the pool’s surrounding and the perimeter, which is your yard or garden, the pool deck, the pool electricals, and finally, the pool water.
That’s the most comprehensive approach to eliminate every hiding ant that can get into your pool.
Treat The Entire Yard To Get Rid Of Ants Living Around Your Pool
As you know by now, your yard or garden is the primary source of ants in the pool, especially when your pool is outdoors.
So, the first step to stop those floating balls or clusters of ants in the pool is to treat your yard or garden.
You can hire a pest controller to do it.
But if you want to do it by yourself, then you’d need some reliable products that kill ants effortlessly.
The first is Talstar PL insecticide granules.
Using insecticide granules is a reliable way of killing bugs outdoors. It’s highly effective in killing those bugs and pests that nest underneath the soil’s layer.
So, insecticide granules are lethal against pests like termites and ants.
They also kill larvae and bugs that live on soil like moth grubs, flea larvae, crickets, gnats, and aphids.
How do insecticide granules work?
You only have to sprinkle the granules on your yard or garden, especially in the damp, shaded, and moist places where ants make nests.
The insecticide granules sink into the soil and kill the bugs hiding and nesting below the soil’s surface.
So, places like grass lawns, mulch, soil beds, and the grass perimeter of the pool are the right places to scatter insecticide granules.
The best part of insecticide granules is that they’re a long-term solution against ants and termites in the outdoors.
Insecticide granules work for months.
You won’t have to use insecticide granules more than once in 6-9 months to keep ants and other bugs away from your yard or garden.
Talstar PL insecticide granules are safe for pets and children.
You can also choose Talstar Pro insecticide spray if you’re more comfortable spraying.
But please read the instructions on the labels before using the spray.
Another alternative is food-grade diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is one of those anti-pest powders that every homeowner must have.
Diatomaceous earth penetrates the exoskeleton of pests like ants, bed bugs, and cockroaches that come in contact with it deprives them of the moisture inside their body and kills them.
Like the granules, food-grade diatomaceous earth is also pet-friendly and safe for children.
Remember, a clean yard or garden reduces pest infestation of any type in your home.
Get Rid Of Ants In The Swimming Pool Pump, Filters, And Plumbing
The pool electricals like pumps and filters attract ants too. The magnetic field from the electrical equipment draws the flying ants to them.
Ants will build a mound in your pump, which will short the pump and cause permanent damage.
Ants can also get into the breaker box and cause all kinds of problems.
So, the first thing to check is if there’s an ant mound in and around your pump.
If there’s any, then take the pump out and clean the pump’s interior and exterior of all the dirt and ants in it.
You can use a vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer to get rid of the dirt and ants inside the pump.
Next, check for any ant mounds underneath the motor housing of the pump. Ants can get deep underneath the motor housing and can build nests.
Unless you remove the nests, the ants will damage the windings and wirings of the pump inside the pump.
Ants use organic debris and dirt to build the mounds. And the mounds hold moisture too.
That moisture will corrode the motors and metals inside the pump, which will permanently damage the pump.
So, it’s crucial not only to kill ants hidden inside the pump but also to kill ants and their mounds around the pump.
To do that, all you need is an ant spray like Ortho Home Defense Ant Killer For Lawn And Landscape.
Before you put the pump back in its place, ensure no ants are in the pump and on the pump mounting area.
Now, it’s time to focus on the pool filters, skimmers, and pool return jets.
Water flows through the pump via the pool return jets and the pool filter to maintain the water circulation.
So, if you’ve found ants in the pool pump, then there must be ants in the pool filter and return jets. It’s because the water circulates through them.
Check the return jets and pool filters for any ants stuck on them. The ants can chew through the return jets and pool filters, causing heavy damage.
Damaged pool filters and return jets can alter the pH levels of the pool water. That, in turn, will attract more ants to your pool.
If there are damages to the pool filter and return jets, then change them. If not, then clean both of them of any ants and debris stuck on them.
Reduce Salinity Of Pool Water To Deter Ants From Entering The Pool
Salty water attracts ants.
And if the TDS levels of the pool water are not healthy, then it’s a no-brainer that the pool water is salty.
To reduce the salt levels of pool water, you’d need a TDS meter.
The water balance kit will have instructions on measuring the TDS levels in the pool water and how to do water analysis.
Once you’ve got the results from the water balance kit, write it down, and get hold of a pool engineer to bring back the TDS levels of the pool to normal.
Get Rid Of Ants On Pool Deck
Your pool deck, either wooden or made of concrete, is a place from where ants can get into your pool.
It’s highly possible, especially when there are ant nests underneath the pool deck.
Pool decks can also develop cracks on them over time. Those cracks are the places where ants hide and build nests.
Check for those cracks. If there’s any, caulk those cracks with a good quality sealant.
Also, if there’s a gap between the pool deck and the soil underneath, sprinkle Talstar PL insecticide granules underneath the pool deck.
It’ll clean the ants hidden underneath the deck.
Other ways to eliminate ants on the pool deck area are using an anti-ant spray or diatomaceous earth.
Don’t forget to clean the deck of any dirt or debris and dead ants.
Keep Flying Ants Away From Your Pool
The above steps are good for keeping black-headed ants and tiny red fire ants away from your pool.
These ants invade your swimming pool from the ground.
But what about the flying ants that fly into your pool?
Fortunately, keeping flying ants away isn’t as complicated as keeping the black-headed ants and fire ants away from your pool.
There are three easy steps that you can do right away to protect your pool from invading flying ants.
First, get an anti-reflective safety pool cover.
Anti-reflective pool covers do not reflect sunlight. That deters your pool from attracting flying ants.
Second, mix peppermint essential oil in the pool water.
It’s a proven fact that peppermint essential oil has insecticidal properties that keep bugs and ants away.
Add some water and spray the mixture around your pool. Also, add 10-15 drops of undiluted peppermint essential oil in the pool water.
Also, spray some peppermint essential oil in the pool water.
That’s enough to keep all types of bugs and ants away from your pool. It’s safe to swim in a swimming pool with peppermint essential oil mixed in the pool water.
Third, install bug zappers around your pool, especially near the lights around the pool.
Light attracts flying ants, and the bug zappers around the pool will kill the flying ants and mosquitoes.
Always ensure that your pool is clean and free from any organic debris like twigs and leaves.
Clusters of ants in pools are a menace that is getting more common than ever before.
In this post, you’ve found the reasons why your pool attracts ants and why these ants form clusters.
You’ve also found out how to stop these ants from invading your pool.
Here are the steps to keep your pool ant-free, forever –
- Get rid of ants in your yard and garden around the pool.
- Get rid of ants in the swimming pool accessories like the pump, motor, filters, and return jets.
- Reduce salinity levels of the pool water because salty water attracts ants.
- Get rid of ants on the pool deck.
- Keep flying ants away from your pool by installing an anti-reflective pool cover, bug zappers and adding peppermint essential oil to the pool water.
It’s not just ants that can get into your pool. Many other bugs can put you in danger while swimming in your pool.
These bugs are tiny, and keeping those bugs away from your pool is an integral part of pool maintenance and for your safety.
To know more, read our post on tiny bugs in the pool now.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.