How to Protect Your Pool from Unwanted Pests This Winter

Unwelcome guests who drop by to share you pool may be annoying, but when those guests are birds and wildlife, it’s a little more difficult to send them on their way. While they are most common in summer when the weather is warm and the pool is inviting, some find their way to your pool even during the winter months. Keeping them away keeps your pool clean and safe for the family.
 
Fences Keep Out Small Mammals and Rodents Fencing around the pool keeps animals from entering or taking up residence, but it must be flush with the ground to prevent small rodents from crawling under the fence. Consider a mesh isolation fence that surrounds the perimeter of the pool, as these fences do not provide toe or hand holes for either animals or children. Consider the type of intruder most likely to enter you pool and install a fence to keep it and children out of the pool. Other options include using cement blocks, wood or other construction material to create a barricade to wayward guests.

 

Escape Hatches to the Rescue Providing unwelcome guest with the means to escape prevents unnecessary deaths in your pool and shows a little compassion for their misguided attempts to enjoy a swim. You can buy plastic ramps to place in the pool that allow animals to crawl out, place flotation devices near the edge of the pool or tie knotted ropes from the side of the pool so the knot rests at the water level giving animals the means to exit the pool with ease. Pools with resting ledges do not typically require devices for animals to escape as they can typically crawl out on their own.   Deterrents Keep Animals and Birds Away Waterfowl and other birds often approach pools to explore for food or to swim, leaving behind messy droppings. There are several devices available to deter birds from approaching your pool. Alarms, distress calls and sprinklers set to a motion detector help to shoo away birds if they get too close to your pool. These harmless devices keep your pool area pest free without posing a threat the health and safety of curious creatures who stop by for a swim.

 

The Gator Guard from Bird-X can also be used to frighten away birds and other intruders. The realistic floating alligator head is specially designed with eyes that reflect the sunlight and can be seen day or night. It moves slowly, bobbing in the wind to give the illusion of a real alligator.

 

Covered Pools Offer Hiding Spots for Animals Just because your pool is covered during the winter, doesn’t mean it’s free from pests. Small crevices offer room for small rodents to enter the pool. While they won’t drown in an empty pool, they may get trapped and unable to escape or chew their way through the covering to get out. Check that your pool cover fits properly and covers the entire area when you winterize your pool in the fall.   Clearing Clutter and Debris Sometimes rodents and other animals take up residence in areas around the pool. Keeping the area free of vegetation or debris prevents them from hiding near the pool. This holds true with pool furniture of other devices you may store near the pool during the winter. Keeping the area clean and free of clutter discourages wildlife from seeking shelter near your pool.

 

Monitoring the Area The best way to keep unwanted pests out of you pool is to prevent them from setting up residence in the first place. Monitoring the area for signs of intruders, such as tracks, droppings or nests, allows you to take action before the problem gets out of control. Look for sources of food, such as forgotten snacks or fallen fruits and nuts from trees, and remove them to avoid animals looking for a free meal during the winter. Keeping your pool clean and safe, while keeping intruders away, provides you and your family with hours of refreshing fun in the sun.

 

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About the author: Nannette Richford is a freelance writer from rural Maine where she lives with her family. When not writing about gardening, she can be found working in her garden where she has grown flowers, herbs and vegetables for over 25 years. Richford has extensive writing experience in gardening and landscape and has been published in influential online industry publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle(SF Gate), Garden Guides and Yahoo! Shine. She also publishes her own website Maine Garden Ideas. Connect with Nannette on Google+ and Twitter.