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What Are The Little Red Worms In My Pool?

“What are the little red worms in my pool?”  Maybe it’s your first close encounter with these wiggly creatures so that they are not familiar to you. 

For sure these little red worms made you squirm (who wouldn’t?) when you found them swimming along with you in your pool! 

The presence of these little red worms has raised concerns among pool owners, not just for the nuisance they bring but as to what their presence might really convey. But no worries, they’re something you can’t deal with.

They are not worms!

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The tiny little creatures in your pool are most likely to be blood worms, so called because of their bright red color (although a few species are green or yellow) which is due to the hemoglobin in their blood.

They are not worms, but actually midge flies of the Chironomid family in their larval form. Midges resemble mosquitoes, but smaller and don’t bite nor suck your blood!

How do they come to get into my pool?

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Midges prefer still and stagnant water as their breeding sites so it’s most likely that they lay their eggs on the surface of your pool water. Under favorable conditions, 2-3 days the most, the eggs enter the larval phase to become the blood worms.

The growing larvae which change into a brighter red color feed on algae and organic matter. After about four weeks of existence, the blood worms undergo the pupal stage and finally, after two days find their way out of the water transforming into adult midges.

Don’t fret, they mean no harm to you!

Blood worms are harmless and do not transmit any disease. In their natural environment, they are considered beneficial being the food source of fish and insects.

They are known to be effective “cleaners” by eating the organic debris of the ponds and other water bodies they inhabit. But certainly you wouldn’t want them in and make your pool horrible! Who would want to swim with squirmy red worms anyway

They are sending you a warning!

With the inconvenience they give, I agree that they should be out not only from your pool but of everybody’s pool! On the contrary, the presence of blood worms in your pool could be a telltale that your pool water is of poor quality.

This is where your real concern comes in. Every pool is a potential breeding place since midges are known to breed in still or slow running water, but for these larvae to thrive in your pool could also mean that your pool has algae and organic debris which are the blood worms’ food source. 

They might be telling you that your pool is not fit for swimming!

Deal with them immediately!

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Clean the pool to remove the bloodworms and other organisms that maybe remain in your pool. You can safely get rid of the worms just like removing dirt and debris from it.

  • Skim your pool: With a leaf skimmer, remove the blood worms and all floating debris that have come their way into your pool. Gently tap them out of the net onto the ground away from the pool.
  • Vacuum your pool: Vacuum the bottom of the pool to remove and help prevent infestations of bloodworms. This removes dead worms on the lower part of the pool that may be not reached by the skimmer or with your hands.
  • Check your pool’s filter: Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove and clean your pool filter to clear it from the blood worms and debris that get trapped when you run your pump.

How to keep them away from your pool

Keeping blood worms out of your pool may seem burdensome but actually it’s just part of the frequent pool cleaning and maintenance that you do, with some points to keep in mind. Below are guidelines to keep them out of your pool.

  • Run your pool pump daily to circulate the water. Keeping your pump running could inhibit the growth of algae and bacteria. The presence of insect eggs and larvae could be eliminated since your pool water is being continuously filtered and cleaned.
  • Test chlorine and water balance indicators such as pH on a regular basis, at least a number of times a week to maintain pool water that is safe for swimmers. This way you can be assured that there is no algae and bacteria build- up in your pool which is unfavorable to blood worms. Chlorinate or shock your pool when necessary.
  • Scrub the pool walls using pool cleaning devices such as brush or vacuum to get rid of algae and bacteria where these larvae feed on.
  • Cover your pool when not in use especially during the closing season ensuring that it is properly sealed to keep insects and foreign particles out. Do not let the water collect on the pool cover.
  • Check your pool as well as its surrounding area on a weekly basis for possible breeding sites. Make sure that cracked and damaged tiles are filled in and repaired. Get rid of empty soda cans or other containers that could collect stagnant water. Look around the pool for puddles and make sure to remove the water and clean the area. Place bricks or stepping stones on muddy parts near your pool area.
  • Clean your feet prior to entering your pool to remove any debris
  • Sanitize your pool and accessories by adding bleach as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Turn off lights that are not needed in your pool area. Adult midges are attracted to lights, especially that they are nocturnal.

Blood worms in your pool wouldn’t cause you any direct harm. It’s the pool water that poses potential danger to you and your pool. Thanks, but no thanks to the little red worms in your pool.

With proper maintenance and cleaning and with the guidelines above, chances are you could minimize if not totally eliminate their unwanted presence, to finally enjoy a relaxing swim in your pool.

Let me know if this worked for you. Don’t forget to share your experience.

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