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Thread: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

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    tlwilson's Avatar
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    Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Being in Nebraska, the temp at night is really starting to drop, so I bought a solar blanket. It does a great job of reducing heat loss at night as well as reducing chlorine loss during the day. I faithfully test the water every day, make adjustments and keep everything in range. This week we had the cover off and swam on Tuesday evening. I left the cover on continually from Tuesday night until Saturday morning and when I took the cover off, there were dozens of backswimmers. Numbers this evening, after a day of bright sun:

    FC 6.5
    pH 7.2 (I recently added MA to bring it down from 7.8 and the blanket also slows the pH drift)
    TA 70
    CYA 50

    I saw a backswimmer fly out of the tree and into the water as I was scouping them out of the water with the net. If that dang solar blanket creates a breeding ground for backswimmers, I"m not going to use it.

    Is there anything I can do to avoid this problem and still use the solar blanket? I was hoping it would extend the swimming season.
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Hey,

    Backswimmers are discussed on several threads here in the forum and the general consensus seemed to be that adequate chlorine (which you have) is the best preventer.

    There have been other methods mentioned but I am not sure they were anything more than "I read somewhere that...."

    Maybe others will have a better idea that they have actually tried and found effective.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    tlwilson's Avatar
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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I get quite a lot of bugs in my pool every day and when I didn't have the cover on, I did a much better job of removing them, and also with the blanket on, very few end up in the skimmer. According to sources on the internet, backswimmers feed on other bugs. They are predators. Other bugs, like boatmen, eat algae and end up being food for the backswimmer. I remove beetles, rolly polly bugs, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, flies, and worms and I suspect all of those things are food for the backswimmer. I am assuming that during the 3 days that I didn't remove the cover, all the bugs laying on the bottom of the pool attracted the swarms of backswimmers. I have the pool cleaned up and the backswimmers netted and squished and everything looks great. Has anyone else had this trouble with a solar blanket?
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I have found 1 of these critters in my water on a few nights this past week. It was just swimming around, all over the place, diving down then swimming back up, like a fish. Pretty cool!
    I didn't really care, I'm just like, whatever you dork, the chlorine will eventually kill you and your tiny structure. BRUWHAHAHA!
    Even found one in there while shocking the pool.

    I just looked them up, apparently they bite and eat small fish?? YIKES!!

    My pool is extremely clean, I'm only shocking it because it's cloudy underwater, clear up top. Weirdness!!
    So I can't imagine how you might keep them out of your pool, they're doing what they were created to do, live in small bodies of water, ponds, lakes, slow moving streams, etc..

    Apparently chlorine doesn't effect them, as they breathe air, not the oxygen in the water like a fish.
    They come up for air, trap it under their wing and hairs on the body, then go back down. They will lay eggs in your pool, in the algae. Water bugs eat algae, that's their food source, some it's other, smaller aquatic bugs. Back swimmers eat water boatmen and other water bugs.
    Get rid of the algae and the bugs will go away, die off and new ones that come in from nearby sources of standing water will most likely leave when they find no food source. You have to get rid of every source of algae, everywhere, pipes, chlorinators, swg cell parts, ladders, fittings, you name it.

    Apparently borates will help keep them out, not sure if they don't like it or what, but it is reported to work.

    BTW, they're the same species as "water boatmen", just larger and more fierce, also swimming upside down, as opposed to boatmen whom swim right side up. They are in the Hemiptera family of aquatic insects.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    tlwilson's Avatar
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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Hi y_not!
    Thanks for your informative comments! I also have a clean pool and don't like swimming with bugs that could bite. If you run across any solutions, let me know. Thanks again.
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Aside from keeping water chemistry properly balanced, the best recommendation I have seen (other than an indoor pool!) to help keep bugs out is adding borates at mentioned above. Further reading Here
    18x36 Vinyl IG ~27,000 gal, Intelliflo VF Pump, 300# Sand Filter, Polaris 280 w/Pentair Booster Pump, Pentair EasyTouch w/ IC40 SWCG
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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I've only seen like 2 this year. I've seen more in the past before adding salt for my SWG and borates this year. Whenever I see them I scoop them up and dump them over the side. I have a pool cover on most of the time so don't know how that would create more of a problem for you.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I have to put my 2 cents in. Most everyone is going to disagree with my suggestion but here it is anyway. Our pool was filled with backswimmers. And those little jerks bite! They were so bad that we would be covered in multiple whelps when got out of the pool. My water is perfectly balanced. I test it almost daily. I keep my chlorine level on the high side and I have never had algae at all in my pool. It is so clear, you can see any peice of dirt on the bottom. I tried everything to get rid of the backswimmers. Nothing worked. Until someone suggested Bioguard Backup. Out of desperation, I tried it. By the next morning, hundreds of bugs were dead in my pool. That was almost two months ago and I have maybe one or two since then, but nothing like it was before. It is not something that I would recommend using often. It tends to foam and it may (can't find any information either way) contain copper. But it was worth it to me to get rid of those bitting monsters. I am willing to use once or twice a season if needed.

    BTW- I just added borates last week, so I don't know yet how much that will help.
    12 x 23 Fiberglass IGP Built 2012
    24 inch rainfall
    2 HP Superflo pump
    Intellichor SWG
    Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Bioguard Backup is the standard linear quat ADBAC and yes, such algaecides can foam and also noticeably increase chlorine demand. I wonder if using Polyquat 60 algaecide would work? It won't foam and has less chlorine demand, but it is more expensive.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Bioguard Backup is the standard linear quat ADBAC and yes, such algaecides can foam and also noticeably increase chlorine demand. I wonder if using Polyquat 60 algaecide would work? It won't foam and has less chlorine demand, but it is more expensive.
    It appeared to me that the reason the Bioguard Backup was so effective in killing the backswimmers in my Pool was because of the "film" (for lack of a better word) that it left on the surface of the water. Prior to using the Backup, I tried creating that same effect with Dawn dish liquid. While the Dawn did kill several of the bugs, it just broke down to quickly to really be very effective.

    I have never tried Polyquat 60. I don't know if it will create that same film like the Backup did. I have used the BBB method since day one. The bugs have been my only issues so far that I haven't been able to clear up with balanced water.
    12 x 23 Fiberglass IGP Built 2012
    24 inch rainfall
    2 HP Superflo pump
    Intellichor SWG
    Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Yes, that's exactly why it works and for no other reason to the best of my knowledge. Is because the backswimmers and water boatmen, as well as other types of water bugs that need to come up for air, when they do, the oil gets trapped in their fine hairs where they store air bubbles, so when they go back under, expecting that air there, they drown because it's not there, but instead filled with oil.
    Mwuhahaha!

    You could pour cooking oil or motor oil in your pool and achieve the same results, but that's not very practical. LOL

    So the big question is, does Polyquat 60 create any sort of film, or are those with this problem out of luck in that regard?

    If that won't work, then time to call up the extension service and see if they have any ideas. Maybe something like those cubes for mosquitos?
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Then Polyquat 60 probably won't work. I was thinking it was the algaecide itself that was killing them. If it's water surface properties, then that may explain why 50 ppm Borates sometimes seem to help because that lowers surface tension. So adding a surface surfactant might help, preferably one that also gums them up with oil. Sounds like maybe those solar pill products containing cetyl alcohol might have a secondary use.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I had some liquid solar cover on hand and put that in the pool Saturday night. The next day we had 30 backswimmers in the skimmer, althought they were still alive. They may have been trying to escape!
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by tlwilson
    I had some liquid solar cover on hand and put that in the pool Saturday night. The next day we had 30 backswimmers in the skimmer, althought they were still alive. They may have been trying to escape!
    If your pump was on, maybe try turning it off for a night. That seemed to help.
    12 x 23 Fiberglass IGP Built 2012
    24 inch rainfall
    2 HP Superflo pump
    Intellichor SWG
    Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    The backswimmers are going crazy and multiplying like mad. Last night I scouped out dozens and I found hundreds in the skimmer. I noticed baby backswimmers around the ladder, so I took the ladder out and found a little bit of green algae on the bottom of the steps. I didn't start the shock process last night, but did bump up FC to 10. I also added 16 oz of Poly 60 algaecide. I brushed the pool and left the ladder outside the pool after cleaning it with bleach. I found little, round seeds (about the size of a raspberry seed) in the skimmer and I wonder if they are backswimmer eggs. This morning there wasn't a backswimmer in sight, the pool looked perfect and I was confident I had conquered them. Tonight there is an explosion of backswimmers and there are many more than last night. There are so many I can't possibly scoup them all out like I did last night. We had high winds today and I don't know if they blew in from the creek, the neighbor's pool or the trees.

    Should I start the shock process even though I only found a tiny bit of algae on the ladder? The water is crystal clear and chlorine consumption is nil. This morning at 7:00 am FC was 8.5 and tonight at 6:00 it was still 8.5. The only place algae could be hiding is behind the lights, but I'm not sure how to clean them out. Do I just take out the screws even though they are underwater? Can a light be taken apart while under water? Isn't that a shock hazard?

    Temp 62 degrees
    FC 8.5
    CC 0
    pH 7.4
    TA 70
    CYA 50

    I did go buy a bunch of bleach at Walmart and they only sell concentrated bleach now. It is 8.5% chlorine. Is this regular bleach? It is unscented and doesn't indicate it is a special formula other than concentrated (does that just mean less water?)

    Sorry for all the questions. I have taken great care this season to take good care of the pool and now I have bugs. We're not going to swim again, but I want to eradicate the algae and bugs before we close.
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Yeah that is frustrating indeed! That's a whole lot of bugs.
    Have you had this problem in seasons past? Sounds like you're blessed with a pond nearby, so you're going to have to take matters into your own hands on keeping them out.

    I would at least bring it up to shock level overnight and do an OCLT + CC test. The reason being, at low FC levels it can be a poor indicator of an OCLT test as there's so little CL available to oxidize things beyond the usual unless you have a swamp or mega algae any loss you do see is a rather large percentage of std daily maintenance CL levels, so it's actually quite a high level of consumption.
    I can attest to this.
    What I am confused on though, is that you said your morning FC was 8.5 and your evening the same. How could that be? Did the sun not come up? :P
    Or do you have a pool cover/indoor pool?

    As far as the light goes, it's a sealed unit, just turn the power off to it and pull out the screws on the ring trim that holds it in.
    Technically turning off the power isn't even necessary, but if it's leaking, then you should.
    Then you pull it up and out of the water, there should be enough wire free to do this. Then you can take apart the light assembly if you think it's leaking and there might be stuff in there, otherwise, just look around in the cavity and on the back of the light, everywhere and go to town on cleaning it. Leaving it exposed at shock levels. Most lights will just float, since they are full of air because they're sealed. So you can just leave that floating in there.

    Yeah, that appears to be the new bleach they're switching over to. I haven't seen it here yet though, but we live in the sticks more or less, hence not surprised. Just enter it into pool calc at the top, there's a custom box there for changing the percentage.
    Was it the Walnasty "Horrid Value" brand you bought, or was it Clorox?
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    I'm not an expert, but I would think if you have algae, go ahead and shock your pool.

    As far as the backswimmers go, no chemical in the world is going to kill them. They breathe air, not water. I know the general consensus is that if your water is balanced with no algae, then you couldn't possibly have bugs in your pool. I simply don't believe that is true. I have followed Trouble Free Pool from day one. My water is beautiful and my combined chlorine is almost always zero. Yet I still get an occasional bug. Other than my initial horrible infestation, I generally only find one or two. But during that initial infestation, the only thing that worked was the Bioguard Backup.
    12 x 23 Fiberglass IGP Built 2012
    24 inch rainfall
    2 HP Superflo pump
    Intellichor SWG
    Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Hey y_not,
    This is our 2nd full season with the pool and our first experience with a backswimmer problem. Last year I found 2 or 3, but we never had an infestation! I was perplexed by the FC staying at 8.5 all day too. The pool is in full sun this time of year just a few hours, but it was a nice warm day with sunshine. This morning FC may have been 9.0 and this evening 8.0, given a little room for error and how the pink disappeared. I'll do the OCLT and CC test and proceed from there. We bought the Walmart brand figuring that sodium hypochlorite is sodium hypochlorite. I hope that's true.

    Acadianaose, I was wondering how to kill them. I'm glad that Bioguard Backup works.
    Thanks for all the help!
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    What a trip, I wondered if that might be the case. Gottttaaaaa love nature!!!

    Yeah, that's the consensus with the bswims, clean pool equals no bugs, but we all know with most things that just because it's "supposed to work" doesn't always mean that's the case.
    Definitely go with the bioguard backup if you keep having a problem.
    But do perform an OCLT at shock level, say bring it up to shock after sundown, or before, then test it 30min later, be sure to use a full heaping scoop and a white background since it's at night to be certain you get it all the way to clear. See where you're at, then keep it there till bedtime, check once more before you retire for the evening.
    Then check it before sunrise, nautical twilight seems best, as there's minimal residual light. I use Wunderground for checking the times.

    Your CYA is 50 & depending on where you are in the country, being that it's so late in the season and we're drifting farther from the sun, I could see that happening, especially if you think you might not have gotten to full clear on the sample. That residual pink hue can getcha!
    So watch out for that, follow what I said above, same with the CC, any hue and it's counted as 0.5 for the purposes of the tests regular accuracy ratings.

    Sodium-Hypo is Sodium-Hypo, the only difference is how much residual lye is in the solution, between brands that is.
    So you should be fine there, and you'll know it's percentage when you add it as you'll see the FC rise not go as high as it should, or if it's really good stuff, higher than it should.
    I was just being a smart alec, I have silly, sarcastic names for all these things.
    If you follow my other posts, you'll see what some of them are.
    Plus I enjoy beating the socks off of Walnast at their competition, that is if you know how to shop.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    tlwilson's Avatar
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    Re: Arrrrggg! Backswimmers

    Does Bioguard Backup contain copper? If so, I should wait to use it until after the shocking process is done, right? I don't need stains on top of the bug problem.
    24,000 Gal In Ground pool
    Vinyl Liner; Sand Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo pump
    Pentair IntelliChlor IC40 SWG
    Raypak Gas Heater

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