Depressed worms
April 17, 2006 10:58 AM   Subscribe

My backyard is infested with suicidal worms. We have a pool. I've left the cover off this winter as it allows the filter to work better, but the bottom of the pool is covered in worms that have drowned themselves. Vacuuming the bottom at least every two weeks. Where are they coming from, as I never see them crawling across the deck towards the pool, even in the rain, and why are they doing this?

We live in Vancouver, if this helps. And perhaps birds are playing a role?
posted by Keith Talent to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Try dissolving some prosac into a watering can and sprinkling it on your yard.

The worms are may be seeking a cool spot or more moist soil and think your pool is just such a location.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:35 AM on April 17, 2006

maybe setup a barrier? this is pretty radical, as it will kill the worms (but since they're suicidal anyway... ?) - you might try sprinkling a line of diatomaceous earth as a barrier around your pool. This may stop them from getting into the pool and drowning. Of course then you'll have dead worms along your pavement. I doubt birds are causing this. Worms in Colorado tend to drown themselves in puddles. A lot. I second Pollomacho's idea of looking for moisture.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:43 AM on April 17, 2006

We had the same problem, and it meant a broken filter pipe around the pool. The worms were getting into it underground, not over the edge. How are the water levels? If you have regular rains no top-up should be needed at all - so if you are finding less water in the pool, check the pipes.
posted by Yavsy at 12:16 PM on April 17, 2006

Yeah, that was my initial thought thta there was a broken pipe, but the water level is always high, requiring frequent draining in Vancouvers wet climate, and the distribution of worms is not consistant with anything other than leaping...err...slithering to their deaths. They don't group around any pipe that brings water in or out. The only pattern is they are mostly on the north side, the one closest to lawn.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2006

Worms don't like it hot and/or dry. Could they be coming up in the cool of the night and leaping to their deaths?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:03 PM on April 17, 2006

No this is Vancouver, it's always cool and wet. It's not uncommon here to find worms leaving the grass and going to the driveway/paved areas during frequent rainstorms to get above the water which supersaturates the earth.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:05 PM on April 17, 2006

I can't answer any of your actual questions. I will mention that worms are very weak climbers and a six inch sheet metal fence (think the aluminum rolls they use for flashing on roofs) might be all it takes to stop this new cult from donning their little Nikes and going to ride the comet...
posted by Ken McE at 7:22 PM on April 17, 2006

It's sad that you have so many wonderful worms dying in your pool, both for the worms, and the pool!

It also sounds like you must manually vacuum. Have you ever seen this product:

I never saw one before coming to South Africa, but I've not been around home pools in decades, either. They work great! Occasionally you must sweep a bit if it misses spots.
posted by Goofyy at 12:41 AM on April 18, 2006

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