Cicadas Illinois

How to protect your swimming pool from the cicada emergence

Cicadas are attracted to the surface of the water, making it likely they’ll cause a nuisance for the first part of the summer

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Signs of cicadas are popping up across the Chicago area and experts believe it will just take one more summer-like day to bring the insects to the surface.

“I’m thinking the next 80-degree day may put us over the edge,” said Tom Tiddens, the Plant Healthcare Supervisor at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. “We’re seeing a lot of activity, and birds, squirrels and racoons just digging for them because they’re right at the surface.”

While much has been said about protecting things like gardens, trees and cars, there's one thing some might not have thought about: swimming pools.

Tiddens said the cicadas will likely be a nuisance for pool owners, but shouldn’t cause any major damage.

“I think it’s a matter of like... blowing leaves,” Tiddens told NBC Chicago. “You’re going to have some cicadas in your pool, and you’ll probably need to go around with your skimmer once and awhile and toss them to the side.”

That’s the same advice Wisconsin-based Doheny’s Pool Supplies is giving its customers.

“You want to make sure you have a leaf skimmer for manual cicada remover, and a pool vacuum for the bottom of your pool,” said Megan Isberg, who wrote a blog on protecting pools this summer and spoke with NBC Chicago via phone from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. “Make sure you have extra chlorine on hand, as that’s your best way to combat the excess nitrogen from the cicadas.”

Isberg said dead cicadas may wind up in the water and emit nitrogen, which could impact your pool chemistry.

“You want to check your filter and skimmer basket, as well as your pool pump basket more often,” she added. “Make sure they are cleared throughout the coming weeks.”

Right now, across the Chicago area, the soil temperature is about 62-63 degrees. The cicadas need the soil to reach 64 degrees to fully emerge. Tiddens believes we are right on the verge and can expect the full emergence within the week.

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