Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Water Boatmen are Back


Last updated 8/22/2019 at 1:59pm

Oh yes, the water boatmen bugs came back for their now all too familiar August visit. And due to changes in the ecology of the Salton Sea are expected to continue dropping in.

From high in the sky, water boatmen bugs blow on easterly winds from the Salton Sea, finding all Borrego pools, especially those with dark-colored bottoms, and dark-colored cars that they confuse for water, as great landing pads.

In their search for algae and breeding spots, lesser water boatmen (Corixa punctada) make their now recurring annual mess of Borrego. This year, they registered a seven or eight on the infestation scale, according to pool expert Clint Brandon, the owner of Backyard Lagoon Pool and Spa as well as the Borrego Pool Supply and Desert Bookkeeping with his bookkeeper and wife Carol Brandin. They arrive at first in warning dribbles, growing into a hoard that within days stops altogether.

It could be worse. Water boatmen are docile bugs and generally considered beneficial insects who eat algae, plant detritus, other water micro-organisms, and mosquito larvae. Are they dangerous? No. They are neither poisonous nor do they bite, posing no threat to humans other than a financial one for the pool and dark-colored car cleanings required.

Last year, the boatmen arrived every day for over a week. The impact on pools, filters, and dark-colored cars was a serious event – a definite 10 on Brandin's infestation index.

Fortunately, the winds changed direction after a few days of the invasion this year, giving Borregan's a bit earlier end to the mess.

Brandin and others busily returning pools and filters to their previous state of readiness for human recreational activities, will likely be needing a few extra days off after the many long days in the August heat the boatmen delivered.

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