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My pond has leeches! How do I get rid of them? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond has leeches! How do I get rid of them?

Tana – West Allis, WI

A: Leeches. They’re not for the squeamish. These little bloodsuckers – which are actually segmented worms related to earthworms – use their suction cup-like mouths and teeth to latch on to vertebrate and invertebrate animals, feeding on their blood.

The majority of leeches thrive in freshwater environments, though some species can be found on land and in the sea, too. Of the 700 different species of leeches, 100 are marine, 90 are terrestrial and the remaining 510 prefer habitats like your lake or pond.

One of the more common leeches found in North America is the Freshwater Leech or North American Leech. This brownish-green worm with black and red spots grows to about 2 inches long and lives in lakes, marshes and slow-moving streams.

Harmless – and Healthy

Historically, leeches have been used medicinally on humans to improve and restore blood circulation. The practice of leeching, or leech therapy, can be traced to India and Greece and has been done in both Europe and North America up until the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the practice waned for a time – likely a combination of the yuck factor and modern medicine – it’s slowing coming back into favor.

If a leech latches onto you, don’t worry. In most cases, it won’t do any harm. In fact, you might not even feel it as the tiny critter injects the spot with anesthetic-anticoagulant combo while attaching itself with its suckers. You can remove a leech by breaking its suction seal with your fingernail or another blunt object, causing the worm to detach its jaws.

Tiny Hitchhikers

The leeches in your pond have probably hitched a ride from visiting birds or plants that you’ve purchased and placed in your pond. Leeches will attach themselves to their host – like a duck or heron – and take in their fill of blood. Once they’re satiated, they’ll drop off and establish themselves in their new home. Leeches will also hide in plant roots and on the bottom of pots, and when you place them in your lake, they’ll happily move right in.

Fish Food

Fish love to gobble down leeches. A healthy fish population will, in most cases, keep leech numbers under control. Among game and lake fish, red ear sunfish do a great job of eating these worms. Other natural leech predators include turtles, crayfish and water fowl.

Prevention, Removal

Besides using your finned friends to control the leeches in your lake or pond, you can also try some of these recommendations:

•Control the muck on the bottom of your pond – which is where they lay their eggs and spend their off time – with a product like MuckAway™.
•Remove debris, cattails and phragmites from shallow areas of your pond.
•Add more leech-eating fish.
•Set a leech trap. Punch leech-size holes in a coffee or aluminum can, bait it with raw chicken and position it in a shallow area of your pond. When the worms go for the grub, they can get in – but not out. The burrs from the whole punch will prevent them from escaping. Remove the can once it’s full and repeat until the leeches are gone.

Pond Talk: What did you do the first time you found a leech locked onto your leg?

Pond Logic MuckAway - Eliminate Muck Naturally

Which is better for my pond? PondClear™ or MuckAway™? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Which is better for my pond? PondClear™ or MuckAway™?

Mitch – Syracuse, NY

A: PondClear™ and MuckAway™ have their similarities and differences. They both are chemical free, safe to use in recreational ponds, and contain aerobic bacteria that naturally work to break down dead organic material in your pond or lake. They differ however, by targeting different types of debris.

Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria focuses on debris that’s suspended in the water column. The floating material may cause your pond or lake to appear cloudy. The beneficial microorganisms in PondClear™ consume and digest that suspended organic matter, leaving you with clean, clear, odor-free water and a healthy ecosystem. It’s even safe to use in ponds and lakes that water horses, livestock, pets, birds and other wildlife, as well as those that contain game fish.

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer focuses on sunken organic debris – also known as pond muck – that has accumulated along the beach, shoreline or pond bottom. The MuckAway™ pellets sick below the water’s surface and dissolve, releasing hungry beneficial bacteria that instantly begin consuming and digesting the settled debris. The all-natural muck buster is perfect for spot-treating trouble areas or managing material in canals or lake-front properties. As with PondClear™, MuckAway™ is safe to use around horses, livestock, pets, birds, wildlife and in lakes that contain game fish.

When used as directed, both PondClear™ and MuckAway™ will begin working right away and, in most cases, you can expect to see real results within one month of use. Of course, each pond is different; the longer the muck has had to accumulate, the longer it will take to be devoured by the bacteria.

To give the microorganisms a performance boost, add an aeration system to the pond and increase the water’s circulation. Aerobic bacteria require oxygen to live, thrive and reproduce. An aeration system, such as the Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System or the Kasco Surface Aerator, will diffuse O2 into the water while increasing the water’s movement and exposure to surface oxygen.

So before you add PondClear™ or MuckAway™ to your pond or lake, make sure you choose the product that targets your particular situation.

Pond Talk: Which bothers you more: cloudy water or pond muck? Why?

Pond Logic MuckAway - Naturally Eliminate Pond Muck

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