It is a truth universally acknowledged that a pond full of leeches is absolutely no fun to swim in. Eradicating the leeches from your pond can take time, but the end result is certainly worth it.
Why Does My Pond Have Leeches in it?
Leeches thrive in ponds with a layer of muck at the bottom. Muck provides leeches with excellent cover from predators like your fish. Leeches mostly survive on blood, but some species also consume decaying plant matter, so if your pond has a significant amount of pond weeds or algae, that can also contribute to your problem.
How do I Get Rid of the Leeches?
One of the first steps to getting rid of leeches is to get rid of their habitat. Removing the pond muck leaves them with a lot less cover. Once the muck is gone, your fish will do the rest! There are a few ways to get rid of the muck. The most effective is to add beneficial bacteria to your pond. Beneficial bacteria consume the organic matter and significantly speed up the decay process. You can also aerate your pond, which adds oxygen and stirs up the water. For more information, read our blog “Getting Rid of Pond Muck”.
Stocking the right fish in your pond is also a great step. Fish like bass, bluegill and catfish will happily eat the leeches in your pond. Stocking predators is a quick way to curb population growth. If you are unsure which of these fish are the best fit for your pond, check out our blog on stocking the right fish for your pond. Stocking your pond with fish has many other benefits as well, including increased water clarity, mosquito population reduction and, of course, fishing opportunities!
You can also remove the pond weeds and algae in your pond, removing cover and a food source. Again, this allows better access to a meal for your fish. This can be done through the use of pond chemicals or manual removal. Check out our blog “The Importance of Removing Dead Vegetation from Your Pond”.
Another option is to try manual removal. You can make your own trap without too much difficulty. Take an old container with a lid (old coffee can, tupperware, etc,) and poke small holes in the lid, just big enough for the leeches to get through. Bait the trap with raw meat, such as chicken, and attach a rope to pull the trap out of the water. Place the trap in the water, and check it every few days, or as often as needed to remove the leeches and reset.
Although the removing the muck is the single most effective step, use these steps in tandem for the best results.
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