Subject: Did Santa Leave These?
Location: Glendora, California
December 26, 2012 3:31 pm
Dear Bug Expert,
Yesterday (December 25) we found 100 small specimens in our salt water swimming pool. They were crawling up the sides of the pool, but would lose traction and fall back down to the bottom. Today there are only a few left. They are more active when fished out of the pool and jumped around and scurried off. And so did we…
They are small shrimp-like creatures with legs under their bodies and antennae-like feelers. We saw light and dark colored specimens (light attached). Oak trees, a lemon tree and crepe myrtle trees are next to the pool. The specimens look somewhat like silverfish. Thank you!
Signature: Freaked Out Family of Bug Sighters
Dear Freaked Out Family of Bug Sighters,
You have Lawn Shrimp or House Hoppers, terrestrial amphipods that live in damp landscaping. Interestingly, their exoskeletons absorb water, so if it is too wet, they will drown, but if it is too dry, they dessicate. They are not native to Southern California, but they have naturalized in the well watered landscaping we support in Southern California. They are generally not even noticed until there is a heavy rain and they seek shelter indoors. Then they quickly dry up and die, leaving reddish carcasses. Other than being a nuisance, they are not considered to be pests or dangerous.
Dear Bug Expert,
Thank you very much for answering our Christmas wish! So very prompt too. I called my adult children that had just left here and were on their way back to their own homes and they were relieved. My son in law actually was the one that Googled you and went into the very cold water to retrieve our specimen this morning. We have had a lot of rains lately, so assume that is why it happened, sorta freaked us out 🙂
Happy New Year to you and thank you for your help,
Not so Freaked Out Family of Bug Sighters
We are happy that we were able to clear up the mystery for you.