Dear Gardener Gal: I have a weird thing happening, not in my yard but in my pool. The last week or so after it rains I’m finding millions of orangish bug things floating in my pool and then in my filter. These things are tiny but there are so many of them they are clogging my filter. I’ve tried to attach a photo, but they are so small, I’m not sure it will be helpful. Could I send you some of them in the mail? Please let me know what I have here and how to get rid of them. — Dave
Dear Dave: I don’t think sending a sample through the mail will be necessary. Also — probably would be a pretty gross upon arrival. Seafood, in general, doesn’t ship well.
You read that correctly Dave: seafood. Those are not bugs in your pool, they are lawn shrimp.
Lawn shrimp are are amphipods, an order of Crustacea like shrimp and crabs. While these happen to be a terrestrial species, they still need a moist habitat. You might now be imagining they are congregating in your pool deliberately seeking the water. Nope. They are actually trying to escape your wet lawn and flower beds. Lawn shrimp are very fragile little creatures. If their environment gets too dry, they die. If it gets too wet, they die. The rain we have had lately has soaked the soil and is driving them to search for better digs. Your pool is just in their path. There are many cases where these little scampi guys enter people’s homes or garages as well.
Cleaning your pool filter often and sweeping up their little corpses if they accumulate elsewhere is the best plan. They do no harm in your yard and nuking the area with a pesticide is a waste of time, money and harmful to other living things that call your property home. This is a fairly seasonal migration so you probably won’t have to deal with it for long.
Dear Gardener Gal: Can you tell us the name of this? — Greg and Alice
Dear Greg and Alice: You have a Alpinia galangal. It is a ginger, basically, or at least in the same family and can be used for cooking. The rhizomes are used primarily in Thai cooking, stir fry and curries.
This plant looks beautiful, so if it is in your yard keep doing whatever you are doing because it certainly seems happy!
“Gardener Gal” Leslie Derrenbacker is a Master Gardener and native Floridian. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.