What’s living in your hot tub?

January 16, 2013

Chances are something something big or small is, and I am not just referring to germs.   The next time you are relaxing in the hot tub, remember you may not be alone.  Your hot tub is warm, has sources for moisture, is dark and full of foam insulation.   It is a nice cozy place for unwanted guests to make a home in when it is frigid and cold outside.


Your hot tub is an ideal environment for ants, spiders, wasps,  mice and even rats.

Carpenter ants like to nest in the insulation, they can get moisture from condensation around the pipes and then forage for food in the yard around the hot tub area. If the tub is placed on a deck they can get into the deck beams especially if there is any rotting wood in the deck. Small ants will often nest in the ground under hot tubs that are not raised on decks. The ants will then migrate up into and around the tub.

Yellow jackets and wasps are good at finding small openings into the sides of hot tubs. These can be challenging to eliminate if the tubs are set into raised decks. It often involves crawling into confined areas under the deck to try and get at the nest. Paper wasps can also be a problem sometimes nesting in the motor housing compartment.  One of the agents here had this experience- they had a bee hive underneath their hot tub that they had to deal with.

The potentially most destructive of the hot tub terrorists are mice and rats.  Rodents can get into the motor/pump compartment and cause damage.  They can chew on both the wiring and water lines. They can  chew up through the insulation in the bottom of a hot tub where they are again able to chew into water lines. Your hot tub could become their perfect nesting and breeding grounds, and if you ignore the problem you may need to repair or replace your broken hot tub.

Snakes.  Yes even snakes can make there homes in the warm comfort under a hot tub.

Frogs.  Another agent actually had this experience and had quite an ordeal of trying to evict the frogs.

What can you do?

Inspect your hot tub each season with a view to keeping out pests. Seal gaps and small openings that will allow wasps or small insects to become established. Watch for ant activity around the tub in the summer season. If you are planning to install a new hot tub, have a panel or trap door put in to give access to the undersides of the tub. In the Fall or Winter place rodent poison inside the motor compartment or access panel. Use the small bags and do not cut them open. This will help prevent the bait from becoming moldy. Check them periodically over the winter. Remember to place the rodent poison only where and when they will be inaccessible to children and dogs. You can also place snap traps or one of the smaller multiple catch traps if there is room in the compartment.

Will your home insurance cover the damage or for exterminators?

Most home policies carry exclusions for damage caused to home or other structures by birds, vermin, rodents and insects. Nor will they cover an exterminator. This is considered a maintenance issue and responsibility of homeowner in maintaining their home.