Do Hot Tubs Attract Snakes, Rats, Bugs or Other Pests?

Hot tubs have enclosed spaces, warmth, and a lot of stuff to chew and burrow into. So it’s natural to wonder do hot tubs attract snakes, rats, bugs, or other pests?

This is what I’ve seen in owning 4 of them:

Hot tubs can attract snakes & rodents due to their ability to hide undetected in a warm space. However, human activity around the hot tub, such as discarded food bits may attract rodents to begin with, Rodents then attract snakes, and the presence of water from a leak may attract the infestation of wasps or ants.

These things are attracted to any outdoor activity.

Anywhere humans roam, rodents and bugs are sure to be close by. But before you get paranoid about it, read on to discover what might be attracted to your hot tub and what you can do as a deterrent.

What kinds of snakes like hot tubs?

Snakes will be attracted to rodent activity around a hot tub as that is a natural food source for rat snakes, bullsnakes, and certain types of kingsnakes such as milk snakes. If you can keep the rodents away, snakes are less likely to make a home in your hot tub.

Snakes aren’t initially attracted to your hot tub, they are attracted to your garden. Specifically, they are looking for food.

Snakes will come into your garden in search of food, and the type of snake is more dependent on your locality.

Garter snakes, Black snakes, and Indigo snakes are common in many gardens, and they are relatively harmless. But in some areas, you may find venomous Copperheads, Cottonmouths, Coral snakes, and Rattlesnakes.

Find out what is common in your area before deciding on what action to take.

Certain plants attract snakes too. They love low ground covers such as vinca, myrtle, and vines. Anything that will spread over a large area, allowing them to go undetected as they search for prey. Long grass is also good for snakes to flourish.

They like to have places to hide as well, such as log piles, hollow tree stumps, and rock gardens. Being cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their body temperature as warm-blooded animals do, so they need to find shelter from the midday sun and cooler night air.

What the snakes look for are the other creatures your outdoor lifestyle might attract, like mice and rats, but before you start encouraging them into your yard, remember some can be dangerous, especially to pets and small children.

How to keep snakes out of a hot tub?

To keep snakes out of a hot tub’s water, leave your cover on when the tub is not in use and make sure the cover is in good condition and well-fitting. To keep rodents out of the area under your hot tub you can use poison or traps placed behind the panels of your hot tub.

Snakes will come into your yard to search for mice and other small mammals that may live around, and under your hot tub.

So one clear way of keeping snakes at bay is to make sure you have no vermin present. On the other hand, if you do have mice, a garter snake can be your best friend.

To deter snakes, you can use products like Snake-A-Way. Check it out on Amazon by clicking that link. Hundreds of 5-star reviews and being an Amazon’s Choice product tell you what you need to know.

Snakes use their sense of taste to find prey rather than smell – they literally taste the air using their tongue so things with a pungent smell will put them off, such as:

  • Naphthalene – commonly found in mothballs.
  • Crushed garlic cloves in oil
  • Pots of essential oils such as eugenol, cloves, cedarwood, and cinnamon
  • Lemongrass and wormwood plants will keep snakes away. But use sparingly and keep in check, as these can grow rapidly and take over.
  • Thorny bushes like roses will also prevent them from climbing up posts.

Do hot tubs attract rats or mice?

It is not actually hot tubs that attract rats or mice. It is the food particles that you leave around for them to feast on, while you use your hot tub, or while cooking on barbeque nearby, or some discarded leftovers. So if anything edible drops, make sure to clean it or it will attract rodents.

Rats and mice love to be in the company of humans because humans love to eat.

And let’s face it when you have a hot tub, you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, enjoying barbeques and eating snacks.

Sometimes you only know if you have a problem with mice or rats when something goes wrong. For instance, your hot tub heater stops working.

This may be caused by rodents chewing through the wires.

Rats, in particular, love the vinyl casing around wires and will often come up from below a deck to discover a new source of nutrition inside the cabinet.

Here’s a pic of a used hot tub I bought that was obviously a home to rodents:

Incidentally, if you are having problems with your hot tub not heating up, this recent article on my website will explain what the problem might be and how to fix it.

So, if you do have food in or around your hot tub, make sure you clean it up afterward. Leftover burgers are a delicacy to our rodent friends, and they will certainly be back for more.

How to get rid of mice (or rats) under a hot tub

To get rid of mice (or rats) under a hot tub, you can place poison or traps safely behind the panel of your hot tub or call a professional. Also, you can avoid rodents through proper sealing of gaps around the panels, using metallic meshes, and keeping the area around a hot tub clean.

The best thing to do is to keep out rodents in the first place. If your hot tub is raised on a deck, then use a metal mesh around sides – they will chew through wood and plastic.

If the decking has open slats, i.e., gaps between the planks, it is difficult to keep anything out unless you underline with a metal mesh. Food will drop down, which will attract vermin, and they will nest there and multiply.

If you are unfortunate enough to get an infestation, then you may need to call in an exterminator. Getting rid of rats and mice in large numbers is a job for the professionals, but there are a few things you can do if it is just one or two of them.

However, depending on which state you live in, and it is not just a case of laying traps and putting down poison.

There are laws governing how rats and mice can be disposed of. In some parts, you must have a permit to possess rat traps, but generally, rodent control is encouraged, provided the means are humane.

In Washington D.C., for example, snap traps and glue traps are illegal unless the rodents are actually in your home.

In other states, certain types of poison are banned, and these so-called second-generation anticoagulants are only available to professionals.

You also have to remember that anything you put down may be ingested by other animals, including your pets.

A mouse can get through any hole, you can push a pencil through, so when you seal around cabinets and joints, make sure you do a thorough job.

Why are ants attracted to my hot tub?

In the wintertime, ants are attracted by the warmth and moisture of the hot tub. They like to nest inside the insulation, and the moisture from the tub gives them much needed sustenance. So to prevent ants, keep the wood dry using veneers, or sprinkle proprietary ant powder around the tub.

The rest of the year, ants just busy themselves looking for food and other things they can forage for their nest.

They are just about everywhere. You can’t really get rid of them, but you can deter them and make them fo elsewhere. Any proprietary ant powder sprinkled around the tub will send them off in a different direction.

Carpenter ants are attracted mostly to old, rotten wood as this is easier to burrow into.

If you keep all your wood well maintained, by fixing leaks quickly, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. However, if you install your hot tub on a deck, water can get trapped underneath the tub, and if you don’t use a good quality varnish, rot can set in.

Old tree stumps, roots, rotting trees, and logs are the ideal location for ants, so avoid placing your tub close to these.

How to get rid of yellow jackets & wasps in a hot tub

To get rid of yellow jackets and wasps in a hot tub, plant things like mint, wormwood, and eucalyptus nearby. But you can also buy wasp traps and place them inside the interior of your hot tub behind the panels.

The best wasp traps to get is the HENSITA Wasp Trap (click to see the current price on Amazon).  Over 1,300 reviews and almost all are 5-star. Non-toxic, no pesticides. Trap and kill them naturally.

Bees, wasps, and yellow jackets all need water to survive, and your hot tub can look like a great place to set up a home.

They can get into the motor cabinet and under decking, where they find their way through openings and cracks and build their nests and hives. Once established, they can be hard to get rid of.

We don’t wish to kill off all of these insects. They play an important part in the eco-system. But we don’t wish to be stung by them either. So the best thing is to deter them. Make them find another place to nest.

It is really the wasps and yellow jackets that are a problem. They are always the unwanted guests at barbeques and picnics, but they can be kept at bay by burning coffee granules in aluminum trays or dishes.

Like snakes, they also dislike eucalyptus, mint, and wormwood.

Or you may mix white vinegar with water and use it as a spray. Other common household products you can use to deter them are hairsprays and WD-40.

Most of the time, they are just curious and want to know if they can share your food. You will only make them angry if they think their queen is under threat, but they’ll sting if they get trapped in any clothing.

Did I answer all your concerns about whether hot tubs attract snakes, rats, bugs, or other pests? 

It’s safe to say that as with any outdoor lifestyle, you have to expect to share it with other creatures. The best you can do is live with it, up to a point.

You don’t want to get to a situation where the pests are stopping your enjoyment, or worse, still taking over your outside space. Here are a few tips for you to follow:

  • Keep your hot tub covered. An ill-fitting cover can be just as bad as leaving it off altogether.
  • Fix leaks and rotted wood ASAP – Keep all wood in good condition and replace any rotting wood immediately.
  • Keep the area clean – Don’t allow trash to build up outside and clean up after eating and drinking, especially anything sweet.
  • Think about your plants – what attracts pests and what deters them.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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