What is blue-green algae and what does it look like?
Blue-green algae is a term used to describe a group of bacteria, called cyanobacteria.
They are not actually algae, but the organisms got this name because they often give the appearance of algae when they clump together in bodies of water.
The bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye unless they clump together. When this happens, blue-green algae can look like green flakes, greenish bundles or brown dots in a pond, lake or stream.
When the algae blooms, it can give look like a blue-green scum has appeared on the surface of the water. It sometimes looks a bit like pea soup.
Blooms of the organisms often build up around the edges of ponds and lakes, which may look like foam.
It is most common in non-flowing fresh water such as lakes and ponds during hot weather when there is less rainfall, but can also occur at other times of the year.
You may notice dead fish in ponds or lakes with a high concentration of the toxic bacteria. Don’t let your dog drink from water containing dead animals.
The algae may be present in a harmful form even if you cannot see it, so take note of any warning signs in the area.