Pool & Spa

How To Get Rid Of Waterbugs In Pool

How To Get Rid Of Waterbugs In Pool

Just like how you find your pool to be very attractive, so do the bugs that roam around your compound. As such, you should expect them to join in the party, especially when no one is swimming.

Most of these water bugs are not harmful but they can be very annoying if they get on your skin, hair, or in your mouth. That said, in this article, we will look at the common types of water bugs to expect, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from coming back. Let’s get right into it.

Common Types of Water Bugs in Pools

1. Backswimmer

These bugs get their name from the fact that they swim upside down. They have a very light body that is built for swimming because it floats easily. The bug is a predator and its preferred diet includes tadpoles, minnows, and boatmen.

Perhaps its greatest assets are the 3 pairs of legs, in which it uses the front pair to grab its prey, the middle set to subdue the prey before eating, and the rear legs for swimming.

2. Water Boatmen

Just like with the backswimmers, water boatmen get their name from their characteristics, which in this case is their shape. They have a long oval body that looks like a boat. Oar-shaped rear feet enable them to move easily at high speed over the water.

The bugs are not predators; they mostly feed on algae and are preyed upon by other bugs such as backswimmers. Therefore, for survival, they have a darker upper side and a lightly colored lower side. This helps to camouflage them from predators from above and below respectively.

How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Pools

Get Rid of Water Bugs in Pools

1. Skim the Pool

The easiest way to eliminate water bugs is by skimming them off the water surface. You might be wondering what next after scooping them. Well, you can choose to kill them through suffocation in a bucket filled with water and cooking oil but we don’t recommend this.

These bugs are not entirely bad because they eat algae and insect larvae in the pool. Therefore, you can release them to a pond or river as a way of returning the favor.

2. Brush the Pool

Because some of the bugs feed on algae, you need to brush the pool to scrub off any algae from the walls, floor, steps, and ladders. This will also loosen other microscopic organisms so that they can be trapped by the filtration system as the water circulates.

3. Vacuum the Pool

To assist the filtration system in eliminating the loosened particles, run your vacuum pool cleaner in the water. If you don’t have one, you can buy the manual type if you are on a tight budget or the automatic type (robotic, suction-side, or pressure-side) for easy use.

4. Shock the Pool

Shocking is primarily meant to kill algae, which cuts off any food supply that might attract the bugs back into the water.

Use calcium hypochlorite in the ratio of about 2 lbs. per 10,000 gallons of water and do it at dusk. UV rays from the sun break down free chlorine, which means shocking during the day won’t be as effective, unless you cover your pool.

5. Check the Chemical Levels

You should also ensure that all other parameters such as alkalinity, free chlorine, and pH are within the acceptable limits. To check this, you need to use a test kit then add any chemicals, if required, to balance the water.

6. Vacuum the Pool Again

This step is important because it eliminates any extra food that might be left for the bugs to eat.

How to Prevent Water Bugs in Pools

How to Prevent Water Bugs in Pools

1. Maintain Proper Pool Chemistry

Balancing the water chemistry is important because it keeps the water clean and sanitized so that microorganisms don’t thrive. Without algae and other microorganisms, there won’t be any food to attract the bugs back into the water.

This chemistry mainly involves pH, free chlorine, and TA. Ideally, the pH should be around 7.2-7.6 with the optimal level being 7.4. On the other hand, free chlorine should be 1-3 ppm while TA (Total Alkalinity) should be 80-120 ppm with the optimal level being 100 ppm.

2. Skim the Pool Daily

Take a few minutes daily to filter any bugs and debris using your skimmer. This process also removes algae spores before they stick to the walls and begin to grow.

3. Cover the Pool

Most of these bugs can swim, fly, and walk. They don’t magically appear in your pool. Therefore, keeping the water covered when the pool is not in use goes a long way in ensuring you enjoy your swim bug-free.  

4. Turn Off the Pool Lights

Bugs and insects are always attracted to lights, be it pool, garden, or porch lights. Therefore, remember to turn off your pool lights whenever they are not required. This will minimize the number of water bugs coming into the water.

5. Use Algaecide

This is like pesticide for algae and it should be used only if the algae are too persistent. A lot of chemicals might not be very good for your skin and the environment.

6. Use a Liquid Dish Detergent

This might seem unconventional but there is some science behind using liquid dish detergent to get rid of water bugs. Soap alters the surface tension on the water, which makes it impossible for bugs to float.  

You can spray a little detergent around the pool so that they sink then die through suffocation after they land on the pool.


Water bugs are quite common in pools and they should not scare you. They are not limited to the two mentioned above; you can also find water scorpions and alligator ticks. Just keep them in check by following the steps above. Most importantly though, keep your pool free from algae.

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