How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Your Pool?

There is nothing better on a hot summer day than to kick back and relax by the pool. Unfortunately, your backyard paradise also likely attracts many aquatic insects. These ugly, often large bugs are a nuisance for many swimming pool owners, but fortunately they can be dealt with rather easily.

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Common Types of Water Bugs In Swimming Pools

Water Boatmen

These small oval, winged critters feed on microorganisms that already exist in your swimming pool. Water Boatmen will also gladly lay their eggs in algae, making them particularly common in pools with little maintenance. Even though it may be disgusting to see Water Boatmen floating around in your swimming pool, these insects are not causing any harm and do not bite.


The more prominent Backswimmer is less primitive than Water Boatmen. These light-colored insects skim the top of the water feeding on other insects hanging around the pool (including water boatmen).

One should exercise more caution around the Backswimmer as unlike Water Boatmen, they can bite. A nip from a Backswimmer is comparable to a bee sting.

Similarities between Water Boatmen and Backswimmers

Both water boatmen and backswimmers can fly.
Both require air to breathe and can drown.
Both lay eggs in algae in your pool.

Why Do I Have Water Bugs In My Pool?

It all starts with algae growth. Bugs can usually sense/spot algae before humans! Water Boatmen are the first to arrive, not only eating the algae but laying their eggs in it. Since algae draws herbivores as a potential food source, it indirectly attracts carnivorous insects like Backswimmers who eat the lesser species.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

The simplest way to get rid of either of these pests is eliminate the food supply, which starts with eliminating algae growth. An algae-free pool has properly balanced water chemistry and is clean. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you rid your swimming pool of both bugs and algae quickly and efficiently.

First, remove any water bugs in the pool using a skimmer and relocate or discard them.
Once the bugs are out, scrub and vacuum the pool to remove dirt, debris, and algae.
Shock the pool. (This will kill the algae that Water Boatmen rely on.)
Run the pump overnight.
Test the water to make sure chemical levels are appropriate before you swim again.

Shocking Your Swimming Pool

Pool shocking is a chemical treatment to kill algae and consequently keep insects disinterested. To do this you will need the following supplies:

Chlorine Shock aka Calcium Hypochlorite
5-gallon bucket
Stir stick
Pool brush
Protective gloves
Protective eyewear

Tip: Buying chlorine shock in bulk could not only save money but you will always have a supply on hand in the event that algae returns.

To properly shock your pool follow these steps:
Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and add 1 lb of chlorine shock.
Stir the shock until it dissolves completely in the bucket.
Ensure your pump is running and pour the dissolved shock mixture in the water around the perimeter of the pool.
Repeat this process as necessary. You will want to use 1 lb of pool shock per 10,000 gallons of water in your pool.

Note: You will want to shock your swimming pool after the sun has gone down. If you shock your pool during the day, the sun burns off the chemicals too quickly.

Shocking your pool will eliminate the algae in the swimming pool almost overnight.

Clean up Your Yard

Aquatic insects are attracted to moist areas and can easily migrate from ditches, dirty birdbaths, and other areas with standing water. Take measures to remove areas of pooled water (that aren’t the pool) in your yard if you have them.

Keeping Water Bugs Away

Now that you have eliminated the water bugs from your swimming pool, how can you keep it that way?

Two of the most successful tips are to invest in a high-quality pool cover and to follow a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for the pool. Watching the water and using a swimming pool cover will reduce algae, which will in turn keep water bugs and other insects from invading the area.

If the algae persists, purchase a bottle of algaecide to prevent algae from building up in your pool. Without algae, water bugs have trouble finding food so keeping your pool maintained will discourage the return of insects.

Don’t let bugs ruin your day of relaxation! If you are experiencing issues with Water Boatmen, Backswimmers, algae, or other pests invading your pool, leave a comment or check out our blog for more tips!

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