Keep Water Bugs Out Of Your Pool

Last Updated 12/28/20

Most of us can agree that there is nothing better on a hot summer day than kicking back and relaxing by the pool.  As it turns out, your backyard oasis also attracts many insects. Water bugs can be problematic for many swimming pool owners but the solution for getting rid of them is quite simple.

Common Types of Water Bugs In Swimming Pools

Before learning how to get rid of these pesky creatures, you must understand the two most common types of water bugs that might be living in your pool — water boatmen (also known as corixids) and backswimmers.



Water Boatman

Water Boatman

Water Boatmen

The first type of water bug you may encounter while you are wading in the pool is a Water Boatmen. These small brown, oval critters feed on and other microorganisms that may be lying in your swimming pool. Water Boatmen will also lay their eggs in your pool algae. Although it may be startling to see Water Boatmen swimming around in your pool, these insects are harmless and do not bite and are not poisonous.


The other, more common, type of water bug you may come across is the Backswimmer. Backswimmers are light-colored insects that skim the top of the water. Unlike the Water Boatmen, these insects do not feed on algae but rather on other insects hanging around in the pool water (including water boatmen). While you can swim around with the Water Boatmen with no worries, exercise more caution around the Backswimmer as they can bite.  The feeling of a Backswimmer bite is comparable to a bee sting.

Similarities between Water Boatmen and Backswimmers

  • Both water boatmen and backswimmers can fly.
  • Both come up for air and can drown.
  • Both lay eggs in algae in your pool

If one or both of these critters has taken over your backyard oasis, we’ve outlined a way to get rid of them and keep them from coming back.

Why Do I Have Water Bugs In My Pool?

These types of water bugs in your pool are probably hanging around because of algae growth in your pool water. Oftentimes, they can sense/spot algae before you do! Since water boatmen eat algae and lay their eggs in it, this is a big draw. Since algae draws bugs like water boatmen and others, it’s also a draw for backswimmers who eat the other bugs!

How to Get Rid of Water Bugs

The best way to get rid of either of these pests is eliminate their food supply (algae for water boatmen its algae, other bugs for backswimmers). To do that, you’ll need properly balanced water chemistry and a clean pool. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you rid your swimming pool of bugs like water boatmen and backswimmers quickly and efficiently:

  • First, remove any water bugs in your pool using a skimmer and relocate them away from your pool.
  • Once the bugs are removed, scrub and vacuum your pool to remove dirt, debris, and algae.
  • Shock your pool. (This will kill the algae that water boatmen eat and backswimmers lay eggs in.)
  • Run your pump overnight.
  • Test the water to make sure chlorine and chemical levels are appropriate before you swim again.

Shocking Your Swimming Pool

Pool shocking is a sure way to rid the food source for these insects and drive them away from your pool to somewhere more sustainable for life. To do this you will need the following supplies:

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

Tip: Buying Chlorine Shock in bulk could save you money in the end and you will always have the supplies on hand in the event that the insects return.

To properly shock your pool follow these steps:

  1. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and add 1 lb of pool shock.
  2. Stir the pool shock until it dissolves completely in the bucket.
  3. Ensure your pump is running and pour the dissolved mixture in the water around the perimeter of the pool.
  4. 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 and the treatment is not as effective.

Pool Cover

Shocking your pool will eliminate the algae in the swimming pool forcing Water Boatmen to feed elsewhere. Removing these creatures will also push out Backswimmers as they rely on Water Boatmen as a food source.

Clean up Your Yard

These bugs are attracted to moist areas, and can easily migrate from ditches, dirty birdbaths, and other areas with standing water. Take measures to clean up these areas in your yard and minimize standing water.

Keeping Water Bugs Away

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

Two of the easiest tips is to invest in a high-quality pool cover and follow a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your pool. Regularly cleaning 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.

However, if that’s not enough, try using an algaecide to prevent algae from building up in your pool. Without algae, water bugs cannot sustain life, so keeping your pool clean will prevent the return of insects.

Shop Now:
Sturdy Man Pool Covers – Round
Essential Pool Cover – Round
Sturdy Man Pool Cover – Oval
Essential Pool Cover – Oval

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

Algae, Weed, and Pest Control

5 responses to “Keep Water Bugs Out Of Your Pool”

  1. Lure says:

    I have a 21’ round index. What kind of liner would I need beaded non beaded?p

    • Pool Guru says:

      Hi there. Thanks for reaching out. Sorry for our delay in response. You would need one of our Intex re-lining kits. However, unfortunately, we don’t carry those in 21′ and we aren’t currently offering custom orders for Intex. Let us know how else we can help!

  2. Lure says:

    Intex not index

  3. Lacey brewer says:

    Our pool chemistry is at the right levels.and no algae. We haven’t had any grown water bugs but every time I pull the cover back teeny tiny backswimmer nymphs jump into our pool and cause an infestation . We have a garden nearby and a street light that shines in our yard. Could either one of these be the cause is this and what do we need to do?

    • Pool Guru says:

      Hi Lacey! Sorry for the delay here. Backswimmers can be tricky. The nearby garden and the street light could be potential factors attracting these backswimmer nymphs to your pool. Backswimmers are attracted to lights, and the street light shining in your yard might be drawing them in. Additionally, if the garden has any water sources, it could be providing a breeding ground for these insects.

      To address the issue, here are a few steps you can take:

      Remove standing water: As noted above, check your garden for sources of standing water, such as flower pots, decorative ponds, bird baths, sprinklers, or drainage areas. Eliminating these water sources can discourage backswimmers from breeding in your vicinity.

      Use a pool cover: In addition to your regular pool cover, you may want to try a fine mesh cover that can prevent backswimmers from entering your pool while still allowing water and air circulation.

      Manual removal and regular cleanings: Whenever you notice backswimmer nymphs in your pool, you can use a pool net or skimmer to manually remove them. Regularly skimming the surface of your pool can help prevent a potential infestation.

      If the problem persists or worsens, it may be helpful to consult with a local pool professional, pest control, or entomologist who can provide specific advice tailored to your situation. They will have more expertise in dealing with backswimmer infestations and can offer targeted solutions.

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