How To Get Rid Of Water Bugs In Your Swimming Pool (Quick & Easy)


In this post I’m going to show you how to FINALLY get rid of water bugs in your pool … FAST.

When you’re done reading this article you will know:

  • What water bugs really are
  • How to get rid of water bugs in six easy steps
  • How to keep water bugs out of your pool, once and for all

Ready to dive in?

What are water bugs?

There are two common types of water bugs that you’ll probably find in your pool, and rest assured—they are not roaches!

  • Water boatmen: Water boatmen are slim, oval bugs with oar-like back legs that they swim with. Their food sources are all the gross stuff you try to keep out of your pool like algae and mosquito larvae. (source)
  • Back swimmers: These bugs swim on their backs (hence the name) and have longer legs than water boatmen, but they are still oar-like. These usually skim the surface of the water in long strides and feed off of other insects, like water boatmen. Back swimmers, unlike water boatmen, will bite you if handled. (source)

How to get rid of water bugs in 6 steps

I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t care what they are. I just want them gone!” 

I get it! So, let’s get rid of them!

The best way to get rid of any pest is to remove its food source.

So, what do we know?

We know that water boatmen eat algae and back swimmers eat the water boatmen. So, making sure your pool is algae-free will go a long way towards controlling the insect population!

1. Skim the pool

Since most of these bugs hang out around the surface, you should be able to skim most of them off with a net skimmer.

2. Brush the pool

Making sure they don’t have food supply to come back for is key, so scrub down the surface of your pool to remove any pesky algae spores that may be hanging out, ready to bloom.

3. Vacuum the pool

Now that you have brushed off algae and debris from the sides of the pool, use the vacuum to gather up anything loose.

4. Shock the pool

Use a quality pool shock such as calcium hypochlorite to completely kill anything left after cleaning up the pool.

5. Balance pool chemistry

Wait about 24 hours after shock chlorination.

Then use your pool chemistry test kit to make sure all your pool’s pH level, chlorine level and alkalinity levels are in balance. 

6. Vacuum the pool again

This step isn’t mandatory, but I like to take a little bit of extra precaution if I’ve experienced a bug or algae problem.

It’s just to make absolutely sure that there is nothing left for the bugs to feed on in case the chlorine shock killed off something you didn’t remove in the first few steps.

How to keep water bugs out of your pool in 7 steps

Obviously, it would be better if you never had to deal with the little pests in the first place, right?

To discourage them from visiting, you need to keep your pool maintained and make sure you never have anything for them to eat.

Here are a few tips to keep them away:

1. Maintain proper chemistry levels

Maintaining proper chemistry levels is the number one thing you can do to discourage algae growth, thereby eliminating the food source of pesky water bugs. Proper levels should be: 

  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Chlorine. 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
  • Total alkalinity. 80 – 140 ppm

2. Skim your pool daily

It doesn’t take long to use your pool skimmer net and remove debris from the surface of your pool every day.

This helps continually remove algae spores that may have entered your pool and keep them from sticking to the surface and blooming and helps keep your pool clean.

3. Use a liquid dish detergent

Dish soap and water in a spray bottle make an excellent natural bug repellant and it works great for killing water bugs, as it changes the surface tension of the water so the bugs can’t float on the water.

You can use this spray directly on water bugs to kill them and you can also spray a little around the perimeter of your pool to prevent them. But this way, if they do land in your pool, it will kill them and they can then be skimmed out.

4. Use algaecide

Algaecide is a good idea anyway as there are more reasons to get rid of it than just keeping the bugs away.

5. Cover your pool

Use a pool cover whenever your pool is not in use.

This will help keep everything out, including algae and bugs that try to sneak in while you sleep.

6. Maintain your pool pump

If you notice your pool seems a little murkier than usual, or you’re having trouble keeping the chemistry balance, your problem could be the pump.

Clean your filters regularly and check the pump for buildup or mechanical problems.

7. Turn off your pool lights

Just like your porch lights, those pool lights under your water are inviting insects to come take a plunge.

Bottom line

Water bugs are a pretty common annoyance among pool owners, but if you keep your pool as clean as possible and skim it daily, you should be able to control the population.

Keep your pool chemistry in balance and follow our tips.

It could keep your pool bug-free the rest of the year!

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