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How to Get Rid of Bugs In Pool Water

Your backyard swimming pool should be a place where you can relax, have fun with friends and family, and beat the summer heat. However, if your yard attracts a lot of insects, you could be dealing with bugs in pool water all summer long. While bugs found in swimming pools are commonly referred to as “water bugs”, there are a variety of insects and even spiders that find their way into your swimming pool during summer weather. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most commonly found pool bugs and how you can get rid of them. The more you know about common swimming pool bugs the better prepared you can be to both kill them, and prevent them from coming back.

How To Get Rid of Common Water Bugs

We will cover some of the most common bugs found in swimming pools at the end of this article. But to begin, we thought we’d dive right in and tell you how to prevent and get rid of some of the most common pool pests.

There are a variety of approaches you can use. From natural deterrents, to chemicals, how you choose to solve your pest problem may vary depending on your lifestyle and level of infestation.

While there are several different approaches to clearing up water bug infestations, remember that the main sources of bugs in the pool come down to two factors: Algae, and microorganisms. If you tackle both problems, you can help get a handle on almost any common pool bug problems.

Simple Steps to Get Rid of Bugs in Pool Water


Follow these simple steps to free your pool of pests and prevent the return of waterbugs.

Skim Your Pool with a Pool Net

Before you grab your chemicals or your scrub brush, you need to do a rudimentary cleanings. In your swimming pool, this means skimming with a good quality pool net. Collect as much debris and adult bugs as you can from your pool’s surface using a skimmer net. Be as thorough as you can. Taking your time here will make the next steps in the process easier.

Clean Your Pool with a Scrub Brush

Now that your pool is skimmed, it’s time to get scrubbing. Algae buildup can leave residue on the pool coping and waterline tile around your swimming pool. To prevent a resurgence, you will need to make sure these surfaces are scrubbed clean. All surfaces that have contact with your pool water should be cleaned, including covers and ladders.

Vacuum Your Pool

Next, you will need to vacuum your pool. Automatic or manual pool vacuums can be used for this step. Just be sure that whatever you do choose is doing a complete job. Rushing this process can create conditions for a resurgence of bugs in your pool later on.

Chlorine Shock Your Pool

Next, you will need to shock your pool with chlorine. This kills any lingering algae spores or microorganisms that can be floating around in your swimming pool water. High enough levels of chlorine are essential for preventing algae growth and conditions that attract more bugs.

After treating with chlorine, check pool chemical levels and make sure they are high enough. Make any needed adjustments, as too high of a chlorine level can make a pool uncomfortable to swim in.

Repeat Vacuuming

To finish your cleaning process, vacuum your pool once again to catch any settled algae or debris. At this point, all hospitable conditions and larvae left by bugs should have been removed, and you will be left with a clean slate.

Maintain Preventative Conditions

Having a clean pool is a great breath of relief. However, you shouldn’t go through all the work to clean up your pool, only to find more water bugs just a couple weeks later. In order to prevent a resurgence, you should take care to maintain preventative conditions. Not only does this mean maintaining proper chemical levels, but also taking steps to guard your pool against new infestations.

Move planters farther from the pool edge. Cover your pool when not in use. Take the right steps to make sure that rain runoff does not end up in your pool. Every step you take to make your pool less vulnerable to outside elements will decrease the likelihood that bugs will become a problem in your pool.

Most Common Bugs Found in Swimming Pools

From water boatmen to backswimmers and gnats, there are more varieties of swimming pool bugs than you might think. While not all bugs are harmful to humans, all pool bugs are annoying and can reduce the quality of your pool water if not addressed.

Below are ten of the most commonly encountered bugs found in pools, where they come from, and potential issues they can present.

Water Boatmen

One of the most common bugs found in swimming pools across the country are water boatmen. Also known as oar bugs, these pests can live their entire lives in swimming pools and can be hard to prevent. Why is that?

Well, water boatmen live in algae. On the surface, this may seem like an easy fix. Get rid of the algae and get rid of the water boatmen, right? In theory, yes, but water boatmen can actually detect the presence of algae in your swimming pool before you do! This means that even the smallest algae formations that may go unnoticed can attract these pests to your pool.

Once there, water boatmen feed on algae formations and begin to lay eggs, multiplying quickly. They mature quickly, meaning that their numbers can establish quickly and be difficult to get rid of.

Water boatmen can fly, and may also be attracted to outdoor swimming pools due to the common presence of artificial light. Like gnats and other flying insects, the same lighting that sets the ambience for your pool and helps you navigate your backyard also may attract pests.

The presence of water boatmen alone is frustrating, but it can also lead to other pest problems, including another common pool pest–backswimmers.


It’s not called the food chain for nothing. Once you have water boatmen, you are now set up for the next most common pool bug known as the backswimmer. Sometimes referred to as paddle bugs, backswimmers are named for their affinity for swimming upside down in your swimming pool.

Unlike water boatmen, backswimmers do not feed on algae. Instead, they hunt and eat water boatmen bugs and their eggs, as well as other pests. And insects aren’t the only thing they’re taking a bite out of! Unlike water boatmen, which are generally docile, backswimmers are known to bite humans, leaving a painful mark comparable to that of a bee sting.


Springtails, also known as silverfish, are bugs that thrive on moisture. While more commonly seen in your bathroom or damp basement, they can end up in pools as well if you are not careful.

Springtails live in vegetation around your yard with damp soil. Vegetable gardens, container plantings, and decorative flower beds with high levels of regular moisture can be a breeding ground for these pests. If you have these items near your pool, then springtails are known to make the leap from soil to pool water pretty quickly.

In periods of drought or in dry climates, springtails seeking moisture will show up in increasing numbers around your yard.


If there’s a winner for most hated backyard pest, then mosquitoes take the cake. This common backyard bug can quickly become a problem for swimming pool owners. Mosquitoes breed on stale or stagnant water, and if you have a pool, you can have a problem with mosquitoes.

Laying their eggs on the pool’s stagnant surface, mosquitoes breed fast and their impact is felt immediately. The itchy bite of a mosquito is a calling card of summer in many places, but can be worsened if pools are not regularly cleaned.

Additionally, having a high mosquito population in your pool is likely to attract other bugs who eat mosquito larvae (such as backswimmers) to your pool water.

Water Striders

While many other common pool bugs swim through water, the water strider walks on top of water. It’s this habit that has earned them the nickname of “Jesus bugs”. While these pests are harmless and do not bite like other pool bugs such as mosquitoes, they can multiply quickly.

Water striders are attracted to conditions where they can thrive. Namely, they are looking for a food source. This means that water striders are more likely to exist in swimming pools where bugs have already taken up residence.

Water Mites

This next common swimming pool bug may be small, but it can pack a big punch. Water mites, also known as pool mites, are microscopic bugs that feed on algae, or other larvae in your pool. Often introduced to swimming pools by periods of heavy rain, leaving your pool uncovered during inclement weather can be the perfect storm for these bugs.

As it rains, they can be carried from runoff of surrounding vegetation directly into your pool. While they are harmless to people, they can attract biting pool bugs like backswimmers.


The next swimming pool bug doesn’t necessarily live in pool water, but still loves to congregate above its surface. Gnats are tiny, fly-like insects that are attracted to both standing water, and artificial light. Like a moth to flame, trying to relax in a pool at night can be near impossible if gnats have taken hold in your yard.

To make matters worse, gnats bite, creating an itchy, sore spot, similar to that of a mosquito.

Predaceous Diving Beetles

This next pest is a common bug found in swimming pools across the United States, but experiences higher concentrations in the south and southeast. Swimming pool owners in Florida are probably acquainted with this beetle. These bugs use light reflecting on water to navigate. This means that at night, when artificial lights illuminate your swimming pool’s surface, these beetles are drawn to its surface.

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