(5 Simple Steps) Get Rid of Water Bugs In Your Pool

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

Article Summary: How to Get Rid of Water Bugs In Your Pool with 3 Simple Tactics!

How To Get Rid Of Water Bugs

How To Get Rid Of Water Bugs In Your Pool?

Water bugs are gross. No one wants to see something similar in appearance to a cockroach floating around in a pool where they and their family swim in. And even if you’re one of those brave, not-so-easily grossed out types, there’s no denying that these bugs often come to bearing bacteria and diseases which can pose serious health risks.

If you find your pool infested with water bugs, look no further. This article will cover some of the most common types of water bugs, what causes them to move into your pool, and how to deal with them once and for all.

Types of water bugs:

Many people often mistake water bugs as simply cockroaches going for a swim. Although very similar in appearance, the fact that these bugs are primarily aquatic should tell you that they’re not quite in the same league as everyday cockroaches. 

Though there are many classifications of water bugs, below are the top 4 most common species that you’re likely to run into” 

1) Giant Water Bugs, AKA Electric Light Bugs

Giant Water Bug

Often mistaken as a cockroach or beetle, these types of water bugs are flat in appearance and can grow up to 2 inches long, making them one of the largest species of bug in the USA. They are also one of the more aggressive forms of bugs, preying on anything from other aquatic insects to even small fish. 

Under the head, the Giant Water Bug sports a short beak that is used to attack their prey and is known to eat up to 50 times their body weight.

2) Back Swimmers

Back Swimmer Pool Bug

These insects differ from the others since, as the name implies, they swim on their backs. They can be identified by the color of their wings which is generally lighter in color than their legs. 

Like the Giant Water Bug, this species of water bug are carnivorous – preying on other insects or even larger aquatic animals.

3) Water Striders

Water Strider Pool Bug

4) Water Scorpion

Despite what the name might imply, the Water Scorpion is no scorpion at all. Instead, it is an aquatic insect that has a pair of wings. The reason for the name is due to its forelimbs which resemble the pincers of a scorpion.

There is also a long tube extending from its tale which is used for breathing, resembling the stinging tail of the scorpion too. 

All this makes for quite the scary thing to come across when splashing around in your pool.

5) Water Boatman

Water Boatman

One of the most common types of water bugs, Water Boatman can often be seen swimming in groups on open waters such as ponds, small lakes, and yes, swimming pools. They are flat in shape and slightly elongated, sporting hair on their legs which allows them to swim easily on the water’s surface. 

They feed primarily on algae and similar materials which might be growing on the walls of the pools or floating at the surface.

So what attracts them to the pool?

Disgusting as though it might be, you’re probably wondering what you did to deserve such an invasion from these little critters. Well, the answer is not what you did but what you did not do. 

The main reason why your pool is attracting water bugs is algae and microbes which have been left unchecked. These creatures feed off of the algae and frequently lay their eggs in them as well. If you wish to avoid water bugs, then ensuring your pool is algae and bacteria-free as much as possible is the key.

Doing so will eliminate their possible source of food as well as prevent an environment that’s conducive to nesting.

How to get rid of water bugs in your pool:

As stated above, water bugs land and breed in your pool because they’re attracted to the algae and microbes growing in it. Algae forms when there is a chemical imbalance in the pool.

If you’re at that point when water bugs and algae are already present, we’re sorry but it’s going to take some elbow grease and patience to deal with it effectively. If you do the following steps correctly though, you should have a spotless pool that’s safe for swimming in a little under 48 hours.

Step 1 - Skim

Pool Skimmer

Using a pool skimmer, pick up any bugs, debris, and algae floating at the surface of your pool. Most of the bugs are likely to be found on the surface anyway so skimming can help remove the bulk of the job easily.

Step 2 - Scrubbing Time

Swimming Pool Brush

With both a vacuum and the trusty brush, it’s time to start scrubbing the walls and floor of the pool as effectively as possible. Many people like to drain their pool first to make it easier but a powerful pool vacuum is just as effective.

When trying to get rid of algae, use chlorine tablets and a brush. Scrub the chlorine forcefully into the algae patched to kill them at their roots. This will also eliminate any nets that the bugs might have made there.

Step 3 - Give those bugs the shock of their lives!

How to Shock Your Pool

Shocking your pool with large doses of chlorine is one of the most effective ways to deal with bugs and algae. Even if you feel that you’ve scrubbed every nook and cranny of the pool, shocking it can help ensure even the most microscopic traces of algae don’t have a chance of returning. 

For a medium-sized pool, it is generally recommended that you use about 20 liters of liquid chlorine or 2 kilograms of stabilized chlorine. It is best to do this overnight because the Sun’s rays have been known to diminish the potency of chlorine. 

Once you have shocked your pool, let the chlorine work for about 8 hours.

Step 4 - Run the filter and check the chemicals

A few hours after shocking your pool, run the filter to ensure the chemicals are evenly distributed by the circulating water. This is also a good way to get the dead debris out of your pool too. Let the filter run for the whole 8 hours that the chlorine is working its magic. 

In the morning after, you can run chemical tests with your pool testing kit. Take note of pH levels, alkalinity, and chlorine levels and make the necessary adjustments to maintain the balance between all these.

Step 5 - Maintain proper chemical levels 

Measure The Chemicals In Your Swimming Pool

Once you have done this, all that’s left is to maintain the cleanliness of the pool and ensure the power chemical levels. Test your pool’s chemistry at least once a week and invest in good quality pool vacuums to eliminate any bacteria-causing debris right away.

Take preventative measures:

Of course, prevention is always better than treatment. If you’ve just recently acquired a pool, or would like to know more about how you can avoid water bugs possibly invading your family’s source of fun, then here are some tips to help:

  • Every time we swim, some of the germs we carry on our bodies get mixed in with the water of the pool. The wind also blows debris into the pool. Both of these things affect the pool’s chemical balance and make it more likely for algae to grow and for water bugs to move in. Test your pool at least a few times a week and make the necessary adjustments. You can also shower before getting into the pools.

  • To be extra sure, you can also use an algaecide from time to time.

  • Skim your pool daily, removing any debris that might have landed on it. It’s a simple chore that goes a long way to ensuring your pools stay in the best shape possible. 

  • You can invest in a pool cover. Pool covers are great for protecting the cleanliness of the pools, especially when it’s not in use. They come in many different varieties with some being fully automated while others being nothing more than a tarp you roll out.

  • Invest in quality pool filters and be sure to clean them regularly. Sometimes algae develops because the pool owner has neglected to clean out the filters and the junk accumulated has started seeping back into the pool. Cleaning your filter regularly prevents this and ensures your pool is cleaning itself as effectively as possible.

  • Robotic pool vacuum cleaners are great and hassle-free ways to ensure your pool is cleaned constantly. Many of them are made with all sorts of new tech which can make pool maintenance a walk in the part. If you’re a busy person and don’t have too much time for pool work, then getting one of these machines might be exactly what you need.

Bottom Line

And that was how to get rid of waterbugs in your pool and more. Though they’re gross, they’re by no means difficult to deal with.

With some time, the right cleaning products, and a lot of scrubbing, you can get rid of them without too much hassle. And by applying the things you learned in this article, we do not doubt that you’ll never have to deal with water bugs again after that.

P.S. While we're on the topic of keeping unwanted critters out of your pool, have you also considered the humble frog? 

These amphibious friends may seem harmless, but they can quickly become unwanted guests in your pool.

They're attracted to the cool water and the abundance of insects that are drawn to the pool lights.

Plus, their slimy bodies can contaminate the water and make it less enjoyable for swimming.

If you're finding yourself sharing your pool with frogs, be sure to check out our helpful guide on how to keep frogs out of your pool. It's packed with tips and tricks to keep your pool frog-free and sparkling clean all season long.

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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