Bugs in Your Swimming Pool (How to Get Rid of Them and Keep Them Out of Your Pool)

bug in pool

Nobody enjoys finding uninvited guests in their swimming pool. The presence of bugs in your pool is often an indicator that your chemistry is off. Certain bugs, like water boatmen, feed off algae before it’s even visible to the eye. Alongside water boatmen, backswimmers are the other most common pool pest that can invade your pool. Let’s take a closer look at both of these bugs.

Water Boatmen

What Are They

These brown-green, oval-shaped bugs look almost alien-like with their giant eyes and long, spindly legs. These legs help them float and paddle across your pool while their wings give them the ability to buzz around, making them one of the more annoying pests to share a pool day with.

Water boatmen love to hang around ponds and are great for algae control. If you spot these pests around your pool, it could indicate that algae are growing in your pool — even before it is visible!

How They End Up in Your Pool

Their love of algae is what brings water boatmen to your pool. So, while they may be irritating to have around, they’re doing their part to alert you of algae growth and munch away at it slowly.

Water boatmen are also attracted to light, so if your pool is well-lit, it may be seen as a target.


What Are They

Backswimmers are skinny brown insects with long legs that swim or fly across your water, wreaking havoc. They are similar in shape and size to water boatmen but can be distinguished by the way they swim — on their backs.

Backswimmers prey on other insects, like water boatmen, and will take a bite of whatever is near. And while their bites are not poisonous, they are very painful!

How They End Up in Your Pool

Like most other pests, backswimmers are always on the hunt for their next meal. If your pool is overrun with insects, you can bet that backswimmers are on their way to take over and feast.

How to Eliminate Water Bugs from Your Pool

Let’s kick these water bugs out of the pool and out of sight!

Skim Them Out

Every pool owner loves their handy dandy skimmer. Pull it out and simply scoop up insects as you see them, depositing them far from the pool. If you’d rather kill the bugs before skimming them out, try the dish soap method.

Add dish soap to the pool — don’t worry, the water won’t get all sudsy as long as you stick to 1/8th of a cup per 10,000 gallons of water — and allow it to sit for a day or two. This will kill the bugs, making them easier to skim away.

Manually Vacuum Up Debris

After you’ve skimmed, use your vacuum across the entire pool. This step will remove any lingering sediment and will get rid of eggs that could potentially start a new infestation.

Brush Off Walls and Floor to Loosen Algae

If you’re dealing with a water boatmen and backswimmer problem, you’re likely dealing with an algae problem as well. Using an algae brush, scrub the floor and walls of your swimming pool to loosen up algae. This will allow for easier removal of the algae.

Remember: Algae aren’t always visible, so brush every inch of the pool to be safe!

Test Water & Adjust Chemical Balance If Needed

As a pool owner, you know the importance of chemically balanced water. An imbalance could have been the cause of your algae and insect problem!

At this point in the bug removal process, test your water and adjust it as needed. Here’s a refresher on what the levels should look like:

  • Chlorine: 1.0-3.0 PPM (parts per million)
  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Total Alkalinity: 80-120 PPM
  • Calcium Hardness: 200-400 PPM

Double or Triple Shock The Pool

Shocking a pool involves increasing the chlorine levels in order to kill algae, bacteria, and bugs. We recommend using calcium hypochlorite, but keep in mind that there are different types of shock for different algae growths.

Read More: Pool Algae and How to Kill Any Type and/or Color

Add Algaecide for Extra Protection

Algaecide uses chemicals to eliminate algae for good. It can also be used as a preventative measure for those looking to keep algae out from the get-go. Be sure to find the right algaecide for the type of algae growing in your pool, and follow the instructions on the packaging for the best results.

How to Keep Water Bugs Out of Your Pool

Now that your infestation is gone, it’s time to keep it that way!

Keep Your Chlorine Levels Adjusted to Prevent Algae Growth

One of the most effective ways to prevent bugs from invading your pool is by preventing algae growth. You can accomplish this by keeping your chlorine levels adjusted to the recommended ranges.

Clean Your Pool Regularly

Along with properly balanced water, it is important to keep your pool as clean as possible.

Bugs and algae are attracted to all the debris and icky things that can quickly accumulate in your pool if you’re not careful.

Try to skim the pool daily and regularly vacuum and brush thoroughly.

Use a Pool Cover

If your pool is constantly exposed, there is a higher chance that pests will move in. A cover is a great way to keep your pool tucked away and protected from debris and bugs. This pool upgrade is one you’ll be happy to have!

Turn Off Lighting By Pool When You Go to Bed

While your pool’s lighting looks cool at night, the brightness attracts all kinds of critters, including water bugs. Do your best to remember to turn these lights off overnight to avoid inviting in more pests.

Keep Vegetation Well-Maintained & Away from the Pool

Overgrown grass, branches, and bushes are a bridge for insects wanting to enter your pool. Keep these plants trimmed back to keep bugs away! You can also use bug zappers and bug traps around the pool.

Pool Cleaning Services

Looking for the best of the best to help keep your pool bug-free? Contact your local ASP to learn more about our cleaning services!

Disclosure: While basic pool care is encouraged for swimming pool owners, it is highly recommended you consult with a professional pool service like America's Swimming Pool Co. for any issues like pool algae that arise.