Common Types of Swimming Pool Bugs

If you have a swimming pool, you might face a lot of different bugs. Swimming pool bugs are one of the most common challenges in pest control. If bugs get into your pool once, it is hard to get rid of them. 

In this article, you will find out what type of bugs to expect in your swimming pool and how to deal with them.

6 Types of swimming pool bugs most pool owners are facing

Every swimming pool owner will face a bug at some point. But you do not have to be scared about it. Your swimming pool’s exposure to bugs will be short-lived with the correct information and preparation. 

First, let’s discuss the most common swimming pool bugs types:

1. Water Boatman

Water Boatman

Water boatmen bugs usually live in ponds and rivers. This is why they like swimming pools; it is very similar to their natural habitat. Water boatman feeds on algae which can be found in the pool. According to Britannica, “When feeding, it scoops up algae and other small organisms with its spoon-shaped, fringed front legs.”

The bad thing is that a water boatman can detect the existence of algae before you can, so sometimes, it is hard to predict their arrival. Water boatmen tend to lay eggs in algae, and they reproduce quickly. On the brighter side, seeing water boatmen can be an early sign for you to deal with algae. 

Overall, it is tough to remove a water boatman. If you want to deter water boatmen, keep the pool clean, kill algae, and prevent algae growth. 

Another trick is to remove swimming pool lights because they attract water boatmen and other bugs. 

2. Giant Water Bugs

swimming pool bug water bugGiant water bugs might be the scariest on this list due to their appearance. National Park Service reports that these insects are oval-shaped. They capture and hold prey with pincer-like front appendages. In addition, they use their hind legs to swim. 

Giant water bugs are also known as “toe-biters”. A giant water bug bite can be very painful; however, gladly for us, it is not life-threatening for humans. Still, be aware of bug bites because giant water bugs have to carry poison. Ironically, they are generally scared of humans, so if you don’t start chasing them, there is a high chance they won’t bite you. 

Giant water bugs get in your pool only if there are already other bugs. Smaller bugs are a food source for them, and they will make sure to eat most bugs in your pool. While giant water bugs are beneficial insects, they are still not desirable in your pool. 

In addition to bugs, the biggest attraction for a giant water bug in your pool are the lights around it. However, if you kill other bugs, remove the lights, and use a pool cover, you can prevent giant water bugs from swimming pools

3. Backswimmers


Backswimmers are common swimming pool bugs that visit pools to feed on different bugs. Water boatmen attract backswimmers. So, if you have water boatmen, you will soon get back swimmer bugs. 

Back swimmer bugs are not very good flyers are they are disoriented if they are not in the water. They tend to swim in pools due to their hind legs. Backswimmers prefer to stay on the bottom of the pool, where they feed on microorganisms and algae. 

Backswimmers also eat mosquito larvae, some fish, and various insects. 

Backswimmers are also very attracted to artificial lights. Therefore, you will have to either use the lights as their repellent and killer or remove them to prevent bugs. 

Remember, back swimmer bugs can sting, and their bite may be more painful than bee stings. 

4. Predaceous diving beetles

Predaceous diving beetles

Predaceous diving beetles or water beetles like water; hence they are attracted to swimming pools. Diving beetles are oval-shaped and have smooth, shiny backs. Diving beetles may be black, olive, or brown. 

Diving beetles fly at night, and they find your pool through the light reflection in the water. In addition to their love of water, the food source attracts them to swimming pools. They mainly feed on different bugs that may be in pool water. 

5. Springtails


This particular bug loves moisture and damp places, so it may end up in your pool. If there is a springtail in the pool, check other places in your house. This species breeds in damp areas such as basements and bathrooms. 

Springtails can be attracted to a thick layer of vegetation in your pool. If there are springtails around your house, they will get into the pool to feed themselves. 

6. Small swimming pool bug types

This list includes the big-size bugs commonly seen in swimming pools. However, smaller bugs are harder to notice but not less harmful.

So, watch out for these smaller bugs:

  • Water Striders

water strider swimming pool bugWater striders, also commonly known as Jesus bugs, are small bugs with unique skills. As National Wildlife Federation has reported, they can “walk” on the water surface. They have three sets of legs and use them to catch their prey. Water striders feed on insects and larvae. 

  • Thrips

Thrips are tiny bugs that feed on plant matter. The pool is not a natural habitat for them; however, dead algae and plant matter can be very attractive. 

The disadvantage of thrips is that they can stick to your body. So while they are not harmful to humans, it is still not desirable to have them in a pool. 

What causes water bugs?

If you have water bugs in your swimming pool, your pool is not completely clean. Algae and aquatic organisms, even invisible to you, are the ones that attract water bugs. 

Keep in mind that you might not be able to see algae, but it does not mean it is not in your swimming pool. As mentioned earlier, the advantage of the bugs is that they warn you that your pool needs cleaning. 

Water bugs feed on algae spores and microorganisms in your pool. If you remove algae, then you can get rid of water bugs.  

How to get rid of swimming pool bugs

There are several different methods to prevent bugs from a pool. But, first, let’s discuss how you can deal with existing bugs. 

  • How to get rid of swimming pool bugsRemove bugs from the surface of a pool – you can do this with a pool skimmer. Skim the device over the surface of the water, and you will remove a majority of visible bugs that are either dead or cannot fly. This is the first and most essential step in clearing the pool from bugs. 
  • Remove organic matter from the pool – top up with pool chemicals and raise chlorine levels. This way, you can remove the thin layer of microorganisms and algae that attract various insects. Increasing the chlorine level is also called shock chlorination. This process will kill most organic matter in a pool. 
  • Clean the bottom of the pool – clean your pool thoroughly and manually. For this purpose, use a pool brush to clean the bottom of the floor where most dirt ends up and builds up over time. Also, it is a good idea to vacuum the pool using a vacuum hose manually. 

Remember that using chemicals to clean a pool is tricky, and you have to be very careful. Check out CDC’s guidelines for maintaining correct pH and free chlorine levels in the pool. 

DIY options for removing bugs 

You can use DIY solutions and bug-repellent products to address swimmer bugs issues.

  • Dish soap – putting a bit of dish soap in the water will help get rid of water boatmen and black swimmer bugs. However, be aware of changes in the pool chemistry. 
  • Oil – you can use either vegetable or baby oil. When you pour oil into the pool, it will create a thin layer that will act as a barrier for insects and more bugs. As a result, tiny creatures will die, and you will be free of bugs. The downside of this option is that cleaning the pool will be pretty tricky. Additionally, oil can get stuck in filters. 

Products for repelling bugs

You can use sprays to kill and repel swimming bugs. 

You can try a surface skimmer product that removes organic matter from the swimming pool. This will cut the bugs’ food source, eventually decreasing their number.  

Are water bugs in the pool dangerous?

Generally speaking, you should not be afraid of water bugs in the pool. However, there are different water bugs, and they have different attitudes towards humans.

For example, water boatmen are quite fearless among humans; they do not feel threatened and do not bite. It may be unpleasant having them around but have no fear. 

Unlike water boatmen, backswimmer bugs bite humans. Because of this habit, they are often referred to as “water wasps”. While the backswimmer’s bite is painful and feels like a bee sting, it is not poisonous and harmful. 

Frequently asked questions

Where do water bugs come from in pools?

Waterbugs can fly quite well, so technically, they can come from anywhere. These insects want to find water sources where they can get food. Waterbugs mainly feed on microorganisms and algae, which can be found in your pool.   

What are pool mites?

Pool mites or water mites are tiny red or orange organisms you might encounter near or in your pool. Water mites can be very annoying and very beneficial for your pool.

On the one hand, water mites reproduce exceptionally quickly, so getting rid of them is quite a challenge. They feed on algae, and that is the main reason why they invade your pool. On the other hand, they eat other insects’ eggs, which is beneficial because they prevent other insects from multiplying. 

Generally, it is not worth having water mites in your pool, even with its benefits. Cover your swimming pool during the rain because water mites usually appear after rainy days. 

Why do I have so many bugs in my pool?

There are bugs in your swimming pool because it is not clean enough. It does not mean that your pool is dirty, but simply not extremely clean. 

Bugs are attracted to algae and microorganisms that grow in your pool. Therefore, your pool is a food source for bugs. Even if you cannot see algae, that does not mean it is not there. However, keeping the pool so clean is complicated that bugs won’t find anything attractive there. This is why you should use different methods to deter water bugs. 

Final thoughts – What should you do to get rid of swimming pool bugs?

The best policy for getting rid of a swimming pool bug is prevention. First, clean the pool regularly and use cover to secure it from dirt, debris, and bugs. Then, if bugs still invade your pool, you can use various commercial and DIY products to kill and repel bugs. 

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