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How to deal with Water Bugs In your Pool: Full Review

How to deal with Water Bugs In Pool

Few bring your swimming pool season to a screeching halt faster than bugs. If you have water bugs in the pool, you definitely have a problem. This isn’t one you should necessarily despair about. However, you will want to get to work addressing the matter as soon as possible. Bugs in the water of your swimming pool can mean a number of scenarios. You want to narrow it down to the actual offender sooner, rather than later. It is important to realize that we are not just talking about something unsightly. As gross as these things are, they can also cause issues impacting the general health of your pool.

You would think that with the various chemicals in your water, nothing would ever want to set up a habitat there. Yet certain insects consider your water to be a wonderful source for sustenance. They can like it so much, they will elect to set up shop. Meaning, they start to breed. This is how the problem escalates into something as unpleasant as it can be expensive.

Birds and frogs present their own problems. However, those are few and far between, and easy enough to deal with. Bugs can be a real pain for a number of very real reasons.

Thankfully, dealing with them is simple enough. Let’s start by understanding what we mean when we talk about water bugs in pool.

What Are Water Bugs?

In the first place, we are talking about water bugs and not just bugs in general. We are referring to a unique threat to the health and comfort of your swimming pool. Water bugs are sometimes mistaken for cockroaches. They do resemble them to a small degree, with flat bodies that resemble chubby ovals. Both water bugs and cockroaches also have similar-looking antennae. However, water bugs have antennae which are considerably less prominent than that of a cockroach. Water bugs are also considerably darker. Some of them are in fact black.

You can also note water bugs for generally being a good deal larger than cockroaches, as well. The largest example of a water bug can prove to be three times as big as the largest cockroach.

While the water bug is fairly distinctive, things can still get very confusing very quickly. This is due to the fact that a water bug is something of a blanket term. There are in fact a few different types of swimming pool-related pests that we can put under the larger water bug umbrella. It can be helpful when trying to get a grip on this problem to know the specific type of water bug you are dealing with.

We’re only going to cover the main examples here. This information can easily illuminate just what these troublesome insects are capable of. It can certainly go a long way towards making you understand just how serious this problem can be. Whether you deal with the problem on your own (very doable), or opt to seek professional assistance, what really matters is that you act swiftly.

What Can Water Bugs Do?

There are two major types of water bugs you want to watch out for. The first thing you will want to be able to do is to identify them. The second step will be to take additional steps to eradicate them from your swimming pool once and for all.

For the moment, we’re just going to run down the specifics of the water boatman and the backswimmer:

  • The water boatman: If you find water boatmen in your swimming pool, it really isn’t the end of the world. They can still be annoying, but they aren’t nearly as unpleasant as the second type of water bug we’re going to discuss. These insects are also known as corixids, and it’s not you specifically that they are interested in. They tend to have a green-brown color about them, and they love to eat algae. In other words, if you’re also dealing with an algae problem, it is also within the realm of possibility that you’re going to be putting up with water boatmen, as well. However, water boatmen are technically being helpful, as they can actually remove a significant amount of the algae in your pool. They can even go so far as to keep your algae problem in check. However, the mere presence of these admittedly-creepy bugs can be more than most can stand. At the same time, there is no guarantee that they will eliminate your algae or any guarantee that they will ever leave on their own. Just keep in mind that these insects are NOT poisonous. Nor do they bite. It can also be helpful to note that algae can be microscopic. This means that even if you don’t see algae, you can still have it enough to attract water boatmen. They also like to lay their eggs in the algae.
  • The backswimmer: These are the insects you’re going to want to worry about. Part of the Notonectidae family, they are long, thinnish insects. They are often light in color, but some can be more of a medium brown in their appearance. Others still can be quite dark. You can note these insects by the fact that their back legs are longer than the rest of their legs. These long legs are essentially designed to let them skirt across the water with ease. Even worse is the fact that they can fly. They can swim upside down, which can be unsettling to see when there is a group of them. The way they swim is also the easiest way to tell them apart from water boatmen. If they’re swimming upside down, then you have a carnivorous insect that will devour the water boatmen, as well as any other bugs that potentially come into the area. They have also been known to bite humans, particularly if they feel threatened. This means if you happen to get in their way in any form or fashion.

What this means is that you can have algae, water boatmen, and potentially backswimmers at the exact same time. This can create a very frustrating situation.

How To Get Rid Of Water Bugs

Let’s break down the best ways to get rid of each of these water bug nuisances:

  • Water boatmen: These are the guys you really want to focus on if you’re dealing with all three of the issues we’ve highlighted in this article. The first thing you are going to need to do is essentially remove their food source. This means getting rid of the algae. In case you don’t already know how to get rid of algae, there are a few steps you are going to need to keep in mind. Your answer to the algae problem specifically is going to be dependent upon the degree of your algae. If it is serious enough to be visible, you will need to remove the algae and bugs with your net, your skimmer, a powerful manual vacuum, and perhaps even your algae brush. You will then need to shock your swimming pool, scrub and clean the area again. You will probably want to do a double shock, which means two pounds of your shocking product per 10, 000 gallons. If the water has turned dark green, you may want to sue as many as four pounds per 10, 000 gallons. Once you’ve shocked your pool, which should always be done at dusk, you are going to start running the pump. This should be done for around twenty-four hours. You will probably want to test one more time. Additional work may be required. The idea is to eliminate not only the algae, but the dirt, debris, and current crop of insects. Once you’ve destroyed your algae, the other problems should disappear, as well.
  • Backswimmers: Again, eliminating algae should take care of all other water bug issues. This includes those awful backswimmers. Combining water and hot oil in a bucket can slowly trap and suffocate them, but it can also kill the water boatman. This won’t necessarily eliminate your algae problem. So, really, the best way to go about things, if you don’t feel like simply moving the water boatmen and cleaning/shocking your pool, is to just destroy the algae.

Once you’ve gotten rid of your water bugs, your next thought will naturally be to take steps to ensure they never return. The first step is to simply keep up ongoing pool maintenance. This means doing everything possible to maintain optimal levels for alkalinity, pH levels, and so forth. This will prevent algae from ever becoming a problem in the first place.

If you’re serious about making sure algae is never a problem for you, there is also the matter of using an algaecide. This is an additional step you can take, but some would make the argument that it is not necessary.


Water bugs are not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. However, they can be part of a larger, more expensive problem, if something is not done to get rid of them in one way or another.

Posted in pool maintenance

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