Rid Your Pool of Water Bugs

No one likes floating in a pool only to find a bug floating along beside them. If you start to notice insects in your swimming pool’s water, you will want to get rid of them and make sure they don’t come back. The most common types of water bugs that tend to take refuge in pools are called water boatmen and backswimmers. 

Water Boatmen

Water boatmen, also known as corixids, are winged creatures that are oval-shaped and brown or greenish-brown. They usually grow to be no more than half an inch long and have large eyes. Their rear legs are longer than the others and extend forward, past the second set of legs, as they paddle across the water. 

Water boatmen eat mosquito larvae, algae, plant detritus, and other water microorganisms, so they are actually considered beneficial. They do not bite and they are not poisonous. However, finding one in your pool isn’t exactly pleasant. 

If you have found one of these bugs in your pool, it is likely that there is algae in your pool. Water boatmen eat algae and lay their eggs in it. If you don’t see any algae, it might be because it has not yet bloomed to the point that it is visible yet. 

In order to get rid of these bugs, start by removing them with a skimmer and then vacuuming the pool manually. Brush the pool with an algae brush to loosen any algae that may be clinging to the surfaces. Next, test the water to make sure the pH and alkalinity are at the right levels before moving on to the next step. After you have tested the water, it is time to shock the pool. Since your goal is to kill the algae, it is recommended to use at least a double dose of pool shock. Finally, run the pump for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Before swimming again, test the water to make sure the chlorine levels have returned to normal.


Backswimmers, who belong to the family Notonectidae, are long, thin, light- to medium-brown colored bugs. Similar to water boatmen, their back legs are longer than the others and they also have wings. They are typically no larger than half an inch long and they swim upside down. 

Backswimmers are predators, so they eat other bugs, including water boatmen. This means that because you have algae, you probably have water boatmen, and because you have water boatmen, you also have backswimmers. They are not poisonous but they do bite, which feels much like a bee sting.

The best way to get rid of backswimmers is to eliminate their food supply. This means getting rid of the water boatmen inhabiting your pool as well as the algae that the water boatmen feed on, which backswimmers also lay their eggs in. Keep them from returning by following the same steps listed above for water boatmen. 

Rising Sun Pools & Spas

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