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Water bugs aren’t the most dangerous infestation in pools. Parasites and bacteria can cause more harm, but having bugs can indicate you have improperly balanced sanitizer. Since these bugs are drawn to algae and organic matter, having these bugs could mean your pool is unsafe for swimming.

Maintaining proper pool chemistry is the most effective way to prevent and eliminate water bugs. If you have a bug infestation, you’ll need to manually vacuum, scrub, and skim your pool water to ensure you remove all their larvae.

Keep reading if you’re hoping to learn more about how to get rid of water bugs in your pool!

What Are the Different Types of Pool Bugs? 

Pool bugs often look like little beetles swimming in your pool. Most bugs in your pool are black, brown, or grey colored. However, most water bugs are broken down into two varieties:

  • Water Boatmen
  • Backswimmers

These bugs are around the same size and typically like to feed on algae spores and microbes in the water. However, backswimmers and water boatmen have several distinctive qualities that set them apart.

Boatmen are the more benevolent pool bug, even though most people prefer not having them. These water bugs generally get drawn to pools with poor hygiene and many algae spores. These water bugs feed on organic matter like algae and mosquito larvae.

Backswimmers are slightly smaller than most water bugs and propel themselves through the water upside down. This makes them appear to be doing a backstroke with their back legs.

This water bug is a little more aggressive than other bugs in your pool and will even eat water boatmen.

Since pools are wet and sunny environments, they’re attractive spots for water bugs. It’s an ideal breeding and hunting ground for these little bugs. This becomes especially true if you don’t maintain pool hygiene through regular maintenance.

Keep a regular cleaning schedule to prevent water bugs from calling your pool home!

Are Pool Bugs Dangerous in a Swimming Pool? 

It’s not particularly dangerous to have pool bugs in your pool. Both boatmen and backswimmer bugs are more of a nuisance than a dangerous threat to anyone in the swimming pool. Although, backswimmers are more of a nuisance than the boatman bugs.

Backswimmer bugs in your pool can be annoying because they’re known to bite swimmers. While they’re small and not dangerous by any means, they can make swimming very uncomfortable. Their bites are also irritating and likely to cause redness and slight swelling on your skin.

In comparison, boatmen water bugs are harmless and won’t hurt you. Water boatmen are beneficial to water bugs since they eat algae and other organic matter in the water. They also don’t bite, making it easy to ignore and leave alone.

However, regardless of how harmless they are, you don’t want to have a water bug infestation. It can make swimming pools uncomfortable and lead to swimmers getting these bugs tangled in their hair.

Why Do Pools Get Bugs? 

Water bugs, like water boatmen, usually show up because of heavy algae growth. Both backswimmers and water boatmen eat algae clinging to walls or floating on the pool’s surface. If your swimming pool has boatmen bugs, it’s more likely to get backswimmer bugs.

These water bugs feed on the eggs that boatmen lay in the water. Therefore, if you have boatmen in your pool, you’re more likely to get backswimmer bugs.

If your chlorine levels are low, leading to algae growth, then water boatmen will be attracted to these swimming pools. As these bugs lay eggs in the water, they’ll attract backswimmer pool bugs and possibly cause a water bug infestation.

How Can You Get Rid of Pool Bugs? 

Adding shock chemicals evenly distributed in your pool water is an effective way to eliminate water bugs. Getting rid of the algae that draw bugs is how to get rid of water bugs in your pool. Get rid of their food supply, and they’ll be less likely to lay eggs and procreate in your pool.

To get rid of water bugs:

  1. Start by using a water net to collect large organic particles on the surface.
  2. Manually vacuum the pool floor and scrub the walls to eliminate lingering algae growth.
  3. Collect the particles and run your filter to collect the tiny particles.

Next, test your pool water to see the current pH levels and if they need to be adjusted.

Finally, add the appropriate amount of chlorine shock to kill algae and any water bug eggs in the water. Killing the water bugs’ eggs and stopping their food supply is the best way to permanently get rid of water bugs.


Water bugs are mostly harmless, especially if you have water boatmen. Even though they’re pretty harmless and generally considered beneficial since they eat algae, boatmen can be annoying.

They also attract backswimmers, which can harm swimmers if they bite their skin. Regardless of the type of water bugs you have, you should act quickly to get rid of them. Keep your water balanced to prevent algae and thus prevent water bugs from calling your pool their home.

We created an informative article on pool water balance to help you keep and maintain pool hygiene all year round!


Do Pool Filters Remove Bugs in Water? 

Filters can collect pool water bugs, but they will likely get caught in the skimmer. It’s not the most effective tool for removing these insects, but it’s an essential part of pool maintenance. Regularly running your filter will ensure your pool chemicals get evenly dispersed and prevent algae. So, keep your water chemistry balanced and filter clean to prevent water bugs from entering your swimming pool.

How Often Should Swimming Pools be Cleaned to Avoid Bugs? 

You should test your pool water every other day to ensure you have the correct chemical levels. Remove algae and organic material from your pool’s surface to prevent any of their eggs from falling into the pool. Clean your pool every week and test the water regularly to keep water bugs away!

Are There Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pool Bugs?

There aren’t any effective natural methods to get rid of water bugs. However, prevention is the key to successfully keeping these pests away from your pool. Cover your pool whenever you’re not using it, and run your filter for at least eight hours daily.

Is it a Good Idea to Leave Water Boatmen in Your Pool?

Even though boatmen are safe and eat algae, you don’t want to leave them in the pool. These water bugs attract backswimmers, which bite and irritate swimmers!