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Common Swimming Pool Bugs


When you have an outdoor swimming pool, you have to expect that a few bugs will find their unfortunate way into your pool. But what if you have a lot of bugs ending up in your pool?

Can you get rid of them on your own or do you need a bug exterminator to help you? Bugs like that will throw a wrench into a pleasant afternoon under the sun, so let’s talk about what these bugs are and what you can do to keep them away.

Common Swimming Pool Bugs

There are some bugs that are common in swimming pools because they are water bugs. They find food in the water and spend a lot of their time swimming around. As much as they like the water, you definitely don’t want them swimming around with you.

Water Boatman

A water boatman is a brownish, oval-shaped bug that is pretty much harmless to humans. The only threat it really poses is making your pool look gross, but there’s another, slightly more dangerous bug that tends to follow the water boatman around. So if the water boatman is around, chances are that less pleasant bugs are as well.

But the water boatman itself won’t hurt you. It mostly swims around the surface of the water, propelling itself with its oar-like legs. Honestly, the main reason it wants to be in your pool is that it wants to eat the algae growing there. Algae isn’t a great thing to have in your pool, so finding water boatmen in your pool is actually a warning sign that your pool needs a good cleaning.


So, the water boatman isn’t so bad on its own. It’s kind of unpleasant to look at, but it won’t hurt you. Backswimmers though, backswimmers are not so nice. They look similar to water boatmen, but they are longer, can blend in with their surroundings more, and use their long legs to swim on their backs (which is how they get their name).

Oh, and they eat water boatmen. Instead of peacefully eating algae, backswimmers are predators that follow water boatmen pretty much anywhere they go. You might be thinking that if they eat the water boatmen, then that’s fewer bugs you have to deal with, so let them do their thing. The problem is that backswimmers will also bite you if you get in their way, and their bites feel like bee stings, so it’s best to avoid backswimmers.

Backswimmers will also lay their eggs in or near water, so if you don’t want to deal with a lot more backswimmers later, get rid of the ones in your pool now.

Water Strider

Water striders are black with small bodies and spindly legs. They, like water boatmen, like to eat the algae in your pool, though they sometimes eat small insects as well. They won’t hurt you and may actually avoid you if you come near to them. The really interesting thing about these bugs is that they don’t actually swim the way water boatmen and backswimmers do – they walk on the water. They can do this because they don’t break the surface tension of the water when they touch it. The tricky thing is catching them because they can move quickly across the surface of the water.

Non-water Bugs

While the water bugs are the most common ones to find in a swimming pool, it’s also normal to find the occasional wasp, ant, or spider in your pool as well. These bugs should drown eventually because they aren’t built for swimming. If these bugs are a frequent problem, you may need a bug exterminator to help you keep them away from your home.

How to Prevent Swimming Pool Bugs

There are some things you can do on your own to prevent water bugs from taking over your pool. Most of them are simple things, and if you do them consistently, you shouldn’t have much problem with bugs. But sometimes you might need more help getting rid of bugs in and around your pool, and that’s when you’ll want to call a bug exterminator.


Because most water bugs are attracted to algae, chlorine is a good way to prevent the bugs. Chlorine will kill algae before it can grow much, and if the algae can’t grow, it won’t attract water bugs. Shocking your pool also involves chlorine – you just raise the chlorine level high and fast to kill any bacteria that might be there.

Cover Up

When we say to cover up, we don’t mean with sunscreen – although you should do that too. What we mean though is to cover the pool when you aren’t using it. Sure, the pool might look prettier when it’s open and the sun is sparkling on it, but it’s also attracting a lot more bugs that way. Not to mention collecting dirt and grass and leaves. So cover the pool to keep it as clean as possible.

Keep the Pool Clean

A clean pool is a safe pool, and it doesn’t attract many pests. Aside from using chlorine to clean the pool, you should also frequently skim the surface to collect any floating debris. And you’ll need to vacuum the pool often as well. You can keep an automated vacuum in the pool when you aren’t swimming, but it will miss spots, so you’ll need to vacuum it yourself as well.

Call a Bug Exterminator

You can deal with a few bugs on your own, but when you have a lot of bugs showing up, they can be a lot harder to handle. That’s the time to call a bug exterminator. Not only will they be able to help you get rid of the bugs invading your pool, but they will also be able to help you prevent the bugs as well.