How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Your Pool (6 Proven Tips)

Water bugs in the pool are unsavory and, unfortunately, hard to avoid. In addition, some bugs can bite and be toxic. But how can you get rid of the insects from your swimming pool and prevent them from entering it again?

Swimming water bugs are best removed from the pool with a skimmer. The skimmer must have a flap so that the insects cannot swim back into the pool water. If you don’t have a skimmer, you must catch the insects with a pool net. A pool cover can be used to keep water beetles away from the pool.

I will explain how to permanently remove the water bugs and keep them away from your swimming pool.

1. Use the skimmer against water bugs in the pool

Many pool owners try to remove insects from their pool with a net.

This may work for bees and wasps that have already drowned, but not for water bugs that are still happily swimming.

The water bugs would simply swim out of the pool net or fly away. In the worst case, they end up in your pool again.

No, it won’t work that way!

A much more efficient method is to use a surface skimmer.

All floating insects are sucked out of the pool water and caught in the basket with the skimmer. The only important thing is that you use a skimmer with a flap.

If you use a skimmer without a hatch, the insects will swim back into the pool as soon as the pool pump is turned off.

Let the pool pump run for 6 to 8 hours and see if it worked to remove the water boatmen bugs and backswimmers from your pool.

Tip: The backswimmers may be poisonous, but that doesn’t mean you have to kill them. These are useful living beings that contribute to the balance in nature.

I recommend that you free the insects later in a nearby pond.

2. Clean the pool floor with the vacuum cleaner

Some water bugs stay on the pool floor and eat the algae. Here it becomes difficult to suck up these insects with a surface skimmer.

But you can open the floor drain and try to remove the insects from your water.

If you don’t have a floor drain in your swimming pool, you can use a pool vacuum to remove the water bugs with it.

The pool vacuum is only helpful for insects that have already died. You will find it difficult to catch live insects with the floor vacuum.

However, cleaning the pool floor with a vacuum is important.

With the pool vacuum, you remove a large part of the organic food from the pool, and in the best case, the bugs are looking for a new place to live.

Tip: If you remove a large number of insects out of the pool, then set up the filter system to empty so that the insects are flushed directly out of the water cycle.

3. Brush the pool and remove algae

Most of the dirt was sucked out of the pool in the second step, and now it’s time to scrub the pool to remove the remaining algae.

Pick up a suitable pool brush and scrub the floor and walls in your pool.

In a concrete or tile pool, I recommend using a steel brush.

With vinyl and liner pools, you shouldn’t use the steel brush and take the soft pool brush – this way, you can be sure that the pool is not damaged.

Tip: Let the filter system run during this so that the dissolved algae are filtered out directly.

4. Use a pool shock against the water bugs

Once you’ve scrubbed your pool thoroughly, it’s time for the pool shock – I explain exactly how this works in the article that you can access under the link.

The chlorine shock removes all organic substances, and the insects have no reason to stay in your pool – unless they have been removed beforehand by the skimmer.

When you shock your pool, it is crucial that you use non-stabilized chlorine – no di-chlorine and no tri-chlorine.

You can also shock your pool with bleach.

Liquid chlorine is best suited for this, whereby the pool shock can also be done with other types of chlorine.

Tip: The non-stabilized chlorine breaks down due to the sun’s UV rays. Use the chlorine shock in the pool, preferably at sunset or in the evening.

5. Run the pool pump against insects in the pool

After the pool has been shocked with chlorine or another agent, the filter system must run for 24 to 36 hours.

This is important so that the chlorine is evenly distributed in the pool and can slowly break down to normal levels again.

In the meantime, brush your pool a second or third time while the pool pump is still running to remove the last remains of algae.

You can only swim in your pool again when the chlorine level is below 1.5 ppm before bathing should be stopped – a high chlorine level in the swimming pool is dangerous for your health.

Tip: When filtering, it is recommended to use a flocculant in the pool. This will improve the filter performance of the system.

6. Test and treat water

You made it soon.

In the next step, you have to test the water in the pool and, if necessary, optimize the following parameters.

  • Alkalinity: The ideal level is 80 – 120 ppm.
  • pH level: Should be between 7.2 – 7.6.
  • Water hardness: 200 – 400 ppm are okay.

As a beginner, you can use simple test strips but expect wrong results here.

The far better method is to measure the pool water with an electronic water tester.

Congratulation! You’re done.

The pool should now be free of algae and crystal clear. The insects are gone and have no reason to feel at home in your swimming pool.

To ensure that the insects don’t return, I have a few extra tips on keeping the water bugs away from the pool. Read more about this in the text.

How to keep insects away from the pool

The best way to deal with water bugs in the pool is to keep them out of your pool.

You can avoid common backswimmers and other insects nesting in the pool with the most straightforward methods.

I will explain exactly what the individual methods look like in the following chapters.

1. Optimize the water balance to keep the water bugs away

Insects only stay in the pool because they can find enough food in it and see an opportunity to multiply.

Green pool water, colloidal substances, and other cloudiness are like an invitation for all kinds of water bugs and flying insects.

The cloudiness in the pool always occurs when the pool water treatment is not optimally.

However, this can easily be prevented by running the filter system for at least 6 to 8 hours a day – provided the filter system is suitable for the pool size.

The circulation of the pool water prevents the water from becoming cloudy. There will be fewer algae, and the water beetles will look around for a new home.

But a long enough filtration of the pool water is not everything.

Using suitable chemicals for the pool can improve the quality of the water.

2. Use an algaecide in the swimming pool

The algaecide is controversial in pool maintenance, as it can cause clouding in the pool if misused.

In addition, a bad algaecide can lead to foaming in the pool water.

If used correctly, a high-quality algaecide is a helpful agent of inhibiting the growth of algae in the pool.

And you learned: No algae, no insects in your pool water.

I recommend buying a non-foaming and pH-neutral algaecide.

All important information about using an algaecide in the pool can be found in the blog under the linked page.

Read the article carefully before you decide to use the algicide in the bathroom.

3. Switch off pool lights to keep water bugs away

A large amount of food from algae and other prey (insects and larvae) in the pool is not the only reason why there are many water bugs in the pool.

As you probably know, light attracts insects.

But above all, cold light has a magical effect on all sorts of flying insects that fall into the swimming pool.

Either you switch off the pool lighting and the lamps in the garden to not attract the insects in the evening, or you change the lamps with a so-called bug light.

The bug light is a simple yellow lamp.

Scientific studies have shown that yellow light attracts fewer insects than bright cold light.

Does that really work?

According to the study, yes, but you will certainly not keep the insects away from your pool 100% by doing this.

4. Use a pool cover to keep the water bugs outside the pool

One of the best ways to keep water bugs out of the pool is to use a pool cover.

The pool cover prevents the insects from getting into the pool water.

In addition, the cover for the pool has another advantage: It keeps the pool water pleasantly warm and saves up to 80% on heating costs.

You can also use a solar tarpaulin for your pool as a cover and get rid of two problems with one shot – warm water and no insects in the pool.

Tip: The pool cover can be rolled up on a suitable system. The roll-up system makes it easier to cover the pool in the evening.

5. Build a pool shelter

The tarpaulin for the pool is a cheap option to protect the pool from insects, but these also have weaknesses.

A pool tarpaulin can tear and is difficult to open, and insects can still get into the pool if there are small gaps.

Shelters for the pool are far safer – but also more expensive. These keep insects away and save far more heating costs.

The disadvantages are the relatively expensive costs to purchase and assemble.

6. Use insect repellent for the pool

Insects are a big problem for pool owners and those who use hot tubs every year.

It is clear that the pool industry recognizes a niche in the market and provides remedies against insects.

The result is the now well-known insect stop in tablet form.

The tablets are dissolved in the floater and drive the insects out of the water. The strong lemon smell is supposed to keep the insects from flying into the water again.

I have not tried the product myself and could not obtain further information about the effect. But it seems that some pool owners are reporting on forums about a successful application.

The only problem is that the pills against insects dissolve quickly and settle on the bottom as a yellow stain.

Can the insect repellent in the pool be of use?

Maybe I can’t say for sure.

My opinion is: In addition to a sufficient filter run time, there is nothing comparable to proper water treatment with the tried and tested pool chemicals such as chlorine and active oxygen.

Questions and answers about water bugs in the pool

I got a lot of questions from readers that I didn’t go into in the article.

That’s why you will find further useful tips on keeping water bugs out of the pool.

Insects drown in the pool. What should I do?

The backswimmer, bees, wasps, yellow fire beetle, and many other insects may not be welcome in the pool, but all of these creatures are important in a long food chain where humankind is on top.

When the insects go away, so do the people.

For this reason, I recommend avoiding toxic biocides and, if possible, saving the insects in the pool from drowning.

You can do this with a simple step-out gadget.

Thanks to the exit gadget, bees and other insects find their way outside and frogs that cannot get out of the pool on their own.

Can you remove the bugs in the pool with the pool vacuum?

If insects have already died, you can use a pool vacuum to remove them from the pool.

The pool vacuum does not do much for bugs that are still alive, as the insects simply swim away.

But how else do you get little black flies out of the pool?

The best way to remove small black flies is with the surface skimmer. It is best to close the floor drain beforehand to increase the suction power of the skimmer.

What do little red worms mean in the pool?

Have you spotted little red worms in your pool and wondered what they are?

These are the larvae of mosquitoes. The larvae breathe air on the water’s surface and filter the finest organic particles from the pool water.

The mosquito larvae in the pool can be combated with a biological larvicide.

These are also removed from the pool using the skimmer – you will find a detailed article on this topic in my blog.

Can dragonfly larva bite you in the pool?

Dragonflies have extremely strong jaws, but the animals are harmless to humans. You will not get bloody flesh wounds from a dragonfly bite.

The dragonflies cannot sting either, although they have a long stinger.

The stinger is dull and unable to penetrate human skin. In addition, the dragonflies only use the stinger to lay eggs.

But the dragonfly larva is very capable of painfully biting a human in the pool.

What kind of yellow bugs are they in the pool?

There are so many different insects on earth, and most of them are unknown.

Also, I’m not a biologist who can identify every beetle in the pool.

If you have yellow beetles in the pool, it could be everything. I assume it is the great diving beetle – yes, they can bite.

What to do if there are water fleas in the pool

Water fleas feed on fine organic particles that float in the water.

The water fleas filter the water and contribute to better water quality.

In the pool – unless it is a natural pool – we still do not want to have water fleas, as these are prey for other large insects.

In this case I recommend using a pool flocculant and filtering out the organic matter.

Do you have any further questions about water bugs in the pool?

Contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest – I’ll be happy to help you personally.

Good luck in the fight against bugs in your pool.

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Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind swimfool.com, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

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