It’s fun and convenient to have a pool in your yard, but what happens when pests begin to move in? Water bugs can bite, and they can quickly take the fun out of a summer swimming day when they take up residence in your pool.
You can keep your pool free of water bugs by removing their source of food, which is algae. Maintain a proper chemical balance, skim your pool daily, and cover your pool and you shouldn’t have a problem. You can get rid of water bugs already in your pool using an algaecide and shock treatment.
Wondering what else you can do to keep water bugs away from your pool? Let’s look at all the things which attract water bugs to your pool and how you can get rid of these pesky pests.
What Are Water Bugs?
There are a couple of different water bugs which can make their home in your pool. This is especially surprising considering the amount of chemicals you add to your pool on a regular basis.
The two main water bug species are Water Boatman and Back Swimmers. They both are similar in appearance, with an oval shaped body and four legs. These legs have tiny hairs which allow them to float on the surface with ease.
Water bugs are typically brown with a tinge of green, the Water Boatmen being the darker of the two aforementioned species. Water Boatman have wings, while Back Swimmers swim on their back (as the name implies) so you are less likely to see their wings but they do have them.
While Water Boatmen are harmless, Back Swimmers can bite if you get close and it will feel similar to a bee sting.
What Attracts Water Bugs to a Pool?
Water bugs are attracted to your pool for different reasons. Water Boatmen will come make their home in your pool when you have algae growing. Even if you don’t see the algae, if you see Water Boatmen there is likely some beginning to grow.
Back Swimmers eat Water Boatmen. Therefore if you have Water Boatmen in your pool, this alone will attract the Back Swimmers.
This means that algae growth alone can attract both of these bugs to your pool, and algae growth usually occurs due to an imbalance in pool chemicals. While this is the main attraction, pool lights can also attract these bugs to your pool.
Does Chlorine Kill Water Bugs?
Unfortunately, chlorine alone won’t kill water bugs. Instead you must eliminate their food source, which is algae, then they will leave on their own.
Algae is typically eliminated by adding chemicals to your pool, such as chlorine or a pool shock treatment. But it’s important to know that adding a shock treatment to your pool on its own will do little to eliminate water bugs because chlorine doesn’t kill them.
How to Get Rid of Water Bugs
Water bugs breed quickly, especially when there is an ample supply of algae in your pool. Once you notice them, follow these steps to get them out of your pool as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Skim Your Pool
Use a pool skimmer and vacuum to remove any visible bugs from your pool. This can be a bit of a challenge, however, because both these bugs will try to fly the minute they are removed from the water. Vacuum any visible algae or eggs.
Step 2: Apply an Algaecide
Because chlorine and pool shock alone won’t kill these bugs, you’ll need to purchase an Algaecide product(on Amazon) to kill any active algae. Apply to your pool following the directions on the bottle.
Step 3: Pool Shock
After the algaecide has been used, plan to shock your pool with a pool shock treatment(on Amazon) to get your pool back to its regular state. You may need to use more pool shock than normal.
Step 4: Care For Your Yard
The final step to getting rid of water bugs is to mow your lawn and spray the grass with an insecticide. Be careful not to get any in the pool. This will kill off any remaining bugs that flew away when you skimmed the pool.
We recommend completing step 4 while you are letting the shock treatment do its job so when it is done, you can be ready to swim again right away!
How to Prevent Water Bugs
Water bugs are really annoying, and the process to get rid of them takes a while. So you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent water bugs from coming to your pool in the first place.
Maintain Proper Pool Chemistry
The best way to prevent water bugs is to ensure that algae never has a chance to grow in your pool. You can do this by always maintaining proper chemistry and using all recommended products (like chlorine and chlorine protectant) in your pool.
Plan to test the chemical levels of your pool twice a week and shock your pool from time to time.
Skim Your Pool
Skimming your pool can get annoying, but it’s one of the number one ways to keep water bugs from laying eggs. It will also remove visible debris which they need to lay their eggs.
Turn Off Pool Lights
Pool lights are great for night swimming, but they can also attract water bugs. Whenever you aren’t using your pool, keep the pool lights off.
Get Bug Zappers
With a pool in your yard, it’s a good idea to purchase a few bug zappers(on Amazon) because the water will attract more than just water bugs to your home. We recommend purchasing a couple and placing them around the edges of the yard and near your porch.
Cover Your Pool
If you don’t want bugs in your pool, it’s a good idea to cover it when not in use. While this can get annoying to take the cover off and on, it can be a major deterrent for water bugs looking for a new home.