Swimming Pool Bugs

10 Types Of Swimming Pool Bugs And How To Get Rid Of Them

In this guide, you will find ten different types of swimming pool bugs that are harmful to you. Furthermore, you will find out how to get rid of pool bugs.

When you neglect or don’t maintain your pool properly for a long time, you’ll soon find creatures called swimming pool bugs or water bugs in your pool.

If you do not eliminate the conditions that attract them, then these water bugs will make your swimming pool their home.

What’s the worst part? There are some bugs that can leave a nasty bite on you while you’re swimming in the pool.

You will writhe in pain for days after you are bitten by them. Several of them are huge and can even rip your skin open with their mandibles.

And some of them are tiny pool bugs that make matters worse by attracting predators to your pool. Read on to find out what these water bugs are, how they get into your pool (and why), and how to get rid of them.

10 Types Of Swimming Pool Bugs Or Water Bugs That Infest Pools

Water bugs will definitely infest your pool if you don’t take care of it. 

These are the ten most common types of swimming pool bugs:

  1. Springtails
  2. Water Boatmen
  3. Backswimmer
  4. Giant Water Bugs
  5. Predaceous Diving Beetle
  6. Mosquitoes
  7. Thrips
  8. Jesus bugs or Water Striders
  9. Tiny red pool mites or Water mites
  10. Gnats

You need to know how they end up in your swimming pool before we discuss how to get rid of them. By understanding the reasons for their presence in your pool, you will be better able to get rid of them. 

You would be able to eliminate the problem at the source, ensuring that it does not recur. Let’s take a closer look at how these bugs get into your swimming pool.

Springtails In Swimming Pool

The springtails are accidental landers in your swimming pool. In pools, springtails are jumping water bugs that seek moisture. They are found near wet places and breed there.

Springtails live in areas like bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms where there is a lot of moisture. In the wild, springtails live in damp areas as well, especially near decaying organic matter.

Besides providing them with food, these places also have high levels of moisture, dampness, and humidity, making them an ideal place to live.

In addition, if your pool is surrounded by thick vegetation and moist soil beds, you can find springtails in abundance.

How did it turn out? The springtails around your pool will jump into your pool.

There’s a good chance that you’ll see hordes of springtails floating on the water during the summer months when it’s dry outside.

The worst part is that they end up on your pool in hordes, coating the water surface with a thin layer of bugs. You wouldn’t want to take a dip in a pool like that.

Springtails can be found in dense, damp vegetation in your garden or yard. The more vegetation near your swimming pool and the denser it is, the more springtails will be in your pool.

Boatman bugs in the pool

Boatmen bugs (also called oar bugs) are not accidental landers in your pool like springtails. Swimming pool boatmen bugs live in swimming pools. In addition, they can spread pretty quickly if you don’t get rid of them.

Infesting your pool with water bugs is due to two main reasons – feeding and laying eggs. I’m sure you’d like to know what’s in your swimming pool that the bugs love to eat? There are algae in there.

It is possible for boatmen bugs to detect algae in the pool before you can. You can easily overlook small algae formations in your pool that attract water boatmen bugs.

These water bugs eat more than algae. In fact, they lay eggs in algae as well. Water boatmen lay their eggs in your pool’s algae because this alga is a constant food source for baby water boatmen bugs.

Ponds and stagnant water surfaces are home to water boatmen. In addition to the artificial lights around the pool, another often overlooked reason for water boatmen bugs is their presence.

Bugs known as boatmen fly very well, and artificial light attracts them.

Therefore, you can expect a lot of them to end up in the pool when they’re buzzing around the light near the pool, especially when there are algae in the pool.

If you have water boatmen bugs in your pool, they’ll breed and lay eggs in the algae. In addition, the baby water boatmen bugs attract other bugs that eat them.

Backswimmers are among those bugs.

Backswimmers Bugs In Pool

The backswimmer, also known as the paddle bug, is a predator that swims upside down in a pool.

They hunt water boatman adults, their larvae, and other tiny bugs in pools that you’ll learn about in a moment.

Backswimmers floating on your pool is only a matter of time if you have a boggy pool. Because the bugs in your pool will attract the backswimmers.

The backswimmers can also fly like the boatmen, and the artificial lights around the pool also attract them. In addition to swimming on their backs, these bugs have their inner sides at the top of their bodies.

When they’re not in the water, these bugs can be quite clumsy. Backswimmers feed on little fish, bugs, and tadpoles in lakes, streams, and ponds outside.

Three sets of legs are found on backswimmers. The first pair of legs, located near their mouth, is used for stabbing their prey.

Backswimmers use their second pair of legs to hold their prey during feeding. Lastly, the third pair of legs is the strongest and the longest and is used for swimming.

When they’re in the water, they use their third pair of legs to propel themselves forward. Humans are bitten by backswimmers, which are pool bugs.

Their strong and tubular mouth, called a proboscis, causes them to bite you painfully. Backswimmer bites are more painful than bee stings, according to people who have experienced them.

If you don’t treat it, that pain can last for a couple of weeks.

Swimming pool with giant water bugs

It’s scary to see this bug. And it looks terrifying as well. A giant water bug, also called a toe-biter, an alligator tick, or an alligator flea in Florida is the most lethal bug that can ever invade your swimming pool.

Giant water bugs belong to the family Belostomatidae. You can find them in marshes and slow-moving streams in the wild.

The giant water bug is tan and oval-shaped, and an adult can reach a length of 4 inches. The flat hind legs of giant water bugs allow them to paddle as they swim.

If you’re looking for predators in your swimming pool, the giant water bug is at the top of the food chain. The giant water bugs can get into your pool if there are already other swimming pool bugs in there.

However, these bugs don’t get into your swimming pool in large numbers. Giant water bugs will eat all other bugs in the pool, including water boatmen, backswimmers, and larvae of all kinds of bugs.

However, you don’t want a giant water bug bite. The bite of this bug is the most painful of all the swimming pool bugs in this guide.

Giant water bugs also carry poison, which can cause severe pain when bitten by humans, but is not deadly. The giant water bugs use this poison to paralyze their prey by injecting it into it.

Humans are afraid of giant water bugs, which is ironic. The first defense mechanism they will use if they encounter you in the pool is to play dead. 

Additionally, they will expel fluid from their anus that smells. But if you step on a giant water bug by poking it or ignoring it in this condition, you’ll get a nasty bite.

These giant water bugs are attracted to the light around your pool. Since the electric bulbs attract them, they’re also known as electric bugs.

The giant water bugs can also be found in the moist and damp areas around the pool or in the bushes and shrubs that surround the pool.

It is common to see giant water bugs lying idle on the pool floor most of the time.

Diving Beetles (Dytiscidae) – Water Beetle in a Swimming Pool

There is one bug that is really a water beetle, and that is the predaceous diving beetle. In most areas of the U.S., especially in the south and southeast, the predaceous diving beetle is found in swimming pools.

An adult predaceous diving beetle measures 1.5 inches and has a shiny, smooth back. There are three colors to choose from – brownish, black, or olive.

Predaceous diving beetles prefer to remain in the water for the most part. In adulthood, they have fully developed wings that allow them to fly well.

Diving beetles use the reflection of moonlight to locate water sources. Diving beetles typically fly at night.

Because of this habit, they are a common type of swimming pool bug since the reflection of pool lights on the pool’s surface attracts them.

Consequently, they land on shiny, solid surfaces that are wet. These diving beetles absorb oxygen before diving into water when near a swimming pool or any other body of water.

In contrast to other swimming pool bugs, diving beetles have a unique way of swimming.

In contrast to most other swimming pool bugs, they pump their hind legs simultaneously instead of alternately.

Additionally, these diving beetles bite painfully. Swimming pools that are dirty are often home to these insects. 

You can infest your swimming pool with more than just big bugs. Until the number of bugs in your pool overshoots, you can easily overlook tiny bugs in the pool.

Swimming Pool Trips

A trip is a tiny plant-eating insect that feeds on plants near water sources. 

Swimming pools aren’t typical habitats for thrips, but thrips may settle in your swimming pool if there is dense vegetation around the perimeter.

The splashes are so small that they are difficult to see on the surface of the pool’s water.

If you get out of the pool, you can see them stuck on your body. There are tiny brownish-black dots crawling on your body when you have a rip. 

Keep your pool free from thrips and other types of bugs by not growing plants around its perimeter. The distance between the pool’s perimeter and plant beds should be at least 10 feet.

And do thrips bite? 

Yes, they do. But thrips bites are not painful, and they do not transmit infection. Also, thrips do not suck blood.

If you are a plant, they will bite you to check if you are one. 

Additionally, they are attracted to light that causes them to enter homes. A thorough vacuuming is enough to get rid of thrips in the house.

Jesus Bugs In Pool

The Jesus bugs, also known as water striders, are small black bugs with long legs that scurry along the pool’s surface. Water striders can walk on top of the water.

Humans are not harmed by Jesus’ bugs. Jesus bugs also do not bite. The problem is that if you don’t get rid of them fast, their numbers tend to increase. 

The presence of water striders indicates the presence of other tiny bugs in your pool, such as pool mites and thrips. They and the algae are eaten by the water strider.

These Jesus bugs are quite common to find on the water’s surface of a clean pool.

If there are bugs walking around the pool, you won’t be harmed. While you’re swimming in the pool, Jesus bugs won’t get inside your ears or nose.

Mites In The Pool – The Tiny Red Orange Bugs In The Pool

Little red bugs are common sights in and around pools, but no homeowner is immune to them. There are also water mites called pool mites.

After rains, water mites or pool mites become quite prevalent in pools, especially when your pool is left unattended.

When their numbers increase, they become visible. They’re tiny and microscopic, but they become visible when their numbers increase. Depending on their life stage, some pool mites could appear yellow or orange.

Wet vegetation and soil beds around the pool are breeding grounds for these mites. The larvae are attracted to your pool when it has algae and larvae floating on top.

Algae is a food source for pool mites.

A pool mite eats algae and the larvae of other bugs living in the pool.  As a result, pool mites do your pool a favor by eating away the larvae of water bugs.

However, there is a problem with pool mites. A pool mite’s population multiplies quickly. As their numbers increase, these mites can become a nuisance in and around your pool.

Another negative aspect of their presence is that they will attract other bugs that eat them, such as backswimmers. Although pool mites do not bite, they are not harmless to you. 

Gnats In Swimming Pool

Gnats aren’t typically pool bugs, but since they lay their eggs on wet surfaces, they’re attracted to your pool. When you have gnats around your pool, they move in swarms, which is a nuisance. 

Around your pool, gnats will swarm around the vegetation. Many of them are likely to end up in your pool when they do. 

You will see a swarm of yellowish-orange bugs over your swimming pool. However, most of these gnats will be black in color.

Humans can also be bitten by gnats. But their bites can cause your skin to rupture, and they are itchy and painful. 

The good news is that you don’t have to do anything different to get rid of these tiny bugs in the pool. You’re about to discover a comprehensive method for keeping your pool free of all kinds of bugs.

Swimming Pool Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes in swimming pools are common, especially in pools that are left idle, dirty, and uncovered for days at a time.

The eggs of mosquitoes are laid in stagnant water. It’s also possible for mosquitoes to lay eggs on the surface of the pool when the pool is unused for a long time.

The larvae of mosquitos then attract other bugs, such as backswimmers, to your pool. The larvae in the pool become quite noticeable if the pool is left uncovered and dirty for an extended period of time.

Thus, if you don’t maintain your pool, there can be an entire food chain of bugs living and infesting your pool.

3 most biting swimming pool bugs

There are three types of swimming pool bugs that can bite you. There is also a water boatman, backswimmer, giant water bug, and a predaceous diving beetle.

Giant Water Bug Bite

It is most painful to be bitten by giant water bugs. If it bites you, you will experience intense pain at the bite site.

The pain is caused by giant water bugs injecting their toxic saliva. Giant water bugs eat their prey while they are paralyzed by their saliva.

Backswimmers Bite

Backswimmers are the bugs on the list that are the most territorial. The backswimmers hate it when anyone or anything is in the pool. Swimming too close to them in the pool will cause them to bite you.

The bite of a backswimmer feels like a sting. If it bites you, you’ll feel like a sharp needle has penetrated your skin. Backswimmers are also known as water bees because of this.

Similarly, backswimmers bite can also be quite painful. The pain will last for a few days to a week. The best thing about backswimmers is that they are not poisonous.

You won’t get bitten by the water boatmen like you will by the backswimmers. It has been reported, however, that water boatmen have bit humans when they feel cornered or defend themselves.

The mouthparts of water boatmen are long and strong, and they can penetrate your skin. You can get bitten by them if you try to handle them.

Predaceous Diving Beetle Bite

Besides being aggressive predators, predatory diving beetles can also bite humans.

You can penetrate their skin with their two pincers. Their bite is also quite painful.

How To Get Rid Of Bugs In Swimming Pool

As you now know how water bugs get into your pool, it is time to take steps to eliminate them

Here’s a 7-step guide to kill swimming pool bugs and make your pool bug-free forever. If you follow these steps, your pool will be secure from water bugs, no matter what type of bugs they may be.

How about the best part?

It can all be done by you!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting rid of water bugs from your pool.

STEP #1 – Scrub the pool to remove bugs from the water’s surface

Use a pool skimmer to skim the surface of the water. Swimming pool skimmers are handheld devices that collect debris and bugs from the surface of the water.

However, if you have a large pool, there are automatic and robotic skimmers. 

Skimmers that are automatic use propellers to move forward. In the front, there is a hose that sucks in debris on the water surface of the pool. The robotic pool skimmer is another type of pool skimmer.

Both solar-powered and battery-powered robotic pool skimmers exist. These machines work similarly to vacuum cleaners.

Despite being more expensive than automatic pool skimmers, robotic pool skimmers are the best cleaners and last the longest.

A manual skimmer is handy for an average-sized pool, however. Skimming the pool with your hand is easy and fast since they require no power source.

Make sure the pool filters are clean as well. The pool filters get clogged with debris, which prevents proper filtration of the pool water.

A pool filter that is clogged with debris for a prolonged period of time can cause damage to the filtration system.

Step #2 – Clean Your Poo With Shock Chlorination

A variety of organic matter, such as algae, attracts springtails and water boatmen, which in turn attracts backswimmers. As a result, the second step involves removing organic matter from your pool.

You’ll need chlorine tablets for that. How much chlorine should you add to your swimming pool?

According to safety standards, a swimming pool’s chlorine level should be between 1 PPM and 3 PPM. An abbreviation for parts per million is PPM, and scientifically it’s expressed as mg/L.

Using shock chlorination in your pool means you use a high concentration of chlorine to kill organic matter.

After that, you must wait until the chlorine level drops to a safe level. In other words, you would need to wait until your pH and alkalinity levels return to normal.

Shock chlorination requires increasing your pool’s chlorine level from 5 ppm to 7 ppm. What is the correct amount of chlorine to add to your swimming pool?

A gallon of water would require 0.00013 ounces of chlorine to raise chlorine levels by 1 PPM.

By adding 0.00065 to 0.001 ounces of chlorine per gallon of water, you can increase the chlorine level from 5 PPM to 7 PPM. 

(For example, if your swimming pool holds 1000 gallons of water, add 0.65 ounces of chlorine to 1 ounce of water.) After 48 to 50 hours, the chlorine level in your pool will fall from 1 PPM to 3 PPM. 

A Word Of Caution – Don’t get into the pool before the level of chlorine reaches a safe level. Before you use your pool, make sure the water chemistry or alkalinity levels are safe. 

STEP #3 – Kill any living algae in your pool with algaecide

Pool mites are attracted to algae. In the section on tiny bugs, we’ll discuss pool mites. Now, it’s time to eliminate algae after the shock chlorination. Use an algaecide to accomplish this. 

Calcium hypochlorite is present in algaecide, which is used to kill algae in swimming pools.

Manufacturers usually state how much algaecide and pool chemicals you’ll need to get rid of algae. Depending on the size of your pool, you’d need a different amount of water. 

It is therefore important to read the instructions carefully before using an algaecide. 

Make sure the chlorine level in your pool is at a safe level before using an algaecide. 

To use an algaecide in your pool, you will need to wait at least 48 hours after shock chlorination. 

Step #4 – Vacuum Your Pool To Remove Any Debris Left On The Floor And Sides

The floor of the pool now needs cleaning. For that, you’d need a few pieces of equipment. Pool vacuum heads, telescoping poles, vacuum hoses, and skim vacs (vacuum plates) will be needed.

It is a time-consuming and tedious process to do it manually. The following video provides step-by-step instructions on vacuuming your pool.

You should also scrub the pool ladders and liners with a brush so that any dirt or bugs in the thin gaps will be removed. 

You have thin gaps around your pool that support the growth of algae, which attracts a lot of bugs that feed on them.

STEP #5 – Remove vegetation from around the pool to prevent bugs from entering

There would be water bugs around the perimeter of the pool no matter how many times you treated it with chlorine or algaecide. 

Keep your pool at least 10 feet away from the plants to prevent future infestations. Overhanging branches of trees should be chopped off the pool. 

It is possible for bugs to enter your pool through these branches.  Reclaim IT spray is an effective bug killer that is effective on more than 50 different types of insects, including water bugs.

STEP #6 – Keep lights at least 30 feet from the pool 

As you already know, lights attract water bugs such as water boatman and backswimmers.

You should maintain a distance of at least 30 feet between the lights and the pool’s perimeter.

Your pool would be less likely to attract water bugs if you did that.

STEP #7 – Remove any stagnant water from your yard or garden near the pool 

Mosquitoes lay their eggs and breed in stagnant water. There’s only a matter of time before mosquitoes will breed in your pool if there’s any stagnant water around it. 

Please fill up the waterholes in your yard and fix any leaks in your garden. You’ll be able to get rid of mosquitoes not only in your pool but also in your home with this. 

Backswimmers versus water boatmen

We will explain the differences between backswimmers and water boatmen in this section. 

People call both water boatmen and backswimmers water beetles because of their shape and color. Water beetles are any insects that float on the surface of the water in the form of beetles.

Many people get into the pool only to get painful bites from backswimmers due to a lack of clarity regarding the differences between water boatmen and backswimmers.

Water boatmen are less common in pools than backswimmers. Backswimmers are attracted to pools with algae and other types of swimming pool bugs.

Water boatmen and backswimmers look similar from a physical perspective. Both have oval-shaped bodies with long hind legs for rowing on the surface of the water.

The significant differences lie in the color of these bugs. 

On their backs, backswimmers have brown, black, red, white, and yellow streaks. In contrast, water boatmen have patches of black lines on their skin that give them a rough appearance. 

A backswimmer’s front legs are small and resemble those of an average bug. 

However, the water boatman’s front legs end in a shovel-like shape. The boatman uses this to scoop up the algae and place it in its mouth. 

Backswimmers also have a beak on their heads (their heads look like bees). They hunt with their beaks and bite their prey. 

It doesn’t have a beak like a water boatman. Since it feeds itself from its front legs, the mouth is part of the head. There are also significant differences in where you can find them. 

The backswimmers would float on the surface of the water, constantly in search of larvae and other mosquitoes. 

Black bugs floating on the water’s surface could be backswimmers if you see them in the pool. Water bugs that swim are known as backswimmers.

The boatmen, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the pool looking for algae and other microorganisms to eat. 

Due to their camouflage abilities, they are hard to spot under the debris at the bottom of the pool.


The ten most common types of swimming pool bugs are found in most pools.

  1. Springtails
  2. Water boatman
  3. Backswimmers
  4. Giant Water Bugs
  5. Predaceous Diving Beetles
  6. Mosquitoes
  7. Thrips
  8. Jesus bugs or Water Striders
  9. Tiny red pool mites or Water mites
  10. Gnats

Among the ten, three bites are very painful and leave a nasty stain.

Backswimmers, giant water bugs, water boatmen, and predaceous diving beetles are three types of water bugs that bite.

Among the tiny bugs in pools, mosquitoes, thrips, Jesus bugs, pool mites, and gnats play a role in attracting the big ones.

Bugs in swimming pools are caused by improper pool maintenance and not cleaning the pool.

This post also includes a 7-step guide that not only keeps your pool looking swanky, but also eliminates bugs from it.

To know more, read our post 3 Small Flying Beetles In House Causing Damage

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