4 Types Of Swimming Pool Bugs(One Is Dangerous!)

If you’re struggling to get rid of water bugs in your swimming pool, then this post is the only guide you’ll ever need.

In this guide, we’ll tell you four types of swimming pool bugs and how you can get rid of them, step-by-step.

Types of swimming pool bugs

The best part? 

The swimming pool bugs would be gone for good and forever

That’s not all. 

You’ll also get to know tiny pool bugs that you can overlook and what you can do to stop them from infesting your pool.

Let’s dive in. 

4 Common Types Of Swimming Pool Bugs

If you are not taking care of your pool, then four types of swimming pool bugs will infest your pool for sure. 

These pool bugs are –

  1. Mosquitoes.
  2. Water Boatmen
  3. Backswimmer (It leaves a nasty painful bite on you if you’re in a pool with it)
  4. Springtails

Before we get into how to get rid of them, let’s take a sneak peek at how they land up in your swimming pool. 

Knowing the reasons for their appearance in your pool will make you better equipped to get rid of them. 

You’d be able to nip the problem at the bud, ensuring that they don’t reappear again. 

How Your Swimming Pool Gets Swimming Pool Bugs Or Water Bugs?

Each one of the bugs out of the four has its reasons to get in your pool. 

To begin with, let’s have a look at the reasons for springtails into your pool. 

In all honesty, springtails are accidental landers on your pool. 

Springtails On Water Surface

The worst part is that they land up in hordes on your pool, giving your pool a thin layer of bugs crawling on the water surface. 

You wouldn’t like to take a dip in a pool like that.

Springtails live in dense and damp vegetation in your garden or yard. 

The denser and the closer the vegetation is to your swimming pool, the more would be the springtails in your pool.

Next is the water boatmen

water boatmen
Water Boatmen

Water boatmen are not accidental landers in your pool. They come to your pool to live and to breed

Water boatmen live in ponds and stagnant water surfaces. 

But what causes them to leave their habitat and choose your pool?

There are two reasons for it – they can fly, and the brightness from the light bulbs around your pool attracts them. 

Water boatmen fly in by following the light around your pool. And they have an aha moment when they discover your pool. 

If your pool has algae, then it’s the icing on the cake. It’s because the water boatmen eat algae.

Once the water boatmen bugs are in your pool, they breed. Water boatmen bugs lay eggs on the pool’s water surface, making your pool more inviting to other bugs. 

These eggs produce larvae which are food for other types of pool bugs like pool mites and backswimmers.

Backswimmers are insect-eating bugs that feast on the adult water boatmen bugs and their larvae in the pool. 


The presence of backswimmers in your pool will expose you to nasty and painful bites from them. 

People bitten by backswimmers have said that the biting pain is more painful than bee stings.

So, if you leave your swimming pool untreated for long, you’ll have an entire food chain in your pool. 

And finally, mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are pretty unlikely to be in your pool if you use your pool daily. 

It’s because mosquitoes lay eggs on calm stagnant water. That’s why they’re more prone to lay eggs on water surfaces in waterholes or inside catch basins. 

Both these places are damp, and the water surfaces in those places remain stable. 

But if you’ve been keeping your pool idle for days and unclean, then mosquitoes will indeed lay eggs on it. 

The larvae of mosquitoes float on the water surface till they become adults. 

How To Get Rid Of Swimming Pool Bugs

Now that you know the reasons for swimming bugs in your pool, you’re better equipped to take precise actions to get rid of them. 

This section has a 7-step guide to kill swimming pool bugs and make your pool bug-free forever. 

Here’s a step-by-step plan to get rid of water bugs or swimming pool bugs.

Skim The Pool To Remove Bugs On The Water’s Surface

Pool Skimmer
Handheld Pool Skimmer

Use a pool skimmer to skim the pool on the water’s surface.

Swimming pool skimmers are handheld devices that pool owners use to collect the debris and bugs on the water’s surface.

But if you’ve got a vast pool, then there are automatic and robotic skimmers available. 

Automatic skimmers have a propeller that makes the skimmer move forward. The hose at the front sucks in the debris on the pool’s water surface. 

Another type of pool skimmer is the robotic pool skimmer.

Robotic pool skimmers either run on solar power or battery power. And they work like robotic vacuum cleaners.

Robotic pool skimmers are expensive than automatic pool skimmers, but they’re clean better and last longer.

But for an average size pool, manual skimmers are handy. They do not need a power source, and you can skim the pool easily and quickly with your hand.

Use Shock Chlorination To Clean Organic Matter In Your Pool

Pool Chlorine Tablets
Pool Chlorine Tablets

Organic matter like algae attracts springtails and water boatmen, which in turn attracts the backswimmers. 

So, the second step is to remove the organic matter in your pool.

To do that, you’ll have to use chlorine. 

The question is, how much chlorine you need to add to your swimming pool?

The safety standards say that chlorine content in the swimming pool should be between 1 PPM and 3 PPM.

PPM is an abbreviation of parts per million, and scientifically it’s expressed as mg/L or milligrams per liter.

Shock chlorination means you use a more significant chlorine dose in your pool to kill the organic matter.

After that, you need to wait for the chlorine level to subside to safe levels. In other words, you’d need to wait to let alkaline or pH levels get back to normal.

To do shock chlorination, you’d need to increase the chlorine levels in your pool to 5 PPM to 7 PMM.

The question is, how much chlorine you need to add to your swimming pool?

To raise the chlorine level by 1 PPM, you’d need 0.00013 ounces of chlorine per gallon of water.

To increase the chlorine level from 5 PPM to 7 PPM, add 0.00065 ounces to 0.001 ounces of chlorine per gallon of water. 

(For example, if your swimming pool holds 1000 gallons of water, add 0.65 ounces to 1 ounce of chlorine in the pool.)

After 48 to 50 hours, the chlorine level in your pool will fall from 1 PPM to 3 PPM. 

Few Words Of Caution  Don’t get inside the pool before the chlorine level reaches a safe level. 

Use Algaecide To Kill Any Living Algae In Your Pool

Algae From Swimming Pool
Algae From Swimming Pool

Algae attracts pool mites. (We’ll talk about pool mites in the tiny bugs in the pool section.)

So, after the shock chlorination, it’s time to get rid of algae. 

To do that, use an algaecide. 

Most manufacturers mention the amount of algaecide you’d need for your pool. The amount you’d need depends on the volume of water in your pool. 

Therefore, before using it, read the instructions on the algaecide bottle. 

Point to remember – Use algaecide once the chlorine levels in your pool are at safe levels. 

So, you’d have to wait for at least 48 hours after shock chlorination to use an algaecide in your pool. 

Vacuum Your Pool To Remove Any Left Over Debris On The Pool’s Floor And The Sides

Now it’s time to clean the pool’s floor. 

You’d need a few pieces of equipment to do that. 

You’d need a pool vacuum head, a telescoping pole, a vacuum hose, and a skim vac (vacuum plate)

The manual process is quite arduous and time-consuming. 

Check out the video below to get detailed step-by-step instructions on vacuuming your pool.

Also, clean up the steps and the sidewalls of your pool to complete the entire cleaning process.

Remove Vegetation From Around The Pool To Prevent Bugs Getting Into The Pool

No matter how many times you treat your pool with chlorine or algaecide, water bugs would be back if there’s vegetation around the perimeter of the pool. 

At least maintain a distance of 10 feet between the plants and the pool to prevent future reinfestation in your pool.

If there are any overhanging branches of trees on the pool, chop them off. 

Bugs can use these branches to get into your pool. 

Keep Lights At Least 30 Feet Away From The Pool 

As you know by now, lights attract water bugs like water boatmen and backswimmers.

Maintain a distance of at least 30 feet between the lights and the perimeter of the pool.

That would deter water bugs from nesting in your pool.

Remove Any Water Stagnation Near The Pool In Your Yard Or Garden 

Mosquitoes lay eggs and breed on stagnant water. 

If there’s any stagnant water around your pool, then it’s only a matter of time that mosquitoes will start breeding in your pool. 

So, fill up the waterholes and fix water leakages in your yard or garden. 

It’ll go a long way to get rid of mosquitoes not only in your pool but also in your home. 

Tiny Bugs In Pool

Certain tiny bugs are known for infesting swimming pools. And they do it quite often.

These tiny bugs in the pool are a nuisance, and swimming in a pool full of them isn’t a pleasant experience.

On top of that, these tiny bugs can attract other bugs in your pool. 

Here are the four tiny bugs in a pool

  1. Thrips 
  2. Jesus Bugs (Also known as water striders)
  3. Pool mites
  4. Gnats

Thrips are tiny plant-eating bugs that feed on plants near water sources. 

Thrips - High Resolution Shot
Thrips – High Resolution Shot

Your swimming pool isn’t a typical habitat for thrips to live, but they wouldn’t mind floating on the surface of the pool water. 

Thrips are tiny, only 1/20th of an inch, and it’s hard to detect them on the pool’s water surface.

But you can detect them stuck on your body when you get out of the pool. Thrips look like tiny brownish-black dots crawling on your body. 

So, to keep your pool free from thrips and other types of bugs, don’t let any plantation around the perimeter of the pool grow. 

As we mentioned earlier, keep a distance of at least 10 feet between the pool’s perimeter and the plant beds.

And do thrips bite? Yes, they do. 

But thrips bite isn’t painful, and it doesn’t carry any infection. Thrips don’t suck blood either.

Thrips will bite you to check out if you’re a plant or not. 

Also known as water striders, Jesus bugs are bugs with long legs with an ability to walk on water’s surface. 

Jesus Bugs
Jesus Bugs

Jesus bugs are harmless to humans. But their numbers tend to increase if you don’t get rid of them fast. 

Water striders’ presence indicates the presence of other bugs tiny bugs in your pool, such as pool mites and thrips. 

It’s because the water strider eats both the pool mites, algae, and thrips.

Another tiny pool bug common in swimming pools is a red-colored bug known as pool mites or water mites

Pool Mites
Red Pool Mites

Pool mites also eat algae and larvae of other bugs in the pool. 

Ironically, pool mites are doing a favor to your pool by eating away the larvae of the pool bugs.

But would you like to take a swim in a pool that has crawling red bugs in it? Surely no. 

Gnats, not typically a pool bug, but given their likelihood to lay eggs on wet surfaces, they’re attracted to your pool. 

The worst part with gnats is that they move in swarms that make it a nuisance around your pool. 

Gnats will swarm around the vegetation around your pool. And when they do, chances are, many of them would land up in your pool. 

Swarm of gnats will look like yellowish-orange bugs hovering over your pool.

Gnats - Yellow Orange Bugs In Pool

Also, gnats bite a human.

But their bites can rupture your skin, and the bite is itchy and a bit painful. 

But thankfully, you don’t have to do anything different to get rid of these tiny bugs in the pool. 

The steps we laid out in the previous section will also take care of these tiny bugs in the pool.

Backswimmers Vs. Water Boatmen

In this section, we’ll give you the differences between backswimmers and water boatmen. 

Lack of clarity in the differences has caused many people to get into the pool and get painful bites from backswimmers. 

Unfortunately, backswimmers are more common in pools than water boatmen. 

Physically, both backswimmers and water boatmen look similar. 

Both are oval-shaped with long hind legs that they use row on the surface of the water.

water boatmen from top
Water Boatmen – Close Up

The significant differences lie in the color of these bugs. 

Backswimmers have streaks of brown, black, red, white, and yellow on their back. In contrast, water boatmen are brown with patches of black lines that give them a rough appearance. 

The front legs of backswimmers are small and look like the legs of an average bug. 

But the water boatmen’s front legs have a slightly shovel-shaped ending. They use it to scoop out the algae and shove it in its mouth. 

You’d also notice a beak on the head of the backswimmer (the backswimmer’s head looks like a bee’s head). 

backswimmer from top
Backswimmer From Top

The beak lets them hunt and bites its prey. 

The water boatmen don’t have a beak. Its mouth is a part of its head as it feeds itself with its front legs. 

There’s also a significant difference in where you can find them. 

Backswimmers would float on the water surface, constantly looking for larvae and other mosquitoes to eat. 

On the other hand, the water boatmen are at the bottom of the pool looking for algae and other micro-organisms to eat. 

That makes them hard to spot as they can camouflage themselves well under the debris at the bottom of the pool.


This post has two categories of pool bugs. 

The first is the common types of bugs in the pool. These are –

  1. Mosquitoes
  2. Springtails
  3. Water boatmen
  4. Backswimmers

The second category of pool bugs is the tiny bugs in the pool. These are –

  1. Thrips
  2. Jesus bugs or water striders
  3. Pool mites
  4. Gnats

This post also has a 7-step guide that gets rids of both categories of swimming pool bug types forever. 

And remember, three pool bugs bite humans – backswimmers, thrips, and gnats.

It’s the backswimmers bite that is the most painful. 

It doesn’t end here. Do you know that ants too can be a menace in your pool?

Ants form clusters in pool. Read our post on clusters of ants in a pool to know why ants get into your pool and what you can do to get rid of them.