Common Pool Bugs: What They Are and How to Get Rid of Them

What could be scarier than an infestation of common pool bugs? We all might agree that a bug-infested pool can be quite a nasty sight and not something that makes for an inviting swimming experience.

Types of Pool Bugs

The most common swimming pool bug types are:

Backswimmer.Notonecta maculata Notonectidae - Flickr - gailhampshire
1. Backswimmers

These bugs prefer the swimming pool habitat because they can easily access their food source, including mosquito larvae and other insects.

Lesser Water Boatman (Corixa punctata) (19349498661)

2. Water Boatman

These bugs are characterized by their long slender bodies and flat, triangular-shaped heads. They usually attach themselves to the sides of swimming pools. Small fish or frogs prey on these bugs. They can also be found in pipes, water tanks, and fish ponds.


3. Caddisfly Larva

A caddisfly is a small fly that lives underwater, mainly in shallow areas like lakeshores, riverbanks, or ponds. Adult caddisfly is generally harmless but can harbor harmful parasites that may affect people and animals.

Thrips (YPM IZ 098969)

4. Thrips

The swimming pool isn’t the primary habitat of thrips, but they can find their way there to search for food. There are three variants of these bugs: the greenhouse thrip, western flower thrips, and onion thrips. The greenhouse thrips feed on plant leaves and flowers as well as pollen. Western flower thrips attack roses, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, and other flowers for nectar. Onion thrips feed on onion bulb scales.

Water bug single (16009934868)

5. Water Bugs

Water bugs live in or near water but are rarely found inside swimming pools. They are usually found near the poolside but don’t consider them a pool pest.

How to Get Rid of Bugs in Your Pool?

The most effective way to eliminate common pool bugs is to eliminate the cause, whether it is stagnant water, mosquito larvae, or caddisfly larva. Here are a few effective methods of controlling common pool bugs:

1. Remove the cause. The cause can vary a bit depending on the type of bug you’re dealing with. For water boatmen, they eat algae – so if you can keep your pool algae free, you’ll take away their food source.  Backswimmers, on the other hand, like to lay their eggs in algae. So, for them, algae are a part of their lifecycle. Removing algae makes your pool less hospitable for backswimmers.

2. Use a skimmer. It’s old-fashioned, but it works. If you’re noticing more bugs than usual, use your skimmer and remove them manually.

  1. Vacuum to waste. Keeping your pool as free from debris as possible will provide fewer opportunities for pool bug habitats to form. Remember to set your vacuum to waste to make sure the dirty water is completely removed from your pool
  2. Keep a healthy pool regimen. You might be surprised but keeping up on the basics will improve your chances of keeping many pool water bug types at bay. Algae is a big contributor to pool bugs, so things like keeping your pH levels within range means your chlorine will be able to do its job and stop algae from forming. If things do get out of line, go with a double dose of pool shock to take care of your algae problems. There are also products that use natural enzymes to break down organic matter – consult your local pool professional if you want to go that route.
  3. Maintain the areas around your pool. Many infestations may not start in your pool but from nearby standing water or yard waste. Try to remove piles of yard waste and areas where water stagnates and provides fertile breeding grounds for all kinds of unwanted critters.

The bottom line is that swimming pool bug types are harmless but can be a little annoying to a swimming pool owner and your guests. That’s why it’s worth the time to put in extra effort to get rid of them.

If you found this article helpful, please be sure to check out our blog regularly for more tips and tricks. Also, be sure to check out our full lineup of American-made pool handrailsladders, pool slides, swim-up bars, and accessibility products to enhance your backyard oasis!

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