Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operators
The Best Way to Eliminate Water Bugs in a Swimming Pool
Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Swimming pools don’t just look attractive to human beings. They also look attractive to frogs, bugs, birds, and other wildlife as well. A big massive pool of water is the perfect place for these creatures to inhabit, eat, reproduce, and cool off.
If you want to keep these creatures away from your pool, then you must make the water conditions unpleasant for them while keeping the water safe for people. Regular pool maintenance is important. Use sanitizing chemicals in the water and make sure the water chemistry is balanced. Clean your filter and clear out visible debris from the water when you see it.
The biggest challenge you will face is dealing with water bugs. Even if you clear them out, they can come back quite easily. After all, they are bugs which naturally like to inhabit the water. They’ll either be on top of the water or inside the water. You’d normally find water bugs inhabiting natural bodies of water, such as ponds and lakes. But they can exist in swimming pools too.
The two most common types of water bugs which find their way to swimming pools are water boatmen and backswimmers.
Water boatmen, sometimes called corixids, seem scary on the outside, but they’re not as bad as backswimmers. You’ll easily recognize water boatmen because of their greenish-brown color, huge eyes, and oval-shaped bodies. The length of their bodies is usually no more than 0.5 inches. They also have long rear legs with hairs which allow them to paddle and float on the water. As they’re paddling, their rear legs will extend beyond the next set of legs in front of them. They can even fly because they have wings too.
Water boatmen love to eat mosquito larvae, plant detritus, algae, and other types of microorganisms which inhabit the water. This actually makes these bugs beneficial to your water because they consume those other bad elements. However, you certainly won’t want to swim in a pool of water filled with these nasty looking bugs.
The good news is they’re not dangerous. These bugs do not bite people, nor are they poisonous. In fact, you can refer to water boatmen as good insects. But if you’re uncomfortable swimming in water with these bugs in it, then you’ll want to get rid of them.
Removing Water Boatmen
Water boatmen are attracted to the algae in water because they lay eggs in it and eat it. After the water boatmen babies hatch from their eggs, they immediately feed on the algae and grow stronger.
You may not notice algae floating around your pool water, but that doesn’t mean microscopic algae spores are not in there. These spores will eventually bloom and become visible algae if you don’t clear them away first. You’ll know if you have algae spores in the water because the water boatmen will already be there feasting on them.
Here is what you should do in this situation:
- Skim the Water Bugs Away- Use a skimmer to remove water bugs from your pool water. They’ll probably fly away as you’re scooping the bugs out, so they won’t be killed. Some people may suggest forcing the bugs into a bucket of water that is mixed with cooking oil in order to kill them. But all this will do is suffocate the bugs slowly. Besides, it is better to keep the water bugs alive after you remove them from the water. That way, they can feed on the mosquito larvae and algae in your environment so that those things don’t become a problem for you too.
- Vacuum the Water – Use a manual pool vacuum cleaner to remove debris and sediment from the water. Don’t use an automatic pool cleaner.
- Brush the Surfaces –Grab an algae brush and start scrubbing down all your pool surfaces, such as the ladders, steps, upper walls, and so on. Any algae that were stuck to these surfaces should now be loosened and floating in the water.
- Water Testing –Test the level of alkalinity and pH in the water by using a liquid test kit or test strips. The pH should be anywhere from 7.4 to 7.6, while the alkalinity should be anywhere from 100 ppm (parts per million) to 150 ppm. If your water doesn’t reflect these levels, then you’ll need to add the right chemicals to adjust them.
- Pool Shocking –Shock your pool by applying double the shock treatment that you normally would. For instance, every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool normally requires one pound of calcium hypochlorite treatment. Now you will double this to two pounds for every 10,000 gallons of water. Dark green water may even require three or four times the amount of shock treatment. It is better to apply the shock treatment at nighttime because the chlorine can get burned away by the UV rays of the sun if you apply the treatment during the day.
- Turn the Pump On – When you turn on the pump to circulate the water of your pool, you’re also circulating the shock treatment too. You need to keep your pump running for a minimum of 8 hours. It is best to do this during the night when no one is using the pool. But if you have three or four times the normal amount of shock treatment in the water, then you’ll need to leave the pump on for at least 24 hours. After that, conduct a water test to see if the chlorine levels have normalized or not.
How to Prevent Water Boatmen
After you eliminate the water bugs from your pool, now you must prevent them from returning. The first step is to clean your pool regularly and maintain the chlorine levels in the water. If algae stay away, then water boatmen stay away.
Algaecide is not recommended or needed because the sanitizing chemicals will keep algae away if their levels are normalized. Algae is unable to grow in water if enough chlorine is present.
Backswimmers are the bad insects. These water bugs have long, narrow bodies which have a light brown color to them. Their longest legs are their rare legs, which help them move along the top of the water. They even have wings that allow them to fly. You won’t see them growing over 0.50 inches in length.
Backswimmers got their name from the fact that they swim with their backs in the water. It is easy to confuse backswimmers with water boatmen if you aren’t paying attention to how they’re swimming. Any water bug that is swimming upside-down is a backswimmer.
Backswimmers are the predators of the water. They would rather eat bugs than algae. In fact, they like to eat water boatmen. As for humans, backswimmers have been known to bite people, which leaves a painful sting behind. Their bites are not poisonous, though.
If you want to get rid of backswimmers from your pool, then you’ll want to remove both the algae and water boatmen. Backswimmers will still lay eggs in algae, even though they don’t eat it. But if you remove the water boatmen from the water, then you’re removing the backswimmers’ food source.
And again, you must remove the algae to ensure that water boatmen don’t come back. If they don’t come back, then backswimmers won’t come back either.
You should now understand how to remove water bugs from your pool. Just remember to balance the water chemistry, clean your pool regularly, and clear out the bugs and algae that you see in the water. If you do these tasks, then you shouldn’t have a big issue with water bugs.