Woman at the pool is slapping a mosquito by hand.

7 Common Types of Pool Bugs

Nothing can ruin your day at the pool faster than seeing a bug scurrying across the water’s surface. Whether it’s a brown bug in your backyard or an annoying pool insect, they can be equally irritating. 

To ensure you can take advantage of every pool day, you must be aware of creepy crawly critters that may try to sneak in. Before attempting an extermination mission, know how to identify them so you can get a jump-start on your pest control efforts.

Key Pest Points:

• Algae and other microorganisms in the pool are often responsible for attracting bugs to the pool.

A few common pool bugs are springtails, water boatman, backswimmers, mosquitos, and giant water bugs.

• To remove them from your pool, reduce their food sources and potential nesting spots by maintaining proper chlorine levels and shock the pool when needed.

Why Do You Have Bugs In Pool?

If you don’t keep up with regular maintenance of your swimming area, you may face many swimming bugs in the pool, making it difficult to enjoy your downtime.

Algae and other microorganisms in your swimming pool can be the cause of the biting water bugs showing up. These insects are drawn to the pool water because they feed on microorganisms and organic debris.

Identifying the type of bug in your pool can help you determine the best way to eliminate them and prevent illness or injury. Here are the seven common types of insects and how to identify them with water bugs pictures: 

1. Springtails 

Springtails are small brown jumping water bugs found in swimming pools. If left untreated, they can quickly become a problem.

Springtails in the soil among the roots of plants.

The most common way they enter your pool is through hose bibs and filters, but they can also live in pools that need to be properly chlorinated or shocked. Springtails often congregate near moist areas such as bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and thick vegetation around the pool with moist soil beds.

To prevent springtails from taking over your pool, maintain proper chlorine levels regularly and shock the pool when needed. Additionally, keep any decaying organic matter and thick vegetation away from the area surrounding your pool.

2. Water Boatman 

Water boatman bugs can be small and black, often seen swimming. Safe pool chemicals or nets help them before they multiply quickly. They feed on algae. Also, their eggs can go unnoticed due to their size. Like most species of the small black bugs living among your grass, these tiny critters pose no threat to you or your child.

3. Backswimmers 

Backswimmers are found in both outdoor and indoor swimming pools. They could be mistaken for mosquitoes due to their similar appearance. Backswimmers prey on adult water boatmen, larvae, and other small bugs.

Backswimmers in front of a white background.

Backswimmers are likely lurking nearby if your pool is home to many aquatic insects. These insects feed on microscopic organisms, making them a natural part of the ecosystem in bodies of water like ponds and swimming pools. With distinct legs, they float upside down while hunting their prey.

4. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are considered one of the most common insects in swimming pools. They lay their eggs directly in the pool or enter through open windows and doors. Mosquito larvae, which hatch from these eggs, feed on algae and other organic matter that accumulate on the walls of your pool.

They may be tiny, but they can significantly impact our well-being. Not only are mosquitos known for carrying diseases, some people even suffer from an allergic reaction to their bite.

A hand from a mosquito bite. Mosquito drinks blood on the arm.

To help protect yourself and your family against mosquitoes around pools or other outdoor areas, consider investing in some protective nets or mosquito netting. It’s the best way to keep those bothersome bugs away so you can enjoy spending time outdoors without worrying about being bitten.

5. Giant Water Bugs

Giant water bugs in pools may be small, but they are a force to be reckoned with! They hunt for anything from minuscule fish and tadpoles to larger prey like baby turtles – making them no strangers when it comes to feasting on unsuspecting victims!

These dark-colored aquatic creatures can reach up 2-3 inches and make their home in still bodies of water such as pools, ponds, and lakes.

Adult Giant Water Bug on dirt.

Prevent them from entering your pool by cleaning your pool clean. Additionally, ensure that any vegetation around the area is properly maintained and kept away from the swimming area.

6. Gnats

Gnats, also known as fruit flies or fungus gnats, are small, dark-colored insects that tend to congregate around moist areas. They are commonly found in swimming pools, but they can also be found in bathrooms, kitchens, and gardens.

Dark-winged fungus gnat on a green leaf.

They feed on decaying organic matter and thrive in humid environments, so it’s essential to regularly clean the pool area to prevent them from taking over your backyard oasis. Using products such as fly swatters, traps, and insecticides can also help to keep gnats at bay.

7. Water Striders

Water striders are long-legged insects often found in swimming pools and walking on water. They feed on tiny aquatic organisms such as insects and mosquito larvae, making them essential for maintaining the balance of the pool’s ecosystem.

Two water striders gliding on water.

Though they pose no danger to humans, water striders can be a nuisance for swimmers. To prevent them from entering your pool, regularly skim the water’s surface and remove any debris that may provide a breeding ground for these insects.

Are Pool Bugs Hazardous?

Take a look at the table below to gain insight into which pool bugs are potentially hazardous for your health:

Water Boatman BugsNon-HarmfulCan eat plant materials near the pool, but pose no danger to humans.
Back SwimmersNon-HarmfulBites
 and sting that can cause pain.
Giant Water BugsNon-HarmfulCan deliver painful bites, but they are ot harmful.
Water StridersNon-HarmfulNone
MosquitoesHarmfulThey can spread serious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika virus, dengue fever, and more; their bites can also cause itchy red bumps.
ThripsNon-HarmfulCan bite and irritate the skin if the person is sensitive to bugs.

These swimming pool bug types can make your day in the water uncomfortable but generally pose no health hazard. However, it’s important to note that mosquitoes in pools are an exception and can cause severe diseases if not properly managed.

Always check for signs of these bugs before jumping into the pool to ensure a safe swimming environment. Check pool bug pictures to confirm that you have the right insect. Additionally, regular inspection and maintenance of the area can help reduce the risk of contact with hazardous insects.

Removing Water Bugs from Your Pool

Just like ridding your backyard of pesky green bugs and black bugs, removing bugs in your pool requires a combination of strategies. Here are some tips to help keep your pool free of unwanted insects:

Skim the Pool to Remove Bugs  

Pool skimmers are essential for pool owners to keep their pools bug-free. Manual skimmers are the most widely-used type, requiring you to use a net to skim across the water’s surface and collect any bugs or other debris.

Swimming pool blue cleaning tool and water with ripples.

Robotic skimmers, on the other hand, are powered by either solar or battery power. They work similarly to robotic vacuum cleaners, easily removing debris from the bottom of your pool.

Water Treatment 

Water treatment is an ideal way to clean your pool and restore it to its original condition. Keep standard chlorine levels in the pool of at least 1 ppm and 3 ppm in spas or hot tubs, but if you need to clean the pool more thoroughly, you can use a higher dose of chlorine to kill any bacteria or contaminants. This method is safe and will help clean and hygienic your swimming pool.

Use Algaecide

Algaecide is the way to keep your pool clean and free of living algae. Calculate the water in your pool and mix the appropriate portion with some water. Pour it into the deep end and stir until it’s distributed evenly. Leave it soak for at least 15 minutes before swimming to ensure your pool remains healthy and hygienic.

These methods help keep your pool free of water bugs and other pests. However, if the infestation persists, it is best to contact a professional who can use more advanced techniques to remove the bugs from your pool.


What chemical kills bugs in the pool?

Regular application of Borax around the pool decking can minimize the risk of bugs entering your swimming pool. While this is an effective strategy, it’s important to remember that these pests can fly too. To make them stay away, maintain a proper water chemistry balance – when they find nothing to feed on, they won’t stick around for long.

What can bite you in the pool? 

Mosquitoes and backswimmers are the most common bugs found in a swimming pool. While both can bite and cause pain, mosquitoes pose the most significant risk as they carry serious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika virus, dengue fever, and more. Check for signs of these bugs before jumping into your pool.


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