How To Get Rid of Water Bugs in Pool: 6 Easy Solutions for You
It’s summer, the weather’s sunny and warm, and you step into your pool for a nice dip, only to find something else enjoying your pool without your permission. Finding water bugs making their home in your pool can be a huge annoyance.
While these insects are not dangerous, they can be quite gross and not something you want to share your pool with. Ready to evict them? Here’s everything you need to know about them and how to get rid of water bugs in the pool.
What Are Water Bugs?
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Imagine a cockroach that loves being in the water. That’s what water bugs are.
While water bugs are not related to the cockroach family, they do look very similar. You can easily mistake it for a cockroach going for a swim.
Water bugs are aquatic insects that can hold their breath for a very long time, which allows them to remain underwater for a long time without needing to resurface. They don’t have any gills, but they use oxygen directly from the air.
Water bugs thrive in lakes, ponds, marshes, as well as the pool in your backyard.
While many water bugs are harmless, some can deliver a painful bite in defense when handled, thus earning them the name “toe biters.” These bugs are also notorious killers of small fishes and other insects.
One of the best ways to differentiate water bugs from cockroaches is their size. Water bugs can grow to up to 4 inches large. They have flat or oval bodies, and unlike the roaches, water bugs have a sharp mouth, clawed front feet, and short antennae.
Water bugs also have x-shaped wings that allow them to quickly fly from one body of water to another, especially during their mating season.
Types of Water Bugs in Your Pool
There are various types of water bugs that can populate different bodies of water. Of these, there are two types of water bugs that seem to have a preference for your pool.
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Backswimmers are usually found in freshwaters of lakes, marshes, ponds, and pools. They are called backswimmers because they swim on their backs, belly up. So, when they’re swimming, these aquatic insects have their legs up or near the water surface.
You can recognize backswimmers by their oval and slender bodies, curved backs, broad keels, and huge eyes that almost take over their entire head. They swim by paddling their hairy hind legs.
Although they are just 2-cm long, these light to medium brown colored predators feed on smaller animals like aquatic larvae and blood worms. They also attack small fishes and tadpoles and can deliver an excruciating bite to humans.
2. Water Boatman
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Water boatman is a bug that is named after its hind legs that are covered with hair and shaped like oars. This water bug has six legs altogether, two short legs in front and four at the back.
The oval-shaped water boatman usually sports a greenish-brown to brown coloring. They also have huge eyes and can grow up to ½ inch or less than 1.5 cm.
Despite the water boatman’s appearance, they are the safest of all water bugs as they are non-predatory. They are content with algae and plants to satisfy their hunger.
Why Do You Have Water Bugs In Your Pool?
If you haven’t been diligent about cleaning your pool, it’s an open invitation to water bugs. Unclean pool water will develop algae, which attracts water bugs.
The water boatman eats algae while backswimmers, which are carnivorous, eat even their own kind including the water boatman.
So if you have algae, you will soon have a water boatman infestation, in turn inviting backswimmers as predators.
How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Pool
To completely remove water bugs from your pool, you need to address the root cause of the problem. This includes removing the algae and ensuring proper chlorine levels.
Here are some ways to effectively get rid of water bugs from your pool.
#1. Use A Skimmer
The simple skimmer may be your best solution for scooping out the water bugs from your pool. The only challenge here is you may cause them to fly.
Once you manage to scoop them, you can either suffocate them in a bucket of water and cooking oil or simply relocate them away from your home to a place with enough algae to sustain them.
#2. Vacuum The Pool
Not with an automatic cleaner. You need to manually vacuum the pool to get all the debris and sediments off.
This is a lot of work, but you will be rewarded not just with a water bug-free pool but a pool that is sparkling clean!
#3. Brush The Pool
This is another bone-breaking method but one that works perfectly! Using an algae brush, meticulously brush every corner of your pool, including the walls, ladders, steps, and diving boards.
Any traces of algae clinging to any part of your pool needs to be loosened and removed.
#4. Test The Water
Purchase a couple of pool water test kits or test strips for checking your pool water’s alkalinity and pH level.
The alkalinity should be between 100 parts per million (ppm) to 150ppm and pH level between 7.5 and 7.6. This is crucial for the next step.
#5. Shock The Pool to Kill Algae
You may be familiar with shocking your pool, but to kill algae, the shock needs to be strong, at least a double dose. Where you’d usually use a ratio of 1 pound of calcium hypochlorite shock to 10,000 gallons of water, make that 2 pounds.
If the water turns a darker shade of green, you may need to triple or quadruple the amount of calcium hypochlorite shock.
And always shock your pool during the night, or the sun’s rays can burn the chlorine and render the entire process useless.
#6. Run The Pump For At Least 8 Hours
After doing a double or triple dose of pool shock, you have to distribute this shock equally throughout your pool and allow it to disintegrate.
Run your pump for at least 8 hours overnight, and if you triple shock your pool, run the pump for at least 24 hours.
After this, test your pool water again, and don’t use your pool until the chlorine levels return to normal.
How Do You Keep Them from Returning?
Water bugs will continue to thrive and return to your pool unless you are meticulous about cleaning your pool regularly and maintaining the chlorine level or the sanitization of choice.
These two steps should be enough to prevent algae from growing in your pool and keep the water bugs at bay.
Remember, if your pool is no longer a viable source of food — the algae — it wouldn’t have any appeal to the water bugs. So, there would be no reason for them to invade your pool.