June 26

How to Get Rid of Waterbugs

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As a swimmer myself, I have always been concerned with the hygiene of pools my loved ones and I use. So when I see waterbugs floating about in public pools, I feel the need to inform pool owners to maintain their pool’s sanitary levels, to eliminate waterbugs.

How to get rid water bugs? So, my friends and I started WaterMan to help local pool owners.

Common Waterbugs That Contaminate Pools

Here are some helpful tips you can use to get rid of bugs in your pool:

There are at least two types of pests that may commonly contaminate your swimming pool. The problem is that one feeds on the other, so if one makes its way into your pool, chances are so will the other. The following are the two bugs you should be concerned about:

Water Boatmen

Water boatmen are small bugs that eat algae, microorganisms, and mosquito larvae you can’t necessarily see by the naked eye. They tend to lay egg sacks in pool algae, so if you have algae in your pool, chances are the water boatmen will soon follow. They do not bite and pose no real threat to humans, but can harbor other microbes that could be potentially harmful. It’s also worth mentioning that they are relatively gross and slimy, so for those reasons alone, you need to get rid of water bugs like this; you don’t want them in your pool. They also breathe air so they can be drowned easily, but you will have to remove the corpses.


Backswimmers are another common variety of pool waterbugs. They eat other waterbugs like water boatmen. So if you have algae, you will have water boatmen, and if you have water boatmen, there are chances you will find backswimmers in your pool too. They can typically be found on the surface of the water as they breathe air. They can also fly and lay eggs in pool algae the way water boatmen do. They do have a nasty bite, though, so you should be careful when trying to exterminate them!

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How to Eliminate Them

As is evident from above, there’s a whole food chain at work here, at the bottom of which is algae. If you eliminate the algae in your pool, you are cutting the source of food for other waterbugs like water boatmen and, as a result, for backswimmers too.

Shock Your Pool

To remove algae, not only do you need to maintain the chemical levels of your pool but also ‘shock’ your pool regularly. This involves pouring at least three times the amount of pool sanitizer and chlorine you usually put in your pool. This ensures your pool gets a thorough clean. Try to do this at least once a month to maintain your pool’s hygiene and prevent algae from blooming. Another technique I find helpful is to use an algae brush after shocking my pool. I then brush all the algae off the walls, so they loosen and release into the water. The chlorine then has a better chance of killing it.

Oil and a Bucket

To kill the bugs, pour some of your pool water into a bucket that also has a lid. Add some oil into the water. Scoop the bugs out of the pool with a skimmer and put them in the oil bucket. Put the lid on and wait for them to perish. The film of oil on top of the water will not allow the bugs to come to the top for the air.


What causes waterbugs in your house?

Bugs get attracted to your home due to food, like a mosquito, algae, and many more.

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They also come to your home for water, as they get attracted to pipe leaks and stagnant water and damp areas.

What kills water bugs instantly?

The best way to kill a waterbug is to maintain water chemistry.

As mentioned earlier, a waterbug is attracted to algae in the pool.

You need to eliminate algae using acids like boric acid or vinegar to kill them instantly.

Apart from boric acid or diatomaceous earth, you can also spread oil on the water so that they cannot swim in the swimming pool.

Are water bugs and roaches the same?

No, a waterbug and cockroaches are entirely different.

The most effective way to differentiate between them is to notice their color.

Cockroaches are usually reddish-brown and have two black spots on their back.

On the other hand, a water bug does not have any shade of reddish-brown.

They are usually entirely black, but maybe the same size as cockroaches.

Will baking soda kill water bugs?

Yes, it and boric acid can be used to kill water bugs at home.

It absorbs excess water in the area and kills the bugs by dehydration.

You can also use diatomaceous earth to eliminate them.

However, it takes time to kill a water bug.

Therefore, we can say that it is not an instant water bug killer.

Moreover, it is not effective in swimming pools, but you can use it in your home.

Thus, in case of a pool, you must not use baking soda to kill water bugs, as it will not be sufficient.

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Do water bugs bite?

As discussed earlier, there are two types of water bugs.

Out of those two, only the backswimmers can bite you and can lead to a skin infection.

Therefore, you need to eliminate them at first sight.

Try using a spray bottle filled with boric acid.

If all else fails, contact a local pest control company for help.

Do water bugs fly?

Yes, most of the water bugs are capable of flying.

However, they cannot fly for a long duration.

In many cases, these bugs come out of the swimming pool, which gives you a chance to eliminate them without affecting the pool water.

Make sure that you grab that opportunity immediately.

What attracts water bugs?

Broadly, there are two things, which might lead to you having a giant water bug problem.

The first thing is food, like mosquitos, algae and many more.

The second thing is standing water or untreated swimming pool.

You can get rid of them by focusing on eliminating these two criteria.

Make sure that you use pesticides to remove all the food for the bugs and treat the water regularly.

Professional pest control is often the best option.

Final Thoughts about Water Bugs

Additional Resources: Killing giant water bugs and other household pests like cockroaches can be a nasty, painful job for any pool owner, but it is an important one nevertheless. If you want to swim in clean, hygienic water, you need to prevent algae from coming in and thereby also prevent other pests such as waterbugs, cockroaches, or palmetto bugs. So now you know how to get rid of waterbugs, have a happy and clean swim!

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