Swimming Pool Bugs: Treatment and Prevention

Imagine this, you walk out to your pool, ready to take a nice dip and what do you discover? Bugs are already swimming in your pool! Although most common in the Queensland area from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, these bugs can be found all over Australia.

Types of Swimming Pool Bugs

There are two main types of bugs that can be found in Australian pools and those are the Water Boatmen and the Back Swimmer Bugs.

  • Water Boatmen swarm and live in the pool because they feed on mosquito larvae, algae spores, and other microorganisms in your pool. Water boatmen also don’t bite humans. While this may sound alright, who really wants to share their swimming pools with bugs right? On top of this, they lay their eggs in the pool which can cause an infestation if not treated outright! And the final annoying reason why water boatmen have to be treated is they can be the food source for another type of swimming pool bug which is…
  • Back Swimmer Bugs! They get this name because they swim on their backs, just like how you or I would float around in the pool when we relax and lounge. If you’ve ever gotten bug bites while swimming in a swimming pool then back swimmer bugs are the likely culprits. The bite of back swimmer bugs isn’t particularly poisonous, but depending on their size, they can feel like bee stings! They typically eat other bugs, with water boatmen on the top of the menu so if you have water boatmen in your pool, back swimmer bugs are sure to follow.
  • Other types of bugs - There will be other bugs that will land on the pool but they probably won’t survive and end up floating in your pool, dead. This in itself is an annoyance as they can become food for back swimmer bugs and can cause algae growth in your pool.

Getting rid of swimming pool bugs

There are a number of ways to get rid of swimming pool bugs which can range from DIY to buying specially formulated pool chemicals to deal with them.

  • Baby Oil/Vegetable oil - This is a popular solution that has been floating around (pun intended) on swimming pool forums for getting rid of bugs. A thin layer of oil on the pool surface will mess up with their survival mechanisms and cause these bugs to drown, leaving them to float in the pool. But at least the bugs are dead right? The main downside to this is that it messes up your pool chemistry and it will cause your pool filter elements to gunk up.
  • Dish soap- handy to use in a pinch and this has been recommended in swimming pool forums as well, but do you really want to add soap to your pool? This is something that can definitely deal with bugs like the water boatmen and back swimmer bugs but it will do a number of on you pool chemistry as well!
  • Shocking your pool - Yep, shocking your pool will get rid of these bugs no problem. But then again, we recommend just shocking your pool on a scheduled basis and when you need to. The real downside that we can see with this is that you can’t use the pool for a day or two after shocking, and if you live in an area with a lot of bugs, you can’t really keep shocking your pool right? You’ll end up just shocking your pool constantly with no chance to swim in it!
  • Use the Water TechniX Bug Away / No More Bugs pool chemical - We recently just launched this pool chemical and it's already one of our best sellers! This is a unique non-foaming formulation that breaks the surface tension of the pool water, preventing these floating bugs from surviving. What basically happens is that the chemical prevents the formation of air bubbles that the bugs use to float and survive in your pool, causing them to drown and sink to the bottom where they can be filtered or vacuumed out. And as an added bonus, this also causes other dead bugs to sink to the bottom of your pool, making them easier to deal with using a vacuum, automatic pool cleaner, or robotic pool cleaner! The Water TechniX Bug Away / No More Bugs pool chemical has also been tested for use in your pool so it’s guaranteed not to mess with your pool chemical balance as well!

SEE ALSO: Keep Critters Away from your pool

Preventing Bugs from entering your pool

None of the methods presented above (including the Water TechniX Bug Away / No more bugs pool chemical) can actually prevent bugs from entering your pool! Treating them is one thing, but preventing them is a whole different matter altogether. Here are some ways that you can prevent bugs from even entering your pool in the first place!

  • Diligent use of Algaecides - As we have mentioned above, water boatmen are attracted to the pool because of algae spored (their main source of food) and if we’re diligent in the use of algaecides, there will be very little reason for water boatmen to approach and live in our pool! (We Recommend the Lo-Chlor Miraclear Algaecide simply because it has a built-in clarifier for clearer pool water! But any algaecide will do as long as long as you follow the manufacturer's directions)
  • Pool Covers when the pool is not in use - If they can’t land in the pool, then they can’t live in it right? Not only that, if any bugs land in the pool while it is being used and the pool is covered afterward, they’re going to have a hard time surviving in the pool! Want more information on Pool Covers? Check out our Ultimate Pool Covers Guide here.
  • Bug zappers / Bug traps around the pool - This is pretty self-explanatory. If bugs get zapped on the way to the pool then they can’t land on it!
    Yellow lights - While white light can attract bugs, yellow light can actually deter them! We won’t go much into the science but yellow lights blind certain types of pool bugs. So if you have a color-changing LED light then you can set them at yellow if you’re swimming at night or if you want to keep your pool lights on at night for any reason.
  • Good Pool Maintenance - Another pillar of good pool ownership is good pool maintenance. Having a good pool cleaning routine can pretty much guarantee a bug-free pool 90% of the time. The other 10%? That’s up to mother nature!

SEE ALSO: Swimming Pool Features that will make you go “wow”


At the very least, good pool cleaning and maintenance can prevent or lessen bug infestation in your pool. But if you're in an area where no matter what you do and bugs are still drawn to your pool then an addition of the Lo-Chlor No More Bugs is a must-have for your pool.

Want a physical barrier against bugs? Check out the best pool covers in Australia here.

Check out also other-related articles below:


Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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