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Uninvited guests have no place in your sacred relaxation paradise. But the fact is that insects are magically attracted to pools.

Are you also dealing with floating insects in your pool?

In fact, many pool owners share the problem, although simple solutions to this problem exist. While there is no chemical remedy for pool insects, our step-by-step guide and tips for preventing them and keeping them away in the long run will also help you get rid of them – once and for all.

Before we jump in with the specific tips, you should know what insects you’re dealing with.

What insects are in the pool?

These two types of aquatic insects are most common in the pool.

Rudder bugs

Rudder bugs, such as Corixa punctata, are insects that live in bodies of water. They feed mainly on algae, but also eat microorganisms and mosquito larvae. We admit that they look disgusting, but they can’t bite. Rudder bugs breathe air, can fly and like to lay eggs in algae.

Backswimmers

Backswimmers are something every pool owner has seen. In our experience, this type of insect is somewhat more common. Backswimmers are very thin, up to 1.5 inches long, also breathe air and need to surface regularly. They eat other insects and especially oar bugs. Backswimmers can bite, fly and lay their eggs in algae.

In addition to these two species, there are many other types of insects, such as mosquitoes, dragonflies, and various bugs that are attracted to your pool. Our guide will help with problems with many types of insects, as with our guide you will break the cycle that attracts more and more insects to your pool.

6 Steps to get rid of swimming insects in the pool

Direct remedies for insects in the pool do not exist. Sprays against insects are all not designed for you to bathe in them. For this reason, you can only get rid of the unwanted guests by depriving the insects of their food base.

We remember: the oar bugs eat algae and backswimmers eat oar bugs. So, you need to get rid of the algae from the pool first to break the cycle.

Step 1: Make sure your pool chemistry is balanced.

The starting point for removing algae is balanced pool chemistry. First, check the pool water with simple test strips.

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The ideal values are:

  • pH: 7.2 to 7.6
  • Alkalinity: 80 to 150 ppm

Pay attention to the values (and especially the pool pH measurement) and readjust if necessary to really kill the algae. For example, a too high pool pH would inhibit the effectiveness of the chlorine in the pool shocker.

Step 2: Brushing

Brush down the pool walls and anything that comes in contact with water. Algae can take root deep in the pool walls and at the bottom of the pool. Pay special attention to the corners and shady sides of your pool. Typically, that’s where algae grows the most.

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Be very thorough when brushing, as this will allow the disinfectant and especially the pool shocker to penetrate deep into the structure of the algae and kill any remaining cells.

Tip: As you brush the pool, the view becomes increasingly unclear. So start with the most stressed areas.

Step 3: Strong shock chlorination

You can only get rid of an algae infestation with a massive shock chlorination. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which can be found on the pool shocker packaging or on the manufacturer’s website. Multiply the dosage by a factor of two, three or four – depending on the type of algae infestation.

  • Green algae: Double shock chlorination
  • Yellow algae or dark green algae: Triple shock chlorination
  • Black algae: Quadruple shock chlorination
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Use pool shockers with non-stabilized chlorine, so you don’t raise the chlorine level of the water beyond good and evil.

Tip: Put your pool equipment in the water to disinfect it during shock chlorination.

Step 4: Brush again

Even after a heavy shock chlorination, there will still be algae residue in the pool. Scrub the pool walls and bottom again with the algae brush. This will get even more algae off the wall and make the pool shocker’s job easier.

Note: Algae is often not completely removed, even if it seems that way at first. Residue, no matter how small, can have growth spurts again and cause another algae bloom.

Step 5: Normal shock chlorination

We advise waiting about three days after heavy shock chlorination and then shocking the pool again with a normal dose.

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With the pool shocker, you take away the bugs’ food source. When the oar bugs disappear from the pool, the insect-eating backswimmers also lose their food source. Now it’s time to take care of the insects themselves.

Step 6: Get the insects out of the pool water

After the final shock chlorination, now it’s time to get rid of the remaining bugs. The best way to get the aquatic insects out of the pool is with a fine mesh pool net.

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If you just release the insects somewhere in your backyard, the insect-free pool won’t last. Solve the problem once and for all by killing the aquatic insects.

The most effective way to do this is to fill a (ideally sealable) bucket with some pool water, to which you then add some cooking oil. Since oil and water do not mix, a surface of oil is formed.

The insects will die in this solution because they have no way to get air to breathe. Just put the insects in the solution, close or cover the bucket, and wait for the insects to die.

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Take proper precautions and keep insects away from the pool

After the one-time cleaning action, in which you have freed the pool from the swimming insects, you certainly want to keep the insects away from the pool in the long term. There are several methods for this purpose. Among the best of them are these.

Use a pool cover

A pool cover is the easiest way to reduce the number of aquatic insects in the pool. For this purpose, the pool cover must close with the swimming pool without any openings, if possible. This way, you prevent insects from entering the pool in the first place.

A pool cover does not guarantee a completely insect-free pool. After all, if the cover is on the pool, you can’t swim in it either. However, most of the time a swimming pool is unused, and it is during this time that a pool cover works wonders when it comes to the insect population in and on the pool water.

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Keeping pool chemistry in balance

When it comes to pool maintenance, balanced pool chemistry is the foundation for a clean, sanitary pool that is safe for your health. Check water quality regularly with a test strip or test kit.

The concentration of the disinfectant (for most pools, chlorine in the form of chlorine tablets) and the pH value are particularly decisive for the insect problem. If you add cyanuric acid, a chlorine stabilizer, on your own, you will need to test the pool water regularly for the concentration of the acid. Excessive levels of cyanuric acid (above 50 ppm) greatly inhibit the action of the chlorine and have no significant benefits.

There is no direct remedy for insects in the pool. However, with a balanced pool chemistry, both algae and insects are very uncomfortable in the pool. Then it does not happen that mosquitoes lay their eggs in the pool, and you have lots of mosquito larvae in the pool.

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Part of proper pool maintenance is weekly shock chlorination. During the peak summer season, add pool shockers to the water more often, as the pool is used more and the warm temperatures provide optimal conditions for bacteria and algae to multiply.

Purchase a pool robot

Pool robots automatically clean the pool walls and bottom. They remove leaves, soil, hair and other dirt particles from the pool and, incidentally, suck in all kinds of insects. The big advantage is that the pool vacuuming robot works all by itself. Apart from the few times you should check on the robot, you don’t have to do much.

Note: However, you must not use the pool robot under any circumstances when algae blooms are present. The robot will act as a chauffeur for the algae cells and spread you all over the pool.

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Keep the filter pump working longer

A filter pump in combination with a skimmer keeps your pool clean. The pump and regular operation of it are among the basics of pool maintenance. When it comes to insects in the pool, the filter pump helps tremendously by removing insects and larvae of insects from the water.

The pump should be run at least 8 hours a day anyway. If there are a lot of insects in the water, increase the running time of the filter pump so that more pool water is filtered.

The filter pump will then also filter more insects out of the water. Test around a bit and observe if there are still insects in the pool at 16 hours run time or all day run time, for example.

Build a pool enclosure

In America and in this country, too, more and more pool owners are roofing over their sacred swimming paradise. With see-through walls made of glass or Plexiglas, you’ll have the feeling of being out in the fresh air even when swimming in your outdoor pool. Insects and wild animals, however, must stay outside.

During installation, it is important that the individual elements of the enclosure are connected to each other without gaps and that there are no niches between the pool enclosure and the ground.

Conclusion

Our method to get rid of bugs in the pool work pretty well, because through the individual steps, the insects in the pool water are gradually deprived of their food base.

When there are fewer algae-eating insects in the pool, fewer insectivores come to the pool and the cycle is broken.

In the long run, you can keep the insects away by cleaning the pool regularly, keeping the pool chemistry balanced, and following our other tips.

We hope our guide has helped you remove the uninvited guests from your pool and that you are now having a relaxing pool time again, without the constant phantom tingling when you take a dip.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.