How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Your Orlando Pool

Water strider

In Orlando, pest control means more than keeping critters like cockroaches or palmetto bugs outside your home. You’ll want to keep water-loving bugs out of your swimming pool as well. We’ll explain which water bugs you’re likely to find in your Orlando pool — and how you can get rid of them.

4 Common Water Bugs in Orlando Swimming Pools

Four common bugs you may find in your Orlando swimming pool are:

Water Boatmen

Water boatman water bug often found in pools
Water boatman
Photo Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Water boatmen are common pool guests because they like to eat algae and other plant debris. These small swimmers reach about three-eighths inch max and are light brown on their dorsal (back) side. If you have even a small amount of algae or plant debris in your pool, that’s an open invitation for water boatmen to stop by and share a meal.


Photo Credit: gailhampshire / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Backswimmers are another common pool guest, but they are different from water boatmen in a few notable ways:

  • They swim — you guessed it — on their backs, just like someone who competes in the backstroke in a swimming competition.
  • They eat other aquatic bugs, including water boatmen (water boatmen are strictly vegetarian)

If water boatmen show up for the vegetarian offerings, backswimmers show up for the water boatmen. Get rid of the water boatmen, and the backswimmers will have no reason to stop by. 

Water Striders 

Water strider swimming
Water strider
Photo Credit: Pixabay

You’ve probably seen these gravity-defying bugs before. Water striders don’t swim; they walk on the water’s surface. Water striders have thin, brownish-black bodies and six legs. Their legs and bodies contain hairs that allow them to stay dry and buoyant as they travel across the water’s surface. The water strider’s food supply consists of larvae and other insects.


Photo Credit: NY State IPM Program at Cornell University / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Springtails are small (1 mm on average), wingless insects that are common in Florida’s humid climate. Large groups of springtails sometimes land in swimming pools. The good news? According to the University of Florida, springtails perish soon after since they can’t survive in chlorinated water. The other vegetarian on our list, these tiny creatures eat decaying vegetation and fungi.

Bottom line: If there aren’t any bugs or debris floating in your pool, neither the vegetarians nor the insect-eaters will stop by for a swim.

How to Get Rid of Water Bugs

Water bugs aren’t difficult to get rid of in your Orlando pool — just grab your skimmer and fish or scoop them out. If you maintain your pool properly, you should have very few water bugs hanging around. 

Maintain Your Pool

The easiest way to keep water bugs out of your Orlando pool is to keep up with your regular pool maintenance. Why? Water boatmen are there for the buffet — the algae buffet — so you’re less likely to have water boatmen if you have a clean pool. 

What about those biting backswimmers? Backswimmers are there to eat the water boatmen. The moral of the story? Keep a clean, algae-free pool and you’re not likely to have either of these bugs as uninvited pool guests.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have visible algae but you see water boatmen, you can bet there’s algae or other plant material there. Water boatmen don’t come to your pool to relax; they are there to feast. Remove this food source so they won’t stop and have a snack.

Regular pool maintenance should look something like this:

Move It: Keep the Water Moving

Standing water is a recipe for disaster, especially in the swampland that is Central Florida. Pool owners must keep their pool water moving to avoid a pool bug D-Day invasion.

  • Clean the pump and pool skimmer baskets every day.
  • Turn the jets facing down and in the same direction.
  • Run the pool filter 12 hours per day (ideally) during the summer.
  • Clean your filters regularly and maintain the proper PSI.

Clean It: Keep the Pool Clean

Regular pool cleaning does wonders to manage any water bugs that may come your way. The good news is that you don’t need to add anything to your above-ground or in-ground pool maintenance schedule. 

  • Brush the pool every day.
  • Skim leaves every day.
  • Vacuum once per week.

Balance It: Keep the Chemicals Balanced

Algae is a tasty treat for water boatmen, and regular levels of chlorine ensure springtails won’t last long. Keep the chemicals balanced to keep bug infestations to a minimum.

  • Test the water one to two times per week.
  • Maintain pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer at appropriate levels.
  • Shock the pool once per week.

Cover Your Pool

Cover your pool to reduce the cleaning time if the pool will be unused for a while, or if you’re tired of dealing with all the bugs and debris that Orlando has to offer.

There are two ways to cover your pool in Orlando:

  • Use a pool cover
  • Build a pool enclosure

Use a Pool Cover

A pool cover is designed to cover the surface of the pool and keep leaves, debris, and bugs out. Some pool covers are even designed to withstand the weight of humans and protect small children or animals from drowning should they fall onto the cover. 

Pro Tip: If you buy a pool cover, you may need to buy a pool cover pump to drain the water that collects on top every so often.

Build a Pool Enclosure

You probably won’t build a pool enclosure (screen or solid material version) solely to protect your pool from bugs, but it’s a welcome side benefit. 

In addition to keeping bugs at bay, pool enclosures protect your pool from:

  • Excessive UV rays 
  • Debris 
  • Intruders
  • Small kids 

Talk about a multitasker! All that multitasking costs: Pool enclosure prices range from $6,333 to $19,666. 

Pool enclosures may be a hefty investment, but they’ll reduce the time you’ll spend cleaning the pool and increase the time you’ll spend enjoying it. 

If water bugs aren’t all you’re dealing with, Pest Gnome’s Orlando pest control pros can get rid of all that’s bugging you.

If you need an Orlando pool cleaning pro to keep water bugs out of your pool, our sister site, Pool Gnome, can connect you to the best pool cleaners near you.

Main Photo Credit: Pixabay

Sarah Bahr

Sarah is a writer who has previously worked in the lawn care industry. In her spare time, she likes to garden, create mosquito traps out of five-gallon buckets, and use chickens for pest control in the backyard.