Apparent backswimmers in pool


New member
Jul 29, 2010
I was swimming around in the pool today, tweaking the eyeball returns and netting the surface when I noticed this bug swimming around in the water. I netted it up and tossed it out of the pool. A few minutes later it was back in. I figured it was either really stupid or was a water bug. A sort of red triangular body, wide at front tapered at the rear. It has wings, really long swimming legs and BIG eyes. Watching it a while I noticed it comes up to breathe and takes air down with it while submerged, and that amazingly it swims underwater upside-down.
When it got to one section of the pool and hung out there I noticed at least three more smaller versions of the same type of bug and decided to do some research.

The description and pictures I've seen lead me to believe these are backswimmers, but I held the large one twice with no bites, so I think I was just lucky.

My pool is borated to about 60PPM and the water chemistry is good, water is clear/sparkly and no odors or algae. FC usage is about 2PPM/day in the Phoenix area with daytime temps of 110F+ and water temp of about 90F and a waterfall. When I say the water is clear, I mean that with goggles under water, I can look the 20 feet across the pool, wall to wall and not be able to tell that there's any water in the way other than some floating debris that hasn't been to the filter yet.

PH: 7.4
FC: 5
TC: 0
CYA: 65
TA: 90

The #1 recommendation on these boards to rid a pool of these buggers is to add borates and I have that covered.

Given that there's nothing in the water for these things to be eating (not that I can tell at least), are they likely to just move on or should I go ahead and shock just to deal with the few bugs? Is there another solution other than the Back Up stuff that seems to cause eye stinging?

I stopped writing and went hunting. I caught the largest one and 13 small ones, but still any other knowledge about how to rid a pool of them?


TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
Orlando, FL
Honestly, I don't think we have a good solution to backswimmers. Last time I had some, I picked them out and found that in a controlled environment (a bucket), a little dishwashing soap works wonders. If I have another round with them, I intend to add a coupla tablespoons of Dawn to my water and shut off the pump for a night.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
I have had backswimmers upon opening (swampy) the past three years but once the pool is clear and properly chlorinated, they just disappear.

my numbers usually are around...

FC - 4.0
pH - 7.2-7.4
TA - 100
CH - 180
CYA - 50

So, we're pretty close in our chemistry and I don't use borates or algaecides. I have no idea why they stay in one pool and leave from another. Does anyone know if they are regional or found throughout the United States?

If I could figure out why they leave my pool, I would bottle it up and sell it!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


LifeTime Supporter
Sep 21, 2009
Central Missouri
We have them here in mid-Missouri. Last year, I had a problem with them. By the first of July, I'd always have two or three swimming in the pool (and yes, it hurts when they bite,) and several dozen in the pump pot basket and the skimmer basket every week. Since I was still a PSD (pool store drone) I never had enough chlorine, rarely had enough algicide, and no borates. They got worse as the summer went on, until I completely lost control of the pool.

This year, I've had very few - maybe a dozen all year, and I haven't seen a live one at all. I have a straight chlorine pool (no borates, no SWG, no algicide, etc.) and that seems to be keeping them at bay for me.

OK, maybe it's not a straight chlorine pool, since it's really mostly water, and only about 6ppm chlorine. :mrgreen:


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 26, 2009
I think it's a food thing. Get rid of the food in the pool (algae) and they'll die off...