Termites Swim in Your Pool? 5 Simple Steps to Ditch Unwanted Guests!

Because termites can’t survive in water for very long, you’d think they wouldn’t be a problem in your pool, but you’d be wrong. They are potentially destroyers of vinyl-lined pools, and even if you have a cement or fiberglass pool, you’re still not safe. Termites devour wood and water, and the pool and decking provide them with ample amounts of both. So, how does one get rid of them in and around the pool?

Getting rid of termites that have flown into the pool, often after rain, requires skimming the surface manually with a net or waiting for the floating termites to be sucked into the skimmer basket when the pump is running. Ridding the pool area, though, requires the use of pesticides.

Termites fulfill a useful role in the environment as decomposers, breaking down organic matter (mainly cellulose) and returning nutrients to the soil. However, that fact doesn’t make them any more welcome in our pools, and they can also cause a great deal of harm. I’ll explain the various types of termites that could land up in your pool and then how to get rid of them.

How To Get Rid Of Termites In Pool

Finding termites in the pool is an indication of termite nests in the immediate area, as they will always look for the nearest source of water. Flying termites come from further afield, so it’s harder to eradicate them, but there are several ways to discourage them from plunging into your pool.

What Termites Get Into Swimming Pools?

There are three categories of termites:

Subterranean termite: the most widespread form of termite found in every state except Alaska. These termites, which include the Formosan termite, are responsible for most of the termite damage in the US. They eat softer woods, such as pine and cedar, and travel through underground mud tubes.

Drywood termite: This type does not need soil to build a colony. As the name implies, drywood termites live in non-living wood, such as dead trees, structural timber, and wood floors. Some species can cause severe damage to homes, but because their colonies are smaller than those of subterranean termites, it is a slower process.

Dampwood termite: These termites only colonize wood with high moisture content, so they rely on living trees and plants for their nutrition. As a result, they don’t present a threat to structural timbers and homes but can still wind up in your pool as they search for water.

Methods For Getting Rid Of Termites In Pool

Flying termites are self-destructive, but the subterranean varieties are a problem, so in their case, prevention is better than cure.

Getting Rid Of Flying Termites By Skimming The Pool Surface

Termites have a caste system similar to bees, and the first to appear in your pool are the swarmers or alates, which are the reproductive termites. They tend to emerge after heavy rain and land in the pool more by accident than design, often attracted by sunlight or artificial lights reflecting off the surface.

They can be removed by skimming the surface manually with a net, or they can be sucked into the skimmer box and removed from there. Failing that, the drowned termites can be vacuumed off the floor of the pool.

Getting Rid Of Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are responsible for most damage to the pool. They do this either by attacking the vinyl liner of above-ground and inground pools or by attacking anything wooden – this could be the decking around the pool or even the pool’s framework if it’s made from wood. Wood is their meal of the day, but the vinyl is attacked not for its food value but because it’s the barrier between the termite and its water needs.

You’re not safe from destructive termites even if you have a cement or fiberglass pool, as they will attack PVC piping in the filtration system to get to the water in the pipes.

Getting rid of these subterranean pests is a challenging task, and I recommend calling in pest control professionals if the situation is serious. However, some steps you can take include:

  • Checking for any leaks in the pool or plumbing. The moisture will attract the worker termites, which have been sent out to scavenge for food and water, and they will alert the rest of the colony.
  • Treat all the wooden objects in the vicinity of the pool with a termite repellant and then seal it. This includes decking, pergolas, fencing, and, most notably, any wood used in the framework of your pool.
  • Check all trees and woody vegetation in the area around the pool. Any sign of termite infestation will require the removal of the affected plants and treatment of the ground around them with an anti-termite pesticide.
  • Digging a trench around the entire perimeter is a rather drastic but effective method of getting rid of termites or keeping the subterranean ones away from your pool. Once dug, the trench is then filled with soil that has been treated with termite pesticide, and your immediate pool area is protected.
  • Termite baiting is a long-term method of reducing or even eliminating termites from the pool area. It involves attracting the workers with food that attracts the worker termites, combined with a termiticide. The workers take the food back to the colony, and in this way, the whole colony is slowly eliminated.

As I’ve discovered, getting rid of termites involves more than just removing them from the pool. Prevention is the key to long-term success, and I’ve highlighted some of the best methods. If you are struggling to get rid of termites, you’re not alone, and I would repeat my recommendation that the best people to deal with the termite problem are pest control professionals.


Eliminating termites from your pool is not easy, as they are not contaminants like water bugs that grow and breed in the pool. Termites seek water or the cellulose found in wood, and they can be very destructive in their search for both food sources. While you can get rid of flying termites very simply, subterranean termites present a bigger challenge. I hope you’ve got the solutions you need from this article – good luck!