Water bugs are a species of cockroach that is usually found outdoors in cool, damp areas. These insects are of the species Blatta orientalis, commonly called oriental cockroaches or black beetles. Though they do not bite or harm humans, water bug infestations can be unsightly and unsanitary. There are a variety of poison insecticides available that are recommended for the extermination of water bugs.
Water bugs are not invasive to homes. They thrive on organic and decaying matter, specially under leaves, mulch, and other shrubbery. Colonies are also found in dark, moist areas. They can inhabit basements, stone masonry, dumps, sewage systems, water pipes and crawl spaces. If water is scarce, the insects may travel indoors through ventilation systems, air ducts or under doors. They are poor climbers, and once inside, are not commonly found on walls, in high cupboards, or on upper floors. Water bugs tend to get trapped in bathroom fixtures after crawling through drains because they are unable to climb out.
Boric acid powder can be spread around areas where water bugs are found. Some people prefer boric acid because it is a naturally occurring compound and not synthetically produced. Boric acid is available at hardware and discount stores.
Hydramethylnon comes in gel form or in a bait station that contain pellets of the poison. It is sold under the brand name Combat. This chemical is a bait-type poison that relies on water bugs retrieving and consuming it through strategically located receptacles containing the poison.
Another spray-on poison is cypermethrin(C23H19ClF3NO3, CAS No. 91465-08-6). This poison decomposes quickly in a natural environment, but it is long lasting when used indoors. Brand names for cypermethrin include Demon, Cynoff and Ammo. One drawback of cypermethrin is that it can leave behind a residue.
For water bugs that are harassing you in the swimming pool, just add a few tablespoons of dish detergent to the water. Once you get out of the pool for the day, add the detergent with the pump running. Allow the water to calm and when the sun goes down, turn the pool lights on. The water bugs will be drawn to the light but when they get in the pool, the detergent will have created a barrier on the water so that when the bugs go under, they can’t come back up for air.