If you are seeing itty bitty bugs hopping around your house you may have a springtail problem. Springtails are very small (1/16th and 1/8th inch long), black, tan, or gray insects that can occur in very large numbers. While they are wingless and can’t fly, they do have an appendage, called a furcula, tucked under their abdomen that extends down propelling them forward, like a catapult, but in tiny leaps.
Springtails are primarily an outdoor insect associated with damp conditions and humidity, feeding on molds, pollen, algae, fungi, and decaying plant matter. They are found in a variety of habitats such as rotting wood, soil, leaf litter, under bark, rotting wood, and other areas of high moisture. When conditions are suitable, large masses of springtails may move indoors typically in bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and the soil of potted plants. Populations often soar when hay is placed out to establish the growth of grass.
If you find one or two springtails here and there you can simply vacuum them up, remove them by hand, or wash them down the sink. Persistent activity that they are breeding in large numbers outdoors. In some cases altering the conditions that favor springtails can reduce these numbers. Follow these tips to reduce moisture and other factors that make your home attractive to springtails.
• Reduce moisture and excess organic matter around the foundation of your home, in potted plants, and gardens
• Keep vegetation from crowding the structure
• Seal (caulk) any cracks that could serve as entryways around window and door frames, doors, utility entry points, or water spigots
• Bag lawn clippings or rake them up along with dead thatch in the lawn
• Remove hay placed out to promote the growth of new grass or new lawns.
• Let soil dry slightly between watering and be sure not to overwater
• Keep mulch at least 18” away from the foundation
• Repair areas where water rot exists i.e. window frames, door frames, roof leaks etc.
• Keep gutters clean and running freely
• Be sure downspouts have extensions so they don’t drain at the base of the foundation
• Correct moisture or humidity conditions that may exist in basements, crawlspaces, or attics
• Dry out areas associated with moisture and/or humidity with a fan or dehumidifier
• Don’t over water potted plants or allow drain water to stand in saucers between watering
Although they may be annoying and unappealing in your home, springtails are completely harmless. These little critters do not bite, sting or cause any structural damage. In addition, they are generally a temporary problem and will die off when moisture levels are reduced. However, if you are seeing large numbers of springtails inside your home and you need help controlling them, please give us a call at 1-800-9949-2667.