The common name of Springtails comes from the fact that most species have a springlike structure which allows them to jump. A Springtail measuring only 3/16” long can jump up to 4” high.
Springtails are nuisance pests which are attracted to areas of high moisture and are found worldwide. Adult Springtails can range from about 1/32” up to 1/8” in length with soft narrow bodies, usually whitish gray in color, but can range through a variety of colors depending on their food source.
Mature Springtails will lay their eggs in moist situations, and this can occur several times throughout the life of the adult Springtail. Developmental time (egg to adult) usually requires 2 to 3 months, but this can vary greatly depending on the temperature.
There are occurrences of Springtails causing an itching dermatitis in humans.
Springtails inhabit only moist or damp areas because of their sensitivity to water loss. They are mostly found in the soil and in enormous numbers, such as up to 30,000 per square foot in planted landscaping. Springtails will invade structures to find moisture when their habitat becomes dry, typically in the heat of summer. They can enter through door thresholds, through window screens or around utility pipes. They are also frequently brought into structures in potted plants.
Indoors, Springtails are commonly found in high moisture areas such as in bathrooms and kitchens, damp crawl spaces or basements, and inside damp wall voids. If mildew can be smelled, Springtails may become a problem. Outdoors, they can be found in nearly any type of ground cover, mulch or simply in the general landscaping around a structure. Springtails feed on decaying vegetation, fungi, pollen, algae and or other dead insects.
The best control for Springtails is to dry out the area of infestation so they will either leave or die. For occasional invasions due to weather changes, an interior treatment by a trained and licensed pest control operator can be completed by applying an appropriate pesticide along baseboards, low corners and windowsills inside, as well as treatment in the crawl space under a structure. Exterior treatment can also be beneficial as a preventative to keep outdoor populations around a structure from becoming a nuisance inside.