springtail on a log in knoxville

Springtails are insects. Like all insects, they have three body parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. Although these little insects resemble fleas, they do not jump using their legs, the way fleas do. On the end of their abdomen is a structure called a furcula, which acts like a catapult and is able to launch these little creatures as far as four inches. That is the equivalent of a human being jumping over the Eiffel Tower! On average, a springtail will not grow much larger than .1 inches. It ranges in color between white and black, and may also be purple, red, green, gold, or yellow. 

Habitat Of Springtails 

Springtails feed on decaying plant matter as well as fungi, molds or algae. For this reason, they typically live inside moist soil, especially soil that includes compost, leaf litter, organic mulches, or underneath bark and decaying wood. They are also commonly found in flowerbeds, under paving stones and landscape timbers, and underneath anything else that is damp and lying on top of the soil. They can be seen on the surface of stagnant water, on sidewalks that border swimming pools, or inside mushroom houses and greenhouses. Springtails are considered by many entomologists to be one of the most abundant macroscopic animals in the world. Upwards of 90,000 springtails can live in a single cubic meter of topsoil. 

Springtails will sometimes move indoors when the outside becomes too dry for them to survive. They may also move inside when outside gets too wet, such as in the case of heavy rains or flooding. The way they get into homes or businesses is through window screens, open doors, vent pipes, or hitchhiking inside potted plants. If it has been a hot day, they may bunch together on the sides of buildings in great numbers, which will increase their chances of finding a way into manmade structures. Once inside, they will look for areas where there is moisture, such as bathrooms, basements, kitchens, crawl spaces, or wall voids, where there is dampness. If they enter a home and find no moisture, they will die. 

Problems Caused By Springtails 

These pests are often mistaken for ants, fleas or termites but they don't cause the issues these insects cause, such as getting into your food, biting your ankles, or eating away at your home from the inside out. In fact, these tiny insects really don't do any damage at all. They can, however, be quite disturbing to home and business owners when they congregate in large numbers. 

Pest Control For Springtails 

There are a number of steps you can take to lessen the chances of having a springtail invasion in your home or business. 

  • Keep your yard, and the area around the perimeter of your home, as dry as possible. Remove leaf piles, grass clippings, or other moist materials. Remove any areas of standing water, and make sure that your downspouts are directing water well away from your outside walls. Springtails love moist or damp areas.

  • Trim bushes and other vegetation well away from your home. Pests use these as bridges to reach your walls.

  • Consider installing a perimeter of crushed rock directly around your home to keep moisture away from your foundation and outside walls.

  • Inspect the outside of your home for areas that have water damage. Moisture pests, like the springtail, are drawn to these conditions, and in these places they are likely to find entry points. Inspect the outside of your home for gaps or cracks of any kind and repair those areas. Pay close attention to vulnerable spots, like around pipes and wire conduits.

  • Inside your home fix all leaky pipes, tubs, sinks, toilets or other appliances that provide moisture. If you have humid areas in your home, consider placing fans and/or dehumidifiers to remove moisture. 

The above tips will help to keep springtails out of your home or business but, if they have already made their way inside, it is best to have a professional take care of them. Many over-the-counter products that promise to get rid of springtails are not very effective. It is also important to understand that, if springtails are getting in, then other pests are likely getting in as well. With professional assistance, you can be sure that the entire problem will be addressed. 

If you need help with springtails or any other household pest, reach out to the professionals here at Russell's Pest Control. With over 40 years of experience fighting pests in Tennessee, you can trust to protect your home and your family from invasive pests.

 

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