Springtails are tiny insects that will jump when disturbed and are often mistaken for fleas. Their tails are equipped with a spring loaded structure called the furcula, when released will spring the insect up to 10 centimeters. Springtails are usually light brown in color but can range from a dark brown to black color. Springtails are wingless, so they are not capable of flying, only crawling and “jumping”.
Springtails need moisture to survive, they are commonly found in damp soils such as flower beds, under logs, under large rocks, in mulch and woodpiles. They thrive under weed barriers and pretty much anywhere that is dark and damp. Springtails will feed on mold, mildew, leaf litter and fungi that could be cause by leaking pipes or water damaged areas.
Springtails can sometimes be found inside of the home usually in kitchens, bathrooms or basements. If there is no water damage inside of the home, it’s likely the springtails have migrated from an over populated site outside. When there are situations like significant water damage to a home springtails maybe found inside the walls or even in water damaged furniture that has mold and mildew.
In most cases once you get rid of the dampness/moisture inside the springtails will be forced to move on and find a new site with moisture. Spot treating inside where you are seeing springtail activity will not be of much help. Treating the source is what needs to be done, which will likely be outside in the soil.
On a positive note, springtails are merely a nuisance pest. They do not cause damage to clothes, the structure of your home or food products. Springtails do not sting or bite. They usually are not an exterior problem. The way they seem to show up out of nowhere in such great numbers, in many cases by the thousands is what is alarming and can be unnerving to most home owners.
If you find yourself with a springtail problem, call your local pest management company for an inspection and advice for treatment plan that will fit the situation.