Springtails are a group of arthropods that are closely related to insects, and they are around 1.5 to 2 mm in length, making them exceedingly small in size. Springtails belong to the Collembola order, and they get their common name from their habit of hopping into the air with their tails, which along with their small size, makes them easy to mistake for fleas. Unlike fleas, springtails do not bite humans, and they are not considered pests of medical importance, but they usually pose a nuisance within the homes that they invade. Springtails are abundant in moist soil including residential lawns, and they often become indoor pests within homes that are located on heavily irrigated lawns. Springtails can be alarming to homeowners, as large numbers are frequently found congregating in moist indoor areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Their indoor presence sometimes indicate moisture problems that result from plumbing or rainwater leaks.
Outdoors, female springtails deposit their eggs in moist soil, often near decaying organic matter, particularly dead vegetation like lawn clippings. In addition to their small size, springtails can be recognized for their whitish, bluish, and dark grey to black exterior. When approached either outdoors or indoors, springtails become threatened and will hop several inches into the air in order to escape danger. Springtails are known for congregating in massive numbers along foundation walls on excessively hot days, and while they prefer to dwell outdoors, they commonly invade homes in order to secure a moist environment during bouts of dry weather. Springtails gravitate into tubs, sinks, drains and wall voids where pipe condensation creates moist conditions. Springtails are often present within potted plants located both indoors and outdoors, and due to their small size, large numbers can be blown into yards by wind gusts. These pests are also commonly found within footwear, packing materials and in store bought soil. Sealing cracks and crevices on exterior foundation walls and installing door sweeps to block door gaps work well to prevent springtails from entering homes. Existing infestations can be well controlled by placing several sticky traps near moist indoor areas.
Have you ever witnessed springtails hop into the air?