They jumps around like fleas but they are no longer considered insects by many scientist. Springtails. These tiny creatures can jump a distance of over 10 centimeters. They are not harmful to human beings but are pain when you are trying to grow plants in your space. This is because they chew the roots of plants inside the soil inhibiting the growth and health of the plant.
Why aren’t springtails considered insects?
Because they belong to the family of hexapods known as collembola, which together with two other modern hexapods in the diplura and protura family, have been declassified as insects. They have internal mouthparts while insects have external mouthparts.
Springtails are omnivorous meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. They love moist conditions and contribute the decomposition of matter in the environment by fragmenting the substances in question. Considering the fact that these little creatures consume fungal spores and hyphae, pollen, plant and animal remains, and bacteria one would be tempted to let them be. But if you have a garden or potted plants a heavy infestation of springtails will cause the plants to remain stagnant not growing or becoming productive.
Lifecycle of springtails
They reproduce very quickly which is why they can form swarm very quickly. Their eggs hach within five days meaning in a month’s time you could have a mammoth level of infestation if they are not gotten rid of.
How to get rid of springtails
These are tiny wingless creatures that can jump in the air meaning they can get around quite a bit. But they love to flock together and bunch up into each other in dense swarm. When the swarm is disturbed they will scatter into the air forming visible clouds as they are airborne. They will gather under the carpet, in your garbage cans, in the kitchen or floorboards.
You can spray the space with home friendly pesticide or use diatomaceous earth to kill them. Just make sure that the diatomaceous earth used is food-grade which is safe for use around pets and children. Good old fashioned vacuuming of the floor and stands where plants are kept is also an effective way of wiping out the infestation.
How to prevent springtails
Springtails are generally an indication of a bigger problem with mold and fungus in the house. They enter the house through window screens, vents, open doors. As the weather goes into summer and the outdoors become more and more dry the little creature find comfort inside the damp areas of your house.
Keep them away by sweeping plant matter away from your yard and burning it. You should also seal cracks and crevices in the house including around the windows and basement openings. Also, because they appear to love the soil of the potted plants, make sure you inspect the soil before using it on your potted plants indoors. You can just test the soil with your fingers to see if any little creatures will jump out. If you have infested soil take it out and let it dry out completely to eliminate any springtails.