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Pest Control Springtails What To Know

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Springtails: What to Know

What Are Springtails?

Springtails are tiny insects typically found in moist, nutrient-rich soil. While harmless to humans, they can become nuisance pests in large numbers and may damage germinating seeds and young plants in gardens.

Named for the furcula, a fork-like structure under their abdomens, springtails can leap into the air when this structure is released. They lack wings and vary in shape from long and slender to round or oval. Although some resemble small spiders, they only have six legs and can be tan to blue-gray with spots, stripes, or solid colors.

Springtails begin their life cycle as tiny eggs, taking 5-11 weeks to mature into adults. Young springtails look like smaller, lighter-colored adults and undergo several molts, with some species molting over 50 times.

What Do Springtails Look Like?

Springtails vary widely in shape, size, and color, usually measuring 1-3 millimeters, with some reaching up to 6mm. Their bodies can be long and thin or round and oval, with short or long legs and antennae. Some have iridescent scales, and many possess two dark spots on their heads, each containing a cluster of up to 8 eyes. Species living in dark environments, like caves or soil, may have no eyes.

Types of Springtails

There are over 8,000 springtail species globally, with around 650 in the USA. They are categorized into three main types:

  1. Elongate-bodied Springtails (order Entomobryomorpha): These have smooth, long, slender bodies, sometimes covered with metallic, iridescent scales. They are common indoor pests, often found in wet basements, planters, sinks, or bathrooms.

Globular Springtails (order Symphypleona): These round, globe-shaped pests have long antennae and are typically 1-3 millimeters long, with yellow or tan bodies featuring stripes or spots. The garden springtail, a common type, often becomes an outdoor pest.

Water Springtails and More (order Poduromorpha): These have short antennae and legs attached to oval bodies, usually gray or black, often seen floating on water surfaces in pools or ponds. Snow fleas, known for forming dark patches on snow, belong to this group.

Where Do Springtails Live?

Springtails inhabit diverse environments worldwide, from tropical regions to the Antarctic, thriving in humid, moist conditions. Most species dwell in damp soil, under rocks, logs, bark, moss, and decomposing leaves. Some live on water surfaces in ponds and creeks, while others reside on snow or glaciers.


What Do Springtails Eat?

Springtails consume decaying plant matter, fungus, fungal spores, mold, and mildew. Some species also eat bacteria, pollen, fecal matter, and decomposing animals. In natural settings, they play a crucial role in breaking down organic material and returning nutrients to the soil. However, in agricultural or garden environments, they can damage germinating seeds and young plants.

Are Springtails Harmful?

Springtails are not harmful or dangerous pests. Although their large numbers can be annoying, they do not spread diseases, bite people, or damage furniture or indoor property.

Do Springtails Bite?

Despite being mistaken for fleas due to their small size and jumping ability, springtails do not bite humans or animals. They are more of a nuisance than a threat.

Signs You Have Springtails

The presence of thousands of tiny, hopping insects or wilting houseplants might indicate a springtail infestation, as they can destroy young plants.

Why Do You Get Springtails?

Springtails may enter homes seeking humidity if their outdoor environment becomes too hot or dry. They infiltrate through cracks in doorways, windows, or screens, attracted to damp areas like bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, outdoor drains, and pools.

How to Get Rid of Springtails

Reducing excess moisture is key to controlling springtails. Outdoors, you can:

  • Use only 2-3 inches of mulch
  • Remove excess leaves and plant litter
  • Water less frequently
  • Avoid dense ground covers
  • Position downspouts to divert water away from your home’s foundation

Indoors, you can:

  • Use fans to improve airflow in humid areas
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Repair plumbing leaks
  • Insulate pipes and air-conditioning shafts
  • Avoid over-watering houseplants

Pesticides are usually unnecessary unless moisture control fails. If needed, use aerosol sprays for “creeping and crawling” pests or perimeter treatments outdoors. Avoid bug bombs, as they are ineffective in small cracks where springtails hide. Always follow safety precautions and usage directions for any pesticide used.

Springtails are small, soil-dwelling arthropods that inhabit sunny environments globally, including forests, grasslands, and agricultural fields. Known for their flea-like jumping abilities, they move swiftly and hop from place to place. While you might not notice them during winter unless it's a bright, sunny day, they are capable of surviving the cold months and can often be seen hopping on snow when the sun is out.

Springtails are tiny, measuring about 1/16 of an inch, making them hard to spot. Their colors can range from white, gray, brown, and green to metallic hues. Depending on the species, their segmented bodies can be elongated and slender or compact and rounded. They possess a furcula under their abdomen, which they use to jump.

These arthropods have antennae on their heads for sensing their surroundings, which vary in length. They have compound eyes, though some species adapted to soil or cave life may be blind. Their bodies can appear smooth or covered with scales or hairs, sometimes giving them a shiny appearance.

Springtails are resilient and can thrive in various climates across the United States. They are commonly found in damp soil, on fungi, mold, and decaying logs. You might also spot them near pools, air conditioning units, and other moist areas. Indoors, they are often found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, or any place with humidity issues, especially after a leak.

Springtails are harmless to humans, pets, and buildings. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem by aiding in decomposition and nutrient cycling in the soil. However, they can become a nuisance if they invade indoor spaces.

ndoor Springtail Control

Reduce Humidity: Use dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and fans to lower indoor humidity. Ventilate moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens, and repair any plumbing leaks.

Fix Leaks & Excess Water: Eliminate leaks and standing water in basements, crawl spaces, and around your home’s foundation. Ensure gutters and downspouts direct water away from the house.

Vacuum Regularly: This helps remove springtails from indoor areas, especially when they appear in large numbers.

Seal Entry Points: Use caulk to seal cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and foundations to prevent springtails from entering.

Outdoor Springtail Control

Improve Drainage: Make sure the soil around your home drains properly to avoid excess moisture. Use landscaping to direct water away from the foundation.

Reduce Mulch and Organic Debris: Springtails thrive in moist, organic matter. Keep mulch, leaf litter, and other debris away from your home's foundation.

Adjust Watering Practices: Avoid overwatering lawns and gardens. Ensure plants have adequate but not excessive moisture.

Pest Control: If you can't control the moisture levels and springtails persist, consider professional pest control. They can provide treatments that create undesirable conditions for springtails, using pet- and child-friendly solutions.

Springtails are more active on cooler days during warm months and on sunny winter days. They thrive in moist conditions and are less active on hot, dry days, typically most active in the afternoon and early evening.


Springtails consume small organisms and organic matter, primarily mold spores and fungi. They also eat bacteria from decaying organic material.


Springtails are common in homes with high humidity and leaks. They are also attracted to light, entering through doors and window gaps.


Yes, in your yard, springtails indicate healthy soil. They help decompose organic matter, enriching the soil and maintaining its fertility.


Limit excess moisture around your home. Keep gutters clear, fix drainage issues, dispose of decaying plants, and stack firewood away from walls on elevated surfaces. Seal areas around bathtubs, showers, sinks, and doors to prevent springtails from entering.

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