Before we dive into how dangerous springtails are, we first need to understand what springtails are and how to identify them.
What Are Springtails?
Springtails are a 6-legged arthropod, closely related to inspects. These very small nuisance pests only grow to be about 1/32 to 1/8th of an inch in length; they are soft-bodied, wingless, and have very poor vision. Springtails are beneficial to the environment because they are natural recyclers; they feed on things including decaying vegetation, fungi, bacteria, and insect feces. As they feed they release important nutrients back into the soil helping to keep it healthy.
Springtails get their name from the appendage called a "furcular" that is located underneath their abdomen which allows them to “spring” or jump out of danger. Since they aren’t a very hearty pest, this is their only “defense” mechanism.
Are Springtails Dangerous?
Springtails are not a danger to people, pets, or to the structures of buildings; they are, however, an invading pest that can enter homes in large numbers and can become quite a nuisance. Because of their ability to jump and their small size they are often confused with fleas that do bite and do transmit diseases. However, springtails do neither. Springtails are also often mistaken for ants and termites. But they don't get into your pet's food dish like ants, and they don't destroy the wooden structures in your home like termites. In fact, they really don't do any damage at all. But they are annoying. And since they are able to congregate in large numbers, they can cause fear and concern to homeowners.
Where Do Springtails Live?
Springtails typically live outside in the moist soil. They require high amounts of moisture so that they can absorb it into their body through their body covering. They also breathe through the same mechanism. However, if the soil that they are living in becomes too dry or too saturated with water, they will seek new shelter. They will also find a new place to live if their current living conditions become too overcrowded. Springtails may migrate into homes in large numbers underneath doors, through windows, and through cracks and crevices. They can typically be found living and springing about in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces.
Why are springtails showing up in your home?
Chances are, if you are seeing springtails, they are appearing in places in your home that tend to have a lot of humidity or moisture. If they are near your home, they may find their way inside. This being said, there are several things you can do to prevent a springtail infestation.
Springtails in Your Home
There are three common places to find springtails in your home. These places include:
- The kitchen – especially around appliances and under sinks, springtails thrive on the moisture they can find in a kitchen.
- The bathroom – because bathrooms are damp areas, springtails are attracted to the moisture. You may find them under sinks, near the shower and especially in plants you may keep in the bathroom.
- The basement – if you have laundry appliances in the basement, these damp environments can attract springtails that are seeking moisture.
How to Prevent Springtails
- Use dehumidifiers and fans to dry out the air in your home.
- Fix any leaky pipes, sinks, tubs, and toilets and dry up any spills from these leaks.
- Remove any standing water from around your house and yard.
- Remove leaf piles and grass clippings where springtails and other pests like to hide.
- Consider putting a barrier of crushed rocks around the perimeter of your home, to keep moisture away.
- Carefully inspect the outside of your home for gaps and cracks and seal all holes using a caulking gun.
- Trim back all bushes and shrubs from the outside of your home. Pests use these things as bridges.
If you are already seeing springtails in your home, be aware that they can be difficult to get rid of using over-the-counter products, as many of these products are not effective. Also, be aware that if springtails are getting in, there is a good chance other pests are getting in as well, pests that are far more dangerous and destructive. If you would like to know for sure exactly what pests may be lurking inside your home, just out of sight, the professionals here at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions would be glad to come and do a FREE home inspection. You don't have to live with springtails, or any other household pest, Rottler can help.