The key to eliminating springtails is finding their nesting site. Once you know where they are coming from, you will be able to address the source of the infestation more effectively.
The Nature of Springtail Infestations
Springtails are tiny insects that many people mistake for fleas because of their ability to "hop" or "jump" about. Measuring only 1/8-inch-long, springtails are most often black, wingless, and have a distinctive head and humpback appearance. The springtail has a fork-like appendage underneath its abdomen which acts like a spring to propel the insect into the air.
They do not bite or carry disease but become a nuisance in and around the home in the spring and summer months. Springtails may appear in shockingly large numbers and large piles during the spring and summer. They can be found in and around patios, garages, pools, and indoors in basements, sinks, and bathtubs as they are attracted to moisture.
Springtails are natural decomposers that feed off organic material like fungi, decaying plant material, and algae. This makes them naturally attracted to areas with lots of moisture. They cannot survive in dry conditions.
Homeowners will often spray or remove a large pile of springtails from a patio or sink and believe they have eliminated the infestation, but this is not the case. A new pile of springtails may form in the same place or nearby several days later.
This is because the source of the springtails is their nesting site, and their nesting site is often hidden. Large numbers of springtails will continue migrating from the nesting site to areas with moisture, such as sinks and bathtubs.
Springtail infestations must be attacked at the source, or you will continue to see springtails piling up in the same places over and over. Read below for 3 steps you can take to get rid of springtails.
Determine Where Springtails Are Nesting
There are two basic keys to locating springtail nesting sites. First, the nesting site will be somewhere damp and dark. Second, the nesting site is likely very close to the place of migration (or, where you find them piling up) since springtails do not move very quickly and prefer not to travel far before settling into a suitable habitat.
Some possible nesting sites may include:
- Under mulch and moist soil
- Under patio slabs
- In compost piles and other decaying matter
- In flower pots
- Around pool decks
- Under logs, pine straw, and wood chips
- Under wood decks
- Indoors in bath traps, under kitchen or bathroom sinks, and under linoleum
- Around jacuzzis or hot tubs
- In damp crawl spaces and wall voids
- Under the sheathing, insulation, or sheet rock in the siding of your home if these places are prone to moisture.
Treat Various Springtail Nesting or Migration Sites
Once you have identified a potential nesting site, two or three applications of the following treatments, coupled with moisture reduction (fixing leaks or installing ventilation) will usually be all that is needed to eliminate springtail infestations.
Under Cabinets, Inside Crawl Spaces & Wall Voids
- If you suspect that springtails are nesting in a crawl space or wall void, first try to determine why this area is moist or wet. The problem of excess moisture might be solved by installing more ventilation. If a wall void is damp due to leaks around windows, light fixtures, or door frames, these areas can be sealed to prevent the accumulation of water.
- For long term control, treat these areas with an insecticide dust, like EcoVia WD. The dust can be applied with a bellow hand duster which allows you to apply the dust in wall voids and under cabinets. You can also treat with a general spray product like Temprid FX or Talstar P.
- Inspect this area for leaks. By eliminating moisture beneath sinks you will drive springtails away and reduce the number of suitable habitats available where springtails can survive.
Under Mulch, Pine Straw, Logs, or Wood Chips
- These areas should be treated by first applying Demand G Granules with a spreader according to the product label. Demand G Granules are weather resistant and easily penetrate mulch and other damp materials. Demand G works through a slow-release process, providing continuous control over a period of 4 to 8 weeks.
Springtails are attracted to moist decaying matter and cannot survive in dry conditions. Addressing sources of moisture around your property is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent springtails from infesting your yard and home.
Practice the following general pest management steps to keep springtails away:
- Remove leaf piles and tree trimmings from the property
- Keep mulch and pine straw 6 inches back from the foundation of the home
- Check your yard and around your home for drainage issues. Common areas include around/beneath gutters, near the home's foundation, and by concrete slabs (parking slabs, patios, and driveways)
- Keep firewood stacked off the ground and away from the home
Read our general pest management guide for more tips on preventing pests from infesting your property.
If you have any additional questions about any of the products mentioned in this article or how to get rid of springtails, give our customer service team a call at 866-581-7378 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.