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Springtails Are Tiny Pests That Like Damp, Moldy Places

By Chris Williams on September 30, 2016.

We keep finding these tiny, jumping insects in different places in our downstairs. They’re mostly in the laundry room but also in the family room. Our extension agent told my husband that they were springtails. Where are they coming from and why are they in my house? L.L., Epsom, NH

Springtails (sometimes called Collembola) are tiny, soft-bodied insects of various colors that are very common outdoors in soil, under bark, in mulch or leaf mold, and similar sites…but are rarely noticed. Sometimes they end up inside, probably entering through tiny crevices or around doors, often when their outdoor sites get too dry.

Because they are soft-bodied, springtails have a high moisture requirement and will seek out the damper areas of your home. Springtails feed on mold that grows on surfaces but don’t do any damage (see Springtails Survive on Moldy Surfaces). Often the surface mold is not even visible to the naked eye. Springtails could be hidden in wall voids, under sinks, around pipes or in other areas that remain continuously damp from leaks or condensation. Springtails have a spring-like appendage that allows them to jump when threatened, hence the name. They often are not noticed until they build up to high numbers.

Typical Springtail Sites Indoors

  • Damp basements or crawlspaces
  • Plumbing leaks around/under sinks
  • In new construction: damp wall voids, wet plaster or new wallpaper, or “green” lumber
  • Overwatered house plants
  • Sweating pipes
  • Roof leaks
  • Leaky patio doors
  • Floor drains
  • Moldy mattresses or stuffed furniture
  • Condensation around windows

Dry Out the Site to Get Rid of Springtails

Springtails often become a problem at this time of year because air conditioners may not be running and most people haven’t turned on the heat yet. Consequently, homes are damper than at other times of the year, allowing springtail populations to grow. Springtails can usually be eliminated simply by decreasing humidity and drying out the site where they are found. They won’t be able to survive drier conditions indoors.

If drying the site and eliminating the mold doesn’t get rid of the springtails, give Colonial Pest a call — we can help. The presence of springtails might be a clue that you have an undiscovered leak or moisture problem that needs attention.

Photo Credit : By U. Burkhardt – Taken and uploaded on de:WP the 01/06/2006 by de:Benutzer:Onychiurus, CC BY-SA 3.0, wikipedia

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