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Sunday, 3 January 2021
How to exterminate springtails?

How to exterminate springtails?

Present on earth for 400 million years, springtails are small living beings that live in contact with the ground. They have an often discreet presence and take refuge in rocks, trunks, basements and other dwellings all over the world. They used to be classified as primitive insects, but today they form a special class among hexapods divided into more than 3000 species.

You may have already noticed on the surface of the soil tiny beings jumping at a height of 100 times their size. These are probably the springtails that you have disturbed by watering. These beings emerge from an egg at an adult stage but in a smaller size. They continue to moult throughout their life and have a very short life cycle which explains their spectacular invasive power. In this article we explain how to recognize them and the consequences of their presence. We also share tips on how to better control an invasion in your habitat.

How to identify springtails? 

Collembola, also known as snow fleas or springtails, are arthropods that live in the soil. They measure a few millimetres and rarely exceed 1 cm in length and be of different colors.

They have antennae on their head that look like eyes but they are blind and their bodies may be covered with silk. They have no wings and are characterized by a ventral tube that allows them to adhere to smooth surfaces but also to breathe and suck liquids. 

The furca or furcula, a forked appendage folded over the abdomen, is used to propel them forward to escape danger. It allows them to perform jumps at a very surprising height in relation to their height. This jump is completely out of their control and they usually land anywhere.

Springtails are one of the most numerous living creatures on earth and it includes different species from all over the world. Usually you can notice them when you water your plants and they jump, sometimes up to 1 meter, to avoid floods.

Signs of a springtail infestation 

Why are springtails in my house? 

Collembola takes wet organic matter from plants, especially mulch and pots, and makes it its preferred habitat. It often settles near dead organic matter. If weather conditions become inhospitable for springtails, they will seek out moisture and may settle around pools or in muddy areas. In extreme weather conditions, they will seek refuge in homes in search of moist and warm spaces.

Where can we find them? 

Collembola are not really demanding when it comes to their habitat, they can be found in forests, mosses, stones, trees... They have a preference for moist places where organic matter is abundant. In houses, they can invade several rooms and their presence is often noticed during construction work when the cement or plaster is still wet. Their preferred locations are basements, kitchens, bathrooms and near plants.

How to recognize them? 

Here are some signs that can help you identify an invasion of springtails:

  • A cluster of thousands of collembola clumped together?
  • A cluster of black dots that look like pepper?

Be aware that springtails live in groups and that their number can reach 400,000 per square meter. They often hide in the ground and can be visible in the sun. They move in bands of several million and can be seen in the snow at the edge of roads as an accumulation of black dots that contrast with the color of the snow. In fact, they are often called snow fleas for this reason.

Do springtails represent a danger? 

Don't worry, springtails are completely harmless to humans. The problem is that they easily manage to infiltrate the inside of houses thanks to their small size. They proliferate considerably in the house and this is where their presence becomes disturbing. 

Their ecological role 

Springtails are not considered a threat to your health or your garden. Moreover, they contribute to the well-being and quality of the soil. Indeed, they consume waste, fungi and algae that are harmful to the soil. They participate in the decomposition of organic matter while releasing essential minerals for plants.

Their role is very important in maintaining the microbial balance. In addition, they serve as food for various animals. Thus, in the natural environment they play a beneficial role and should not be eliminated.

How to prevent an invasion of springtails?

The presence of springtails in the house can be disturbing. Here are some simple and effective tips to control their proliferation: 

  • Regularly ventilate all rooms in the house?
  • Install a dehumidifier or a fan?
  • Eliminate mold, especially in the bathroom?
  • Repair water leaks?
  • Get rid of any damp or mouldy objects.?
  • Remove dead leaves around the house?
  • Water plants indoors?
  • Reduce the use of mulch around the house?

How to deal with an infestation of springtails

Some preconceived ideas such as the use of bleach or boiling water and the use of insecticides are completely ineffective on springtails. Indeed, they are very resistant to many insecticides and tend to proliferate rapidly if not treated properly.

Outside your home

For your outdoor plants, you must resign yourself to the presence of these small beneficial beings for your plants. Their presence contributes to the well-being of your garden. You can choose to use certain insecticidal soaps, but you risk damaging other organisms that are just as essential to the health of your plants. Just be careful that they don't infiltrate your habitat and reduce the use of mulch around your home.

Inside your home 

If you wish to reduce the number of springtails in your indoor plants, dry them. Collembola prefer moist soil and letting the soil dry out will cause them to disappear. No need to use insecticides. Dehumidifying the various infested areas in your habitat is usually the best tip to control springtails.

Don't hesitate to call on an expert

If the humidity level is high, the life cycle of the springtails is about three weeks, resulting in an impressive multiplication. At this stage, their elimination becomes practically impossible without the help of a professional exterminator. Vextermination always applies a specific treatment depending on the parasite, the level of infestation and the environment. Our pest protection program includes quality services for effective intervention in your residential, commercial or agricultural space.

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