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Springtails- A Sign of Something More?

Springtails are bad enough to find in your home, but could finding one signify a bigger issue?


close up of springtail on the floor

These jumpy creatures can be unpleasant to find in your home just by themselves. However, if you find one, does it indicate something worse may be happing inside your house?


Learn how to recognize a springtail and what it might be telling you about your home.




 

What Do Springtails Look Like?


Funny enough, springtails can come in almost any color, including white or brightly colored. Most springtails, however, are dark-colored: brown, black or dark gray. Though all springtails are small, between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch long, their shape can vary as well. The majority of springtails are narrow ovals but there are some that are round and fat. They do all have fairly long antennae.


Springtails do not have wings, even though it might seem like it when they jump. Because of a special structure under their abdomen, springtails can jump several inches- impressive for a wingless creature that's so small.


Because of their size, springtails are sometimes mistaken for fleas. Fleas are hard to kill because of their flat, hard bodies. Springtails, fortunately, have soft (easily crushed) bodies.


Where Do Springtails Live?


Springtails want water. They like areas damp from condensation and areas that retain moisture, such as mulch or piles or leaves. They also like areas with pollen, fungi or algae. They will sometimes even feed on young plants, leaving holes in the leaves.


Some species of springtails (such as snow fleas) stay active during the winter, standing out dark against the white snow. Most species, however, become very active as soon as things begin to thaw in the late winter and early spring. In Virginia, you can experience springtails year round, but they become the most active starting near the end of February.


What Are Springtails Telling You About Your House?


So, you've seen a springtail (or twenty!). Are they trying to tell you something about your home? Probably.


As springtails are attracted to water, they are probably an indication of a water issue inside your home. It could be something as small as overwatered houseplants, which springtails love. The damp soil and decaying plant matter is notoriously attractive to springtails. However, it could also be an indication of a bigger issue, such as leaky pipes or areas that are trapping condensation, potentially leading to mold.


If you're seeing springtails inside your home, first determine if you're overwatering your plants, leaving a good environment for these little bugs to make a home. If that isn't the issue, check for leaky pipes or faucets and check for areas in bathrooms where condensation may be building after showers.


If you're having a problem in your yard, you may find that it is due to drainage issues, such as rainspouts that are ineffective in carrying the water away from the foundation, landscaping or grading that causes water to run toward and potentially pool at the foundation to your home. It could also be an excess of wet organic material, such as rotting wood or large amounts of dead leaves or mulch.


Springtails won't contaminate your food or do major damage to your home or yard, however their presence can be a warning sign of a bigger issue around your property. Additionally, the things that attract springtails can also be an attractant to other unwanted pests, so addressing those issues as soon as possible is key to keeping nuisances away from your home and family.


We can help with all your pest care needs. Call us today!


To learn more about local Virginia pests, check out our Pest Library!

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