Currently viewing the category: "Springtails!"

Need bug ID please
I’ve been doing reptile rescue/rehab for close to 30 years now. I’ve seen every mite, springtail, tick etc there probably is in snake enclosures. However today, I found a film of "dust" floating on the surface (none sank that I could see) of a baby Amazon tree boa’s water bowl. The enclosed photo is of 2 specks of the "dust" at 1600x plus whatever the zoom of my digital camera might have added. I can’t find any good photos of larvae stages of various mite species. Plus it only has 6 legs. The only other "bug" I regularly see in the snake cages other than springtails and occasionally reptile mites is some type of very small fly that dies off when the cages are dry but come back when they stay damp for a few days or when bowels move or when a snake sheds, they stick around till the shed dries. (We lovingly refer to these flies as "shed flies". We use permetherin to kill off mite infestations. Permetherin does not kill these flies …anyway, that’s another topic. What is this little bug the larvae, pupa or adult stage of? Any idea? I observed the one on the right sloughing. It appears the one on the left had already sloughed. I can see them a lot better directly through the microscope than you can see in the photos. Sorry about that. It’s the best I can do with the equipment I have. Thanks
Brett Gardin

Hi Brett,
This is one of the Elongate Bodied Springtails in the suborder Arthropleona. In our humble opinion, this is Podura aquatica, which, according to BugGuide is: “Semi-aquatic. Often found floating on the surface of small bodies of standing water such as ponds, as well as on stream and pond banks.”

What are these?
Taken today (12/29/07) in SE CT in woodsy area on my daughters swingset. A warmer day where all the snow is melting. Picture is taken with 1:1 macro so very small – couldn’t even tell how many legs with the naked eye. There’s thousands and thousands of them on the swingset on the wood, slides, etc. Thought they were ticks at first and was very worried about Lyme’s disease, but they’re not ticks, right? Know what they are and if they’re harmful? Thanks,
Justin Montgomery

Hi Justin,
We have gotten many images of Springtails to our site, and countless letters, but this is the first photo we have received of Globular Springtails in the suborder Symphypleona. They match images on BugGuide of Dicyrtomina ornata. Springtails can be very numerous, and are more of an annoyance than a threat. Springtails are primitive, minute wingless insects. Most species feed on molds, decaying vegetation and fungus. Some species are found on the surface of the snow and are called Snow Fleas.

Scorpion Tank Infestation Help
Hi Bugman,
I was hoping you would be able to help me out with these critters. I am the proud owner of several great species of scorpions, and today, under closer inspection of my Pandinus imperator tank I found these nearly microscopic specs crawling on the glass. My first reactions was "oh great, lice/mites" and I was about to disassemble the entire tank and whatnot for cleaning, but I thought I would have a closer look as a pair of crickets in the tank were happily munching away on these tiny critters. Under a microscope they look very unusual, and I cannot figure out if they are lice, mites, or very newly born crickets. The closest thing I’ve found on your site are booklice, but I can’t figure out why my tank would be infested with them. If you could help identify these I would very much appreciate it. Thanks,
Blanton A.

Hi Blanton,
This is a Springtail. Springtails are minute, primitive insects. Over 2000 species of Springtails have been identified worldwide. Your specimen appears to resemble an image on BugGuide identified as a species in the genus Ceratophysella and Family Hypogastruridae. It was found associated with leaf litter. The Springtails will not harm your Scorpions.

tiny bug all over bathroom
I’ve had this little bug pop up in my bathroom this spring/summer in middle TN. They are very tiny, no more than a 16th of an inch, possibly a little smaller. They tend to crawl around, but have the ability to jump an inch or two quickly across the ground if they think they are threatened (sort of like a flea, but sticking to whatever surface they were on to begin with). In fact I thought they might be fleas at first as they seem to be about the same size, but upon closer inspection, do not move like fleas. I’m pretty sure they are elsewhere in the house, but they show up in the bathroom easiest due to the white floors and walls. I usually see 5 – 10 a night if I look for them, and I’ve found them on the walls as well as the floors and in the tub. Any clue what they are and how to remove them? The photo is a crop taken with a macro lens, to try and get enough detail for identification. Any help will be most appreciated, thanks!

Hi Chris,
This is a Springtail, a primitive insect that is generally associated with damp places. The species that often infests homes is Willowsia buski. It is found in bathrooms, basements and under kitchen sinks. BugGuide has additional photos, and we would bet that your Springtail stands a very good chance of being Willowsia buski. Nice detailed photo by the way.

A million little critters
I noticed these "patches" of pinkish little things over the surface of our swim pool the middle of this February. I have lived in this house for over 20 years…never seen this before. The location is on the Central coast of California, San Luis Obispo. The size of the creatures are about 1 to 1.5 mm Any thoughts??

Hi John,
These are Springtails, minute insects that are found in large aggregations. They are often associated with swimming pools. Perhaps the drought this year has led them to your pool if they have never congregated there before. Springtails need moisture to survive, and they flourish under the proper conditions.

What are These Larvae?
Can you please tell me what these are? They appeared overnight, gathered like bubbles in little puddles, on my stone walk after a rain. Are they something that needs immediate attention? There are so many of them! I have cats who like to drink from the puddles, if I let them. Are they a major pest? How can I get rid of them? Thank you,
Dee Press
Camarillo, CA USA

Hi Dee,
These insects are adult Springtails in the order Collembola. Springtails are minute numerous insects that are found in conjunction with moisture. They can get very plentiful. They will not harm your cat.