Currently viewing the category: "Springtails!"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  U.S North Carolina
Date: 12/20/2018
Time: 12:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this little grey bug with black spots on some of my old curtains that Ive left by the front door for a while.
How you want your letter signed:  J.G


Dear J.G.,
This is a Springtail, a benign, common insect found in many locations, and they are fond of damp locations inside the home.  Though benign, Springtails can be a nuisance if they are plentiful

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  ID help please!
Geographic location of the bug:  North Eastern CT, USA
Date: 02/21/2018
Time: 08:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!
Sorry that they are dead, I just found these guys in a cup of water in my backyard. Can you help me figure out what they are?
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in CT

Globular Springtails

Dear Curious in CT,
When we were renaming the digital image you sent, we realized that several years ago we posted another identification for Globular Springtails from Connecticut.  Though they can become very numerous when conditions are favorable, Globular Springtails are benign creatures and they are no cause for concern.

Thank you SO much for your response (and all the great work you do!).
I am so happy to hear they are harmless. I found more in my bird bath and near my chicken coop so that’s a big relief.
Thanks again, have a great weekend!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Thought it was puddles of clay, but….
Geographic location of the bug:  Western North Carolina
Date: 01/11/2018
Time: 02:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  After rains, between Oct. and at current time (Jan) small pools of fine red clay are actually quite alive Under magnifier …  what are these things!!!
How you want your letter signed:  Paul Josefson

Springtail Aggregation

Dear Paul,
This is an aggregation of Springtails, the most common hexapod on our planet.  When conditions are correct, often after periods of rain, they reproduce quickly and form large aggregations.  According to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee website:  “Springtails are not insects, but they do have six legs, and older insect books list them as primitive, wingless insects. Most of the ‘for-public-consumption’ Extension/Exterminator websites call them insects because it’s easier than explaining who they really are—members of the ancient class Collembola, which probably evolved alongside insects. There are springtail fossils dating back 400 million years (they don’t fossilize easily, but they sometimes show up in amber), and if they were insects, they’d be the oldest insect fossils known. They’re not fleas, though some are called ‘snow fleas’ and ‘springtail flea’ is a regional common name.”  The site also states:  “Springtails can be profoundly social, and they use aggregation pheromones to summon a crowd.  If one springtail finds a good, damp spot, they’re all there. Their development is ametabolous—they just grow without changing shape or rearranging body structures and are adults at their fifth molt. Springtails continue to molt throughout their lives, and they’re most sensitive to desiccation while molting.” 

Thank you….I feel much better knowing that I am not being invaded by an alien race of micro beings!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Need help identifying
Location: Central Ohio
August 15, 2017 10:41 am
Hello, We live in central Ohio and recently we’ve found a ton of these tiny guys on scrap wood in our basement. I put some of them in a magnifying container but still can’t tell what they are and I’ve tried searching online. The jump, there are several different sizes of them from really tiny to a tad bigger and they all seem to look the same no matter the size, they also appear to be different shades of grey. I’m attaching some photos. Hoping you can help me and these are not big problem bugs as most of our old house is made of old black walnut including the 3×4 tall batten boards up a lot of our walls.
Signature: Any help is much appreciated!!!

Elongate Bodied Springtail

This is an Elongate Bodied Springtail, a benign creature that is often found in damp, dark places.  Though benign, they can be a nuisance if they are numerous.  See BugGuide for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetles?
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
June 24, 2017 3:01 am
Hello. I think these might be some type of flea or water beetles. They jumped out of our bathtub drain in Phoenix, Arizona. These 2 were the largest. Some were so small they looked like flecks of pepper. They jump & bite hard! They also seem to be able to swim.
Signature: Fed Up in AZ


Dear Fed Up in AZ,
We are going to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this, but we believe these are Thrips in the order Thysanoptera, but we don’t know what they are doing in your bathtub drain.  These are not Beetles.  You can see images of Thrips on BugGuide, including this image and this image.


Eric Eaton Responds
Ok, two different organisms at play here.  The images are of a small moth, maybe Tineidae for family.  The other creatures she describes are springtails, order Collembola.  They do not bite, though, so maybe yet another insect is to blame, like fleas or something.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Ed. Note:  There are no Springtails visible in this image.  While we thought the jumping and the drain indicated possible Springtails, the pictured Moth is most definitely NOT a Springtail.  Since Springtails do not bite, we were additionally puzzled.


Interesting!  Thanks. We had mold growing beneath the bathtub and in the walls surrounding the separate shower and in the carpeted areas also. The bugs also came up through cracks in the cement and cracks in the grout of the floor tiles all throughout the house ( likely from a slab leak beneath the home. )
The county extension office identified them as a mix of Beetles and Springtails, yet they didn’t specify any types of beetles or springtails. They did say none of them would be biting people and they were drawn indoors because of the mold.
We were renting and we moved, but whatever they are they must’ve gotten into our belongings because we still live with them. Not as bad,mind you! But they’re still very much present indoors and still biting and making our lives miserable. On the rare occasion we do manage to smash one of the bigger ones mid bite, it’s always plainly full of bright red blood. I just don’t understand it and I’m so sick of it. The tiny ones seem to bore into furniture and even tile and cement! How???
Thank you again

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insects in Antioch CA swimming pool
Location: Antioch California
March 11, 2017 4:03 pm
A friend of my moms has these insects in her swimming pool. Antioch CA
Currently (march)
Any ideas what they are?
Signature: Emily


Dear Emily,
These benign Springtails can become a nuisance if they get too plentiful.  We have gotten other reports in the past of Springtails associated with swimming pools.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination