Do Springtails Eat Mold? Truth Revealed

Springtails are the cleanup crew of nature. They eat dead vegetation, bacteria, fungus, and a lot more. But do springtails eat mold too? The answer is yes, they do. Learn more in the blog below.

You probably already have many springtails in and around your surroundings, such as in the backyard, kitchen garden, and even in your house.

You might never have seen them, but they are there, gently munching away on many things, such as dead plant materials, organic matter, decaying wood, and mold.

Yes, you read that right – springtails can eat mold. Mold is a major problem in many American homes, and it can cause severe allergies, itchy and runny noses, headaches, and a lot more.

Are you interested to know how to use springtails to get rid of mold? Read on to find out more.

Do Springtails Eat Mold

Do Springtails Eat Mold?

Yes, among the many things that springtails feed on, they also eat mold. By eating mold, these insects help to fertilize the soil and keep your home safe.

Springtails usually feed on slime molds. In fact, if you leave out food for springtails, they won’t eat it – they will wait for mold to settle on it and munch on it then!

Springtails belong to the Entomobrya genus of the Entomobryidae family. This family of insects has internal mouthparts that can eat bacteria and fungi off any surface they are on.

How To Use Springtails As Mold Control?

If you have a bioactive terrarium or a paludarium, you may have encountered a common problem in these environments – mold. Mold grows in any damp place, so these places are constantly getting mold.

But this is where you can bring springtails into the picture. Firstly, you have to collect a few springtails or else buy them from the market.

You will need to let them grow for some time in an amenable environment so that you have a large enough population to help you in your job.

Once you are ready, you can introduce them to your terrarium. Springtails will start consuming all the mold from your terrarium immediately.

One good thing is the springtails can self-regulate their population in a closed terrarium; you don’t have to find ways to get rid of them once they complete the job.

When there is enough mold to go around, springtails will quickly lay eggs and multiply. When the molds reduce, many springtails will die due to a lack of food.

However, these dead carcasses become an excellent food source for the remaining springtails, so some of them can survive. Over time, when the mold grows back, the springtails are still there, waiting patiently.

Do Springtails Eat Mold

What Do Springtails Eat Other Than Mold?

Other than mold, springtails also eat bacteria, fungi, algae, lichens, and decaying vegetation. They are basically the cleanup crew of nature.

Springtails love to be in moist environments. They thrive in leaf litter, dead plants, soil, decaying wood, terrariums, paludariums, and even aquariums.

How To Use Springtails

So now that you know that these creatures can be very useful, you would be itching to find out how you can use them, right?

Well, you need to know the basics of housing and feeding them before you let them loose in your house. So let’s talk a bit about these aspects.

Housing Springtails

When housing springtails, it is important to avoid other predatory pests that can eat them.

Keep them in a container such as a plastic shoebox. Make sure the container is not completely airtight because they will need oxygen to live.

Fill it out with soil and about a liter of water. Open the lid twice a week (apart from the times you feed them) to let in enough oxygen.

Keep the container in a cool and damp space that does not let direct sunlight shine upon it. Direct sunlight is bad for springtails. Let the container be at room temperature.

Lastly, don’t mix up the container with other pests or insects like thrips. Springtails proliferate quicker when it is just them around.

Feeding Springtails

It would be best if you fed your springtails in small but regular doses. While they love to eat mold, but they also need an additional food source.

Avoid feeding fish food because fish food is also attractive to mites. Here’s what you can feed your springtail culture:

Yeast

Yeast is an excellent supplemental food for springtails. Sprinkle small amounts of yeast two to three times a week. You can increase the amount as the number of springtails in the ecosystem grows.

Do Springtails Eat Mold

Rice Grains

Adding in a few grains of brown or white rice is another good option. The rice will eventually develop mold, which is also a great food source for springtails.

However, keep a regular monitor on the rice grains, and replenish the culture when you don’t see many of them left.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do springtails eat black mold?

Like other molds, springtails are also likely to feed on black mold. However, black molds may be poisonous, and you should ideally remove them immediately if you have any of them in your house.

Springtail might take a while to finish it off. You can use chemicals or baking soda and vinegar to remove black mold.

Do springtails eat fungus?

Yes, springtails feed on fungi. Fungal hyphae and spores are like a staple diet for springtails. They also help to carry beneficial fungi near plant roots, which fertilize the soil around them. Apart from fungi, they also eat bacteria, algae, lichens, and dead vegetation.

What eats mold in a terrarium?

Mold grows on organic matter. Ecosystems such as terrariums and paludariums are full of organic matter, so mold can easily develop in these places.

What do springtails need to survive?

Most springtails need moisture to survive, which is why they prefer wet environments such as watered soil and potted plants that you regularly water.

If you are growing a culture of springtails, you should add a little bit of brown rice or yeast flakes every few weeks which will help the springtails survive.

Wrap Up

To sum things up, yes, springtails eat molds, and if you have a terrarium or paludarium, springtails are a natural and easy way to control molds in these ecosystems.

You just need to feed them a few yeast flakes or some rice every few weeks, and they will do the rest for you.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

7 thoughts on “Do Springtails Eat Mold? Truth Revealed”

    • Thanks for your suggestion. Though BugGuide does not provide any information on the info page for Anurida maritima, we suspect this species is limited to saltwater ecosystems, not garden habitats.

      Reply
  1. We have seen these insects in cold damp places that look like a flee and jump like a flee as soon as you disturb any leaves ; especialy in the autumn and winter. They look like a cross between a flee and a wine fly and jump as soon as disturbed. What do you think they are please? Are they
    springtails? Little blighters, and do they bite? One looked quite big :as a dog flee. Last year I was bitten in the garden by a different bug; it itched for a month. That was a much bigger bug and the shape of a upturned boat Brownish black ?????? Hope to get some advise . Many thanks.

    Reply
  2. We have seen these insects in cold damp places that look like a flee and jump like a flee as soon as you disturb any leaves ; especialy in the autumn and winter. They look like a cross between a flee and a wine fly and jump as soon as disturbed. What do you think they are please? Are they
    springtails? Little blighters, and do they bite? One looked quite big :as a dog flee. Last year I was bitten in the garden by a different bug; it itched for a month. That was a much bigger bug and the shape of a upturned boat Brownish black ?????? Hope to get some advise . Many thanks.

    Reply
  3. Hello,

    We recently discovered a water leak of our bathroom sink. We thought we had dried up all of the moisture in the wall, but we are now noticing several springtails in the bathroom. I’ve never seen this many before, so I’m curious if they are here because of our recent water leak. Perhaps there is mold in the wall that we can’t see. Do you think that is possible?

    Thank you.

    Reply

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