Do you have an infestation of springtails on your hand? Are you wondering how to get rid of springtails naturally without having to call in professionals? This article will give you all the weapons you need in this war.
For those who aren’t very familiar with springtails, having these wingless insects at home can be a bit scary. This is because springtails closely resemble other insects that are known to cause painful bites and stings.
Thankfully, springtails are harmless to humans and aren’t capable of biting you. If you notice an infestation of springtails on your bed, your window sill, in the soil of potted plants, or near your pool during spring or summer, it isn’t necessarily a huge concern.
However, no one enjoys living in a house full of pests, regardless of whether they bite or not. Let’s explore how to clear springtail infestations from your home.
How To Identify Springtails?
The first step in pest control is to identify the pest. Springtails are tiny insects, usually about 4/100th to 8/100th of an inch in size. Like other insects, they come with three pairs of legs. Unless you’re looking closely, it’s easy to mistake springtails for ants and fleas.
However, despite their resemblance to other pests, springtails possess a unique identifying feature. The fourth segment of their abdomen has an extra appendage called furcula.
By snapping this appendage downward, springtails can jump quite far up in the air, almost ten times their length. In fact, that’s why they are called springtails!
What Damage Can They Cause?
These pests are mostly harmless and do not cause any major damage. They eat organic matter, plant debris, dead insects, and even molds. For this reason, some people actually breed springtails in their homes.
As mentioned earlier, springtails don’t bite or sting you, either. If you have potted plants at home, there’s a chance that springtails living in the soil might chew the roots. Besides this, there isn’t much reason to worry about springtails.
However, springtails tend to live in large colonies, with hundreds of them swarming the place when allowed to breed freely.
I am sure you won’t feel comfortable living with a swarm of insects in the corner of the room or under the carpet. You will also have to clean up clusters of dead springtails every now and then because these pests live a short life of just about two weeks.
What Are Their Common Hideouts?
One of the reasons why springtails living indoors often go unnoticed is the pest’s choice of habitat. Springtails prefer dark and moist conditions, especially in secluded areas free of disturbance.
As these pests tend to settle down in areas where they’d likely be left undisturbed, it makes sense that you may not come across them unless there’s a heavy infestation.
After all, how often do you check under your kitchen sinks, wall voids, and the attic for tiny pests?
Indoors, you’ll mostly find these pests in places such as basement walls, near drains, leaky pipes, attics, wood decks, etc. However, these presets can infest almost any place in the house.
They are often found in bedrooms, between bedsheets and mattresses, under the bed, on the window sill, in the washroom, in the kitchen, in moist or damp soil, under potted plants, and many other places.
It’s important to understand that moisture is the one thing that attracts these bugs like nothing else. So the first thing you need to do if you want to remove them is to remove all the dampness from the house.
Springtails are also very common outdoors, especially in the soil. If you look closely, you might find this pest amidst leaf litter on your lawn or decaying vegetation. Springtails living in the soil might feet on exposed root crowns.
In short, there’s no shortage of potential hideouts for these little wingless insects. Any space that offers a food source and a dark, damp, and undisturbed environment is prone to attracting springtails.
How To Eliminate Springtails?
While there isn’t much harm in leaving them be, you might want to get rid of them once they start multiplying. However, it is highly advisable to stick to only natural methods.
Using chemical pesticides in your home is unsafe, especially for children or pets. Here’s how to get rid of springtail bugs in your house
Let’s start with the bedroom, for a springtail infestation in your bedroom can be particularly problematic. One of the easiest ways to remove these pests from your bedroom is to clean them up with a vacuum cleaner.
As springtails are very lightweight and tiny, it’s easy to suck them into the vacuum cleaner along with all the dirt. Just remember to empty the vacuum cleaner outdoors, so the pests don’t find their way back.
Another way to stop springtails from infesting your bedroom is to deny them access to their hideout. If you find springtails living in cracks in the wall, use a sealant like caulk to seal the crack.
To clean up a specific area infested by springtails, just wipe it with vinegar. The vinegar will kill the pests by burning them. You may consider using vinegar cider, as it is an excellent solution against molds too.
Indoor plants are another common spot in the bedroom where you will find these bugs. The soil around potted plants is moist and provides a good source of food for them – leaf litter!
If you are wondering how to get rid of springtails in the houseplant, there are several household items such as diatomaceous earth or neem oil that you can sprinkle on the plant and the soil under it.
Considering springtails prefer to live in places with excess moisture, it is only normal that they often end up living in bathrooms. The most effective way to prevent springtails from infesting your bathroom is to keep the bathroom clean and dry. If there is a leaky pipe, repair it as soon as you can.
Maintaining a dry environment in your bathroom will also help prevent mold and mildew. Mold and mildew attract more springtails by providing them with a food source. You can get rid of existing springtails by just cleaning up the place they infested.
In the Kitchen
Springtail infestations in the kitchen are similar to those in the bathroom. The pests find an ideal habitat in places such as under sinks and around leaky pipes.
If you are wondering how to get rid of springtails in the sink, the solution is very simple – fix all the leaks! Keep a clean environment in your kitchen to keep away springtails.
Be careful not to use a chemical pesticide as it might contaminate your food or utensils.
Near the Swimming Pool
Springtails love moist and damp areas, so if you have plants or damp soil somewhere near your pool, it is possible that springtails will find their way there. If you have a really dirty swimming pool with algae in it, the pests will also live on the surface of the water.
The best way to remove springtails naturally from your swimming pool is to skim and clean it every week. You can also pour diatomaceous earth on the pool boundary and in any soil near the pool.
How To Kill Springtails Naturally?
No one likes using chemical pesticides inside one’s house. These chemicals are harmful to your pets and children and can be corrosive to your furniture and paint as well.
Thankfully, there are a variety of household items that are surprisingly effective as repellents to these pests. Let us answer some common questions on such household items for you.
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Springtails?
Diatomaceous earth is an excellent natural remedy against a wide variety of pests. Made by powdering fossilized algae, this silica-rich compound destroys the waxy coating on their bodies of springtails. The insects need this waxy coating to conserve moisture.
When they are unable to store moisture in their bodies, they dry up and die. Especially if you are trying to kill springtails that have infested a plant pot, this is a good solution.
So, if you are wondering how to get rid of springtails on a window sill, just sprinkle diatomaceous earth liberally on the sill and other entry points or cracks in the window.
Does Neem Oil Kill Springtails?
Yes, essential oils such as neem, cedar, eucalyptus, and thyme are particularly effective against springtails.
Make an essential oil solution by mixing the oil in water and spraying it over the infested area. The solution will kill the springtails on contact. You might also want to wipe the area with essential oils to prevent future infestations.
Does Cinnamon Kill Springtails?
Yes, cinnamon is something that you can find in every kitchen, and you can use it to kill springtails. You can either sprinkle it all around your room and bed or else make a spray of it by mixing it in water and leaving the bottle overnight.
Does Vinegar Kill Springtails?
As mentioned earlier, vinegar can help to kill springtails. Vinegar is acidic and destroys or repels most types of common pests.
What kind of vinegar kills springtails?
Now, you might wonder what kind of vinegar to use. The answer is cider vinegar is the best choice to get rid of springtails and other bed bugs. The acidic content of cider vinegar quickly finishes off these pests.
Does Borax Kill Springtails?
The answer is yes. Borax does not work on all pests, but it does work on ants, fleas, beetles, silverfish, and arthropods such as springtails.
When using borax, be very careful. Do not let your pets or children anywhere near it since it can be poisonous.
Does Borax Kill Springtails?
Yes, it does. Bleach is a highly corrosive substance, and it can get rid of springtails in no time. You can add bleach when washing your sheets, just like adding vinegar.
Can Exterminators Get Rid of Springtails?
Indeed, they can, and it is probably the quickest way to get rid of springtails and other pests. However, they mostly use pesticides or chemical repellents, so you will probably have to leave your room empty for a day or two.
Preventing Further Infestations
Once you bring down the springtail population in your home, it is also important to keep them out for good. You would do well to follow these steps once you have used some of the solutions we mentioned above.
Reduce Moisture Levels
Of course, the best way to keep springtails at bay is to deny them a suitable environment in the first place. If you notice a large springtail infestation in your home, it likely means that the area has a moist environment.
Sealing up the source of the moisture and keeping the place dry will automatically keep away springtails. This is a natural method that will work well as a long-term solution by preventing a repeat of the infestation in the future.
Clear Mulched Areas
Nothing is better at attracting springtails than a combination of moist soil and organic matter. The organic material may include mulch, compost piles, decaying vegetation, and more.
Springtails find these organic matter to be an ideal food source. Make sure to clear up mulched areas and move the organic matter away from your home.
While springtails making your compost pit their habitat is inevitable, the least you can do is not make the pit right next to your house. This will significantly reduce the risk of springtails making their way to your home.
Note that having springtails in your compost pit is a good thing as they aid in the composting process. These bugs break down and eat almost anything, so it’s good to have them in the compost pit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kills springtails instantly?
Pouring or spraying vinegar on springtails will kill them instantly, as the high acidity of vinegar burns the pests.
Alternatively, you could also use a solution of detergent and water to burn and drown them. Bleach works even faster due to its corrosive nature, but you may not be able to stand its smell.
What scent deters springtails?
One of the reasons why essential oils are such great pest repellants is that their scent helps deter insects.
When it comes to deterring springtails, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, thyme oil, and cedar oil fragrances are very effective.
Why do I suddenly have springtails?
There could be various reasons behind a springtail infestation in your home. The most common factors that lead to indoor infestations are leaky pipes and flooded/damp basements and foundations.
Will springtails go away on their own?
No, springtails will not go away on their own. If they are infesting your house and bed, you will need to find a solution to fix the problem. We have suggested many ways to do it in this article.
It is not very difficult to remove a springtail infestation. We have suggested many ways to go about it and also shared some advice on what to do so that it doesn’t happen again.
However, if you are still unsure or it feels too difficult, rope in a pest control professional to exterminate them. Thank you for reading this article.
Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.
Letter 1 – Springtail
Scorpion Tank Infestation Help
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,
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.
Letter 2 – Springtail
HELP. IM SCARED.
January 21, 2012 11:14 am
Please Help bug man you have the best database on ID-ing bugs so please help me. first of all i will explane. i had these bugs come in my bath room on a piece of luggage. it was in a friends house and gave it to me. i washed it off and 2 days later i have these creepy crawlers in my tub. so my location is NYC its january and automatically i think the worst. its a bed bug. but i really need you to tell me that it is not a bed bug. they have only stayed in the tub area. thank god but in concerned that i need to do something dramatic. they really dont look like bed bugs to me but im no expert. there really really tiny. and when you just lightly push them they disappear gone. no sign of them on your finger or on the tub. now i only have seen about 7 at a time. they are fast crawlers. they dont fly but i hope they are springtails. as they like the bath room. they are really tiny. so that leads me to think that there the baby version of whatever they are. please let me know what they are im loosing sleep over this. thanks do much bug man. ps to give you a hint how small they are the blue line is a line on a piece of paper.
Your hope that this is a Springtail is correct. Springtails are benign creatures, though they can become a nuisance in homes where there is a damp environment to sustain them, like the bathroom. It is possible that they were introduced on the luggage as you speculated, especially if the luggage was stored in a damp location first.
Letter 3 – Springtail
Subject: What is this tiny insect in on my kitchen floor?
Location: North America, Queens, New York
January 12, 2014 9:55 am
I have observed this small bug on my kitchen floor for years but never gave them much thought as they are pretty small and seemed relatively harmless. However, I have noticed a great number of them recently and would like to know more about them and how to get rid of them if possible.
From what I can tell they are small (smaller than ants) and can move pretty fast for their size.
The larger specimens are about the size of an ant’s abdomen, while the smaller specimens seem smaller than flees.
I would really appreciate an identification on these little bugs, Thanks.
Signature: Answer to tiny kitchen bug
This is a Springtail, a benign, primitive hexapod that can become a nuisance in the home if they become too plentiful. They tend to thrive and reproduce under damp conditions. We believe this is an Elongate Bodied Springtail in the order Entomobryomorpha and you may verify that and get additional information on BugGuide.
Letter 4 – Springtail
Subject: White bug in room?
Location: Wooden bedside table in room
January 2, 2015 7:05 am
Hello, I recently have been seeing these small, long white bugs all over my bed side table, I have a fish tank on it that they hide under, there are big and small ones all over it only at night, can you tell me what they are?
Signature: From Erin
The location field on our submission form should be used to specify the country, state or city where the sighting occurred as that is often a tremendous assistance in identifications. This appears to be a Springtail, a primitive hexapod in the class Collembola, and they are frequently found in damp dark locations where they feed on fungus, mold and similar growths. Water splashed from your aquarium is probably contributing to a habitable environment for the Springtails. Though they can be a nuisance when they are plentiful, Springtails are considered to be benign or beneficial depending upon where they are found.
Letter 5 – Springtail
Subject: Help identify!
Location: Van Nuys, Ca
April 26, 2016 6:41 pm
I have suddenly found a ton of these in my house. I live in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles county. I see them both during the day and the night. They are tiny and I have no idea what they are. Help!
You have Springtails, primitive insects that can get quite plentiful when conditions are right. They are benign creatures, but they can become a nuisance if their populations rise.
Letter 6 – Springtail
Location: Richmond VA
March 8, 2017 6:11 pm
What is this bug? Is it termite?
Signature: Sima Behpour
This is a benign Springtail, a common creature that is found nearly everywhere in the world. They can become a nuisance if they are plentiful. See BugGuide for additional information.
Letter 7 – Springtail
Subject: What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug: U.S North Carolina
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
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