Where Do Springtails Come From

Do you have springtails in your house? Where do springtails come from every year? Let’s understand a little about where these pests come from.

Where are springtails in my house coming from? If you are looking to find out how springtails have come to infest your house, look for their nests in your yard or garden, where the soil is moist and the weather is hotter.

During the summer months, if it is humid, you are likely to find springtails both outdoors and indoors. They thrive in temperatures between 65 to 85F and with more than 30% humidity. If you have leaky pipes or damp and humid areas in your home, springtails won’t be far behind.

 

Springtail

 

Where Do Springtails Live?

There are three facets to this question. Firstly, where do springtails live in the wild? Secondly, where do they reside in your garden or yard? And lastly, where do they end up in your house? Let’s look at ideal springtail habitats in all scenarios.

In the Wild

Springtails grow on wet soil, and under moist tree bark. Sometimes you can even find them under stones, especially if water is trapped underneath. You can often find springtails in the wild, especially in areas with high moisture content.

If you look through leaf litter falling on the ground during autumn, you will likely see springtails. This is because leaf litter is decaying organic matter and often traps rainwater. In the woods, there is usually a lot of organic matter. This makes a good habitat for springtails.

In the wild, springtails can be bioindicators. Scientists use them to understand soil conditions as well as look for environmental changes. By studying springtail infestations, you can determine moist conditions and landscape stress, especially in agricultural regions.

Another place where you might find springtails is termite nests. Springtails are essential for termite nests, as they help to control the growth of fungi.

Springtails feed on fungi, pollen, and algae. Therefore, you can also find them on plants. You will also find springtails in ant nests. Springtails also thrive in sand and among tree canopies.

 

 

In Your Yard or Garden

Springtails live in soil that has compost or any organic, decaying matter. If you walk through your garden or in the woods and spot a decaying bark, there is a high chance of finding springtails underneath it.

Springtails can live in wet and decaying wood, rotting leaf litter, and mulch. Like mosquitoes, springtails can also grow in stagnant water. If you have a pool in your backyard or puddles of water in your garden, these might become ideal habitats for springtails.

Inside Your House

Springtail infestations can also occur inside your home. If the weather is dry, springtails are likely to seek moist conditions indoors.

As mentioned earlier, springtails thrive in places that have excess moisture. Therefore, bathrooms, kitchens, and damp basements are common areas where you can spot springtail infestation.

This is why you need to keep an eye on the pipes. If your plumbing is damaged and there is leakage leading to condensation and damp conditions, springtails will start to appear on the moist surfaces.

Springtails can also be found indoors if you have potted plants inside the house. You might overwater these plants at times, and the moist soil will attract springtails. Springtail infestations are likely if you use soil mix for your plants with a high peat concentration.

You can also find them under floorboards, within the walls, in drain pipes, on basins, and even in your bathtubs! While springtails come in from outside if the home is damp, you can also carry these pests indoors on packing materials, timber, and vegetables from the market.

Springtails in Winter

A particular species of springtails known as snow fleas are active during winter. You will be able to see snow fleas in late winter.

This is when the snow begins to thaw, and these springtails come out on the surface. Since they are black, you can easily see them against the snow. You might see snow fleas even in early spring.

Springtails are usually active during the summer, but snow fleas are able to survive even during very cold weather. This is because they have a glycine-rich antifreeze protein.

The protein helps keep the water content in their bodies from freezing over. The glycine content stops the formation of ice crystals, which is why snow fleas can live in sub-zero temperatures. Snow fleas often jump around in the snow and feed on organic matter.

 

 

Should I Be Worried About Them?

The simple reason why you have springtails in your house is that it is moist. They are not harmful to you. Springtails can, however, be a nuisance.

They do not harm any part of the house and are also not carriers of any diseases. Neither do springtails bite or sting, so there is no need to be worried.

However, if any area of your home has a big springtail infestation, you won’t like it. And there is a remote chance that they might trigger allergies or dermatitis, especially if there are adults with sensitive skin or children in the house. This is why they are still considered pests.

A few springtails here and there can actually be beneficial for your home. If you have houseplants, springtails in the soil will help prevent fungal growth on the plant material.

If you do want to get rid of springtails, it is best to clean the house and dry out the damp spaces thoroughly. You can also use some natural pesticides like vinegar or bleach to get rid of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did I get springtails?

You are likely to get springtails if the interior of your house is damp, there are moisture leaks, or if you have moist soil for your houseplants.

If you find springtails inside, check for high moisture content within the home. Springtails come indoors if the outdoor conditions are dry and cold.

How do springtails get in the house?

Springtails can enter the house through drain pipes, timber pieces, and organic material. They may be on vegetables, plants, or even soil mixes for the garden. Springtails can also get in the house when you bring in packages from outside.

Do springtails ever go away?

Springtails usually do not go away with chemical treatments. But if you can get rid of the source that is providing their habitats, you can get rid of them.

For example, fix the leaky pipes that result in damp interiors. Take out the plants with moist soil, and ensure that the indoors are dry and not humid. Alternatively, you can catch springtails for your terrarium or increase soil health for your kitchen garden!

 

 

Wrap Up

Springtails hardly cause any harm and are, in fact, creatures that are crucial to maintaining the ecological balance in nature. People have often called them the cleanup crew of nature because they can clean up bacteria, fungi, and even molds!

But springtail infestation is never pleasant, and you can always call on a pest control professional for assistance. We hope this article helped you understand where springtails are coming from in your home, and thank you for reading!

Reader Emails

Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.

Letter 1 – Springtail in England

 

Subject: What is this? It is NOT a flea.
Location: England (warm house in winter)
February 4, 2014 1:31 pm
Hi. Im in the uk. I have been dealing with cat flea infestation for 2 months and decided to make a flea trap (bowl of water under a hit light). I am catching the occasional flea but every now and then it catches this bug too. Its around a smiliar size to a flea but with a long body. At first i thought it was an earwig but i can never see the pincers an earwig has at the back. Hope you can help identify this.
Signature: Paul (England)

Springtail
Springtail

Dear Paul,
This is a benign Springtail, a primitive hexapod in the class Collembola.  See BugGuide for additional information.  They can become a nuisance if they become numerous, but they will not harm you, your pets or your home.

Letter 2 – Booklouse from Singapore

 

Subject: Hopping Minute Bug
Location: Singapore
January 25, 2016 9:08 am
Hi,
I found a few of these bugs on my work desk where I store hardware stuff. The last time I saw them was when I cut an unused dish washing sponge to aid in some macro photography. They just appeared in a container that held a small insect.
The bug is slightly less than 1mm in size. The thickness of the plastic container rim is exactly 1mm (in the photo).
Signature: DeepWorld

Springtail
Booklouse

Dear DeepWorld,
This is a Hexapod in the Class Collembola, the Springtails, most likely a Globular Springtail in the Order Symphypleona.  Here is a photo from BugGuide that looks similar.  Springtails are benign creatures that may become a nuisance if they are too plentiful.  According to BugGuide, Springtails are found in:  “Soil, leaf litter, under bark, in decaying wood/fungi, on water surface; some on vegetation. In our area, at least 11 genera include truly aquatic members, >20 genera are regularly found on water surface, and others yet, occasionally. Often found indoors, especially in moist or damp situations such as basins, sinks, tubs, showers, potting soil of houseplants, and windowsills where condensation has accumulated.”

Springtail
Booklouse

Correction:  Booklouse, not Springtail
Thanks to a comment, we realized that we have once again misidentified a Booklouse as a Springtail.

Hi Daniels,
Thank you for the quick response. I am glad that it has been identified. You guys are great!
Regards,
Walter Loo

Hi Walter,
Actually this is a Booklouse, not a Springtail.

Hi Daniel,
This is exciting news. Thank you for the follow-up and correction! I will definitely read more on this creature.
Regards,
Walter Loo

Letter 3 – Springtail from the UK

 

Subject: Bug Identification
Location: North East, UK
April 18, 2015 9:44 am
Hey Bugman,
Saw this crawling around and i have no idea what it could be.
Its about 6-7mm in length.
Can you identify it please?
Signature: Pro

Springtail
Springtail

Dear Pro,
This is a Springtail in the Class Collembola, and it looks very similar to the individual pictured on the Royal Entomological Society website.

Letter 4 – Springtail in Paris

 

Subject: Pyemotes?
Location: Paris, France
July 28, 2016 7:00 pm
Hello!
Recently I’ve been spotting these small (1mm long) bugs all over my apartment. Never bothered me until I woke up with a rash that made my dermatologist take photos of me! My left arm and leg were entirely covered in strange shapes. He told me I was bitten by either “pyemotes” or spiders.
Then I started seeing this suspect:
It’s a brown-ish golden color;
Comes out at night;
It has 6 legs, 2 antennas and what appears to be…hair;
The photo is very zoomed in, you can’t see the details with the naked eye;
It crawls on walls and I spotted one in my bed;
Seen in July in Paris, France;
Around 1mm, very thin, can’t see its legs with the naked eye, only 2 antennas;
Averagely fast;
What is it?
Does it bite?
Thank you very much.
Kind regards.
Signature: DS

Elongate Bodied Springtail
Elongate Bodied Springtail

Dear DS,
According to Living With Bugs,
Pyemotes are mites that can cause the reaction you describe.  The creature in your image is an Elongate Bodied Springtail, and from all we have researched, they are considered  benign creatures that do not bite, nor do they harm the home, however, they can be a nuisance if they are too plentiful.  According to BugGuide:  “Often found indoors, especially in moist or damp situations such as basins, sinks, tubs, showers, potting soil of houseplants, and windowsills where condensation has accumulated.”  As an aside, we got tremendous pleasure creating the headline for this posting:  Springtail in Paris, especially since we get so few submissions from the City of Love.

Letter 5 – Springtails

 

Just found you on Google
Hi there. I’m up near Burlington, VT, and came home late this morning to hundreds of these little critters all over my wood-sided garage. They’re about 2mm long and hop when provoked! Are these things eating my house? Do I call the Orkin man?? The CDC? The Croc Hunter?
-Rob

Hi Rob,
It is difficult to be certain based on the photo, but considering that they hop, we are guessing Springtails. They are relatively benign, but can appear in great numbers to suddenly dissappear again until conditions are favorable again.

Letter 6 – Springtails

 

Miniscule (nearly microscopic) ant-like bugs?
Location: Midtown Manhattan, New York City
November 13, 2010 2:43 am
My kitchen countertop near the faucets has become home to miniscule – nearly microscopic – ant-like creatures. They are so teeny that my camera on the most powerful setting couldn’t capture them. I had to catch some with tape and then scan the tape. The attached photo is the best I could get – it appears to be two of them, one larger than the other.
I found thousands of these entities amassed under a small marble slat that I had sitting on the countertop. The marble was removed and thrown out but these creatures continue to habitate the countertop particularly near an faucet area.
PLEASE – WHAT ARE THEY????
Signature: Mystified

Springtails

Dear Mystified,
You have Springtails, generally regarded as the most common hexapods on the planet.  They are important in soil as they help to break down organic matter, creating humus which increases the fertility of the earth.  In the home, they are often attracted to damp and dark places, generally in the kitchen and bathroom, where they are thought to feed upon mold.  Though they might be considered a nuisance if they appear in large numbers, they are benign creatures.

Dear Daniel,
THANK YOU for taking your valuable time to identify and explain these creatures.
I really appreciate it!
You have a fabulous and helpful site.
Mia

Letter 7 – Springtails

 

Subject: Found under bef
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
October 12, 2015 11:18 am
spring I stayed in San Luis Obispo, CA. I noticed a couple of bites on my arm… Got home and unpacked and now my wife and kids have been getting bites… I live in Susanville, CA… Found these under the bed…. Took pictures using my daughter’s microscope… What do you think these are????
Signature: Darrin

Springtail
Springtail

Dear Darrin,
We believe this is a benign Springtail, and we do not believe there is any connection to your bites.  Here is an image of a living specimen from BugGuide

Springtail
Springtail
Springtails
Springtails

Letter 8 – Springtails

 

Subject: Found a ton of these on kitchen tile, killed many but can’t identify in order to take care of problem
Location: Parker, CO
October 1, 2016 5:48 pm
Hi, I live in Parker, Colorado. Last night when I was cleaning the kitchen I noticed what looked like black crumbs or pepper on the floor. Went to wipe it up and it was actually a throng of incredibly tiny black bugs. I’ve noticed several just roaming around in the kitchen since I cleaned that spot up, and I want to be sure get rid of all of them.
Signature: Brett M.

Springtail
Springtail

Dear Brett,
This is an Elongate Bodied Springtail, a benign creature that can become a nuisance when they are plentiful indoors.  They are generally found in conjunction with damp conditions.

Letter 9 – Springtails

 

Can you identify this bug
This bug has invaded our new home. Mostly by the sink. Do you know what it is? Thanks for your help. This bug baffles me? What is this bug? Its in my sink right now and its only about an 1/8 of an inch big if that.
The Long Family

Dear Long Family,
Wow, three letters in a row in rapid succession. Guess you want instant gratification. You have Springtails. They often infest drains, pools and jacuzis.

Letter 10 – Springtails

 

Can you identify this bug for me?
Hi,
I live in northern New Jersey. I moved into this new construction site, and I didn’t expect to have a such bugs problem from new house. I lived here since last September. I spotted this bug once or twice over winter, but it is out of control right now. I probably see 20-30 of them in windows frame and wall. They are crawling on wall and when I try to catch it, it can move very fast like roach. Sizes are very small, less than 1mm. Adults are between 1-2mm at most. Most of them are gray but I saw darker gray to black one as well. I sprayed "RAID Ant & Roach" on windows area. According to RAID, it can kill bugs upon contact upto 4 weeks. After I sprayed various area, I saw those creatures again next day and crawling around. It seems like their claims had failed or this bugs are immune to RAID’s active ingredient. By the way, I live in WALK-OUT Basement which means it’s in ground level. I am sending you two pictures I just took. It is picture of adult bug which was roughly 2 mm. Thanks in advance.
Jimmy K.

Hi Jimmy,
You have Springtails. They can get very numerous if the conditions are right. They thrive in damp weather.

Authors

  • Daniel Marlos

    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.

9 thoughts on “Where Do Springtails Come From”

  1. Please can you tell me how to kill could you tell me howto
    Kill these collembol they are now al over my body iv had these
    For threeyers do kter wont belive me becausehe cant see themon
    My body or he dont know how make them come of my skin
    My mobile numberif you can help me us
    07792712313

    Reply
  2. Please can you tell me how to kill could you tell me howto
    Kill these collembol they are now al over my body iv had these
    For threeyers do kter wont belive me becausehe cant see themon
    My body or he dont know how make them come of my skin
    My mobile numberif you can help me us
    07792712313

    Reply
  3. This is not a springtail, but a type of barklouse. I have noticed in the past that wingless or nymphal barklice can look a lot like globular springtails, but if you look closely at the photos you can see the reduced wings or wingbuds in this individual.

    I would guess that this is probably (but not definitely) Psyllipsocus ramburii (http://bugguide.net/node/view/830096) which is a widespread domestic barklouse species. Another possibility is a nymph of Dorypteryx domestica, which you’ve had an individual of on this site before (http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2008/11/13/booklouse-2/). Both of these belong to the family Psyllipsocidae, which I can confirm from personal observations do jump.

    Reply
  4. Hi I’m in the U.K. And lived in this house for 30years and never have I seen these things before, but recently we’ve been finding them on the windows in the morning. They are driving me crazy. How can I get rid of them?

    Reply
  5. i just had exterminator come and identify…springtails…
    i never saw such a thing….they are flat, and tiny and black and they hop..
    and they leave poop, i think or their poop is the size of them.

    hop on my ankles in the bathroom,
    and did not bite.
    ….
    dormant in mobile home i just bought, they hibernate til movement.

    live in rugs, and furniture, done like hard floors and cant get on counter tops.

    i wish to know about their life cycle…as i had a good time learning about bedbugs , another house.

    Reply
  6. I’ve read the symptoms, weight loss, pesky little shits get into everything, meaning ALL the food in my pantry exception to canned goods. I think we’ve seen the last of the snow and just had a few beautiful warm days before the rain we have now so I’m certain they appear as weather permits. It’s near impossible not to ingest them and as of yesterday I found some curled up in the kitchen sink faucet. My main concern apart from the obvious is getting someone to believe me as apparently I’m the only person who sees them and has an issue. Even though they seem to grow from microscopic to a few centemeters in a matter of weeks my boyfriend says they just look like threads to him and he is about to have me commited. I’m in fear for my life and feel so alone. Where and to whom can I turn for help?

    Reply

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