Springtails

Order Collembola

Springtails

Physical Features


Normally, springtails are 1 millimeter in length and can vary in color depending on their species from a white, yellow, gray or dark gray color.  Depending on their suborder they will either be linear or globular shaped, however, all springtails have a key identifying feature, a furcula.  The furcula is an appendage extending from the abdomen with a clasp at the end.  When disturbed the furcula is release, snaps down, forcing the jumping movement away from that area.  Wingless.

Life Cycle


No Metamorphosis
Springtail will breed year round with development from egg to an adult taking 5-11 weeks.  The young appear similar to the adult stage.  They will molt 4-5 times before reaching sexual maturity.  Some species will cover eggs with a glaze that helps protect them from dehydration for fungal attack.

Habits


  • Diet: Algae, fungi, fungus spores, pollen, organic debris and decaying vegetable matter.
  • Activity: Move in short runs than rest. Jumping motion can be about 4 inches high.
  • Preferred Climate: Different species can live in varying temperatures, but all rely on moisture.
  • Defense: Furcula allowing quick movement away from the area.
  • Cautions: Can grow to high numbers and invade homes or be found floating in pools in large numbers.
  • Home Invasion: Normally invades homes when outdoor temperatures are increasing and exterior moisture is reduced. Their interior search is for their preferred environments, moisture.

Helpful Hints


  • Reduce excessive moisture or repair leaks.
  • Replace infested soils or mulch.
  • Attracted to light at night so reduce outdoor lighting.
  • Perimeter pest control treatment if entering inside.

Interesting Facts


Springtails are great decomposers breaking down organic wastes, however, large populations can become a nuisance.

Symptoms


None.

Nesting Sites


Symptoms of springtail infestation usually include:

  • Moisture source allowing breeding
  • Activity in rooms with plumbing
  • Activity present bordering lawns or sprinkler systems