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What Are Springtails?

What Are Springtails?

Springtails, a common pest here in the Raleigh/Durham triangle, are so small they often go unnoticed. They are sometimes found on countertops, inside bathtubs or sinks, and on windowsills. They are light colored, very small, and if you try to touch one they will spring into the air by way of its spring-like tail (the furcula) that it keeps folded under its body.

Springtails can suddenly appear in large numbers in the spring and summer months. To stop their invasion is often frustrating and difficult, and sometimes elimination is impossible. The only way to get rid of them is to find the source—the area they are breeding.

Where do springtails breed?

Somewhere damp and dark. For example: under or inside mulch, under concrete slabs, under low decks, under sink cabinets, under large rocks and logs, under hot tubs, and inside damp crawlspace. If you are seeing them daily inside your home you may need to look for plumbing leaks, a leaky skylight, poorly sealed windows, a leaking shower pan, etc… Also keep in mind that irrigated mulch beds are an ideal habitat for springtails.

The treatment of springtails often consist of spreading granulars onto the mulch beds next to the house; dusting voids around plumbing, in bathtraps, and under cabinets; and treating the exterior with a liquid pesticide. But unless you find the source of the infestation, you probably will not get rid of them completely.