How to Tell if Your Home Is Infested With Springtails
Scientists have identified more than 500 species of springtails in the United States and Canada. Most of them are tiny insects. Depending on the species, they range from 1/32” to almost 1/8” in length.
In their normal outdoor habitat, most springtails live in moist or damp environments. They will dehydrate fairly quickly if their environment turns dry. Springtails eat fungi, algae, and bacteria that they find in their environment.
Springtails occur in great numbers. Scientists have found as many as 30,000 springtails per square meter of planted fields. They found as many as 50,000 springtails per cubic foot of forest litter.
Where Are They Found?
In urban areas, springtails are found on golf courses, in gardens, in parks and in greenhouses. They have even been found in offices, malls and hotels where they have been brought in with potted plants.
Around homes, springtails are found in gardens and flowerbeds. They live under mulch and leaf litter. They are common around swimming pools. They also live in water meter boxes, around ponds, under landscape timbers and even under dog houses.
How Do They Get in the House?
Springtails prefer an outdoor environment that is damp and has plenty of mold and organic debris to feed on. However, if their outdoor habitat becomes too dry, springtails may move indoors seeking a more supportive habitat through openings around and under doors. Once inside, they will seek out and occupy areas of dampness and mold such as a basement, bathroom or kitchen.
Sometimes new homes are infested by springtails shortly after the home is finished. This is ordinarily the result of construction materials that are damp and support mold growth that attracts springtails to the wall voids or other hidden locations inside the home. Also, springtails may be introduced to the property in infested mulch and natural, waste-based fertilizers that are spread on the grounds.
Springtails become very active when their environment starts to dry. As they hop, they are able to enter homes. They enter through basement windows, crawlspace vents, and garage doors. Springtails are able to crawl under doors that have damaged weather-stripping.
Sometimes Mistaken for Fleas
When springtails invade, homeowners often mistake them for something else. Many homeowners think these tiny, jumping insects are fleas.
Springtails Seek Moisture
When springtails move into a home, they usually go into areas where they can find moisture. Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms are common springtail habitats. Homeowners often find springtails in sinks and behind appliances.
Springtails also seek out areas where pipes have been leaking. Plumbers have found springtails in walls and under floors. They had been living in wet sheetrock and feeding on fungus and mildew.
Homeowners have also found springtails in damp basements, in garages and in storage sheds. Springtails infest boxes of stored items and even in upholstered furniture that has gotten wet. These damp items provide the mold or mildew that the springtails need for food.
Orkin is trained to help homeowners get rid of springtails. We use the (A.I.M.) system Assess, Implement and Monitor.
During the Assessment phase, he will identify the causes of the problem. And during every follow-up visit, he will be on the lookout for any changes to your home or landscape that might allow springtails to reinfest.
For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.