Physical Characteristics

Springtails are tiny wingless hexapods, around 1/16 inches long. Nymphs are whitish, and adults can be whitish, bluish or dark gray to black. The springtail gets its name from a tail-like appendage that it carries tucked under its abdomen, which snaps like a spring-loaded trap arm when the insect is disturbed, propelling it away from danger.

Springtail

Springtails

Behavior

Springtails appear indoors in moist places like kitchen sinks, bathtubs and in houseplant soil, typically in spring and early summer. Outdoors, they’re found in swimming pools and in moist areas around gardens. They appear in large numbers, and many people confuse them with fleas, which carry disease pathogens. However, the springtail doesn’t bite, and its presence is annoying rather than threatening.

Treatment

Springtails are classified as occasional invaders, and if they’re getting into your house, it’s by mistake. Sealing off their entry points, and drying up any moist places they can find harborage in, are a couple of measures you can take. If you need help, your Clark technician can point out ways to keep them outside, where they belong. This integrated pest management (IPM) practice is called exclusion.

Latin name: Collembola, many genera and species