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springtails can be a nuisance, not just because they exist in large numbers. But they hop around your home quickly and are difficult to kill.
June 24, 2022
16 min read time
This information is reviewed by an independent pest control expert.
All external links are non-affiliated and for informational purposes only
Is there anything more annoying than moving into a new space only to see lots of tiny insects move about?
Well, I guess not.
However, springtails can be a nuisance, not just because they exist in large numbers. But they hop around your home quickly and are difficult to kill.
But there’s good news.
We are going to show you how to get rid of springtails without stress. Before we get into how to get rid of springtails, let’s take a closer look at what these pests are.
Table of Contents
Springtails are long insects that measure about 1/12 -1/18 inches. The pest is more appropriately described as hexapods and not insects. While hexapods and insects are quite similar to insects, The former chew their food internally, unlike insects. In this article, we are just going to refer to springtails as insects.
Springtails can exist in a wide range of monochromatic colors, ranging from white, gray to black. They have long, soft bodies but can also be oval. Since they do not have wings, springtails do not fly. Instead, they only hop about, giving them a humpback appearance.
They can jump about 6-8 inches high because of a forked structure in their abdomen known as a furcula. See, that’s why they are called springtails. It’s like they have springs under their tails.
Springtails love to come out during spring and early summer. Nevertheless, springtails can be found at any time of the year.
Springtails and fleas are often confused by some people to be the same insects. However, they are not. Fleas have hard bodies, which makes them difficult to kill. On the other hand, springtails don’t have a hard body and are easily crushed with a finger or two.
But, there’s a catch here.
There is a particular springtail species known as snow fleas. This species comes out during winter and is darker than its summer counterparts. Still, springtails and fleas are two distinct species as fleas cause discomfort in pets and humans, while springtails do not.
Springtails are attracted to damp places or anywhere there is a bit of decaying matter. If you have any of these in your home, then they could be the reason you have springtails. They can be found in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, cellar, or on a damp wall.
You could also find them around damaged pipes or over-watered potted plants since they love anywhere with a little more water than usual.
Why do they love these places?
Well, the answer is simple: they can feed on them. Springtails feed on algae, fungus, and decaying matter, and these food sources are almost always found in moist places, attracting springtails.
Springtails are more common in new houses than older ones. This makes sense because newer houses were probably exposed to moisture at one time or the other during construction. It is also possible that the wood used wasn’t 100% dried, or the walls weren’t given enough time to dry out.
You might also have springtails in your home because you’re living in an old house. After all, old houses exposed to moisture for a long time tend to harbor springtails.
Seasonal changes can also cause springtails to migrate indoors. Naturally, springtails live outdoors as that’s where they get enough food. But if the outdoors start getting dry, they might move indoors to seek moisture and food.
Springtails are not harmful. They do not carry any known disease and cannot infect humans, pests, or soil. Springtails also do not bite or sting, making them completely harmless to you.
Still, no one wants to share a space with large numbers of springtails.
So here’s how to get rid of springtails.
It’s not hard to get rid of springtails. With simple household substances or tools, you can drastically reduce their population. However, they won’t go down without a fight, and you can’t get rid of them at once. You have to keep making efforts to eradicate them until they are gone.
With that in mind, here are simple methods to kill springtails:
Yes, household bleach is first on this list. It’s very easy to use bleach to get rid of springtails.
All you have to do is to wipe down the affected areas with bleach. Since you will be using a concentrated bleach solution, it would help if you don some gloves before you start.
So, here is the simple step to follow to eliminate springtail infestation with bleach:
Bleach will automatically kill springtails as it is a highly corrosive substance and ideal for pest control. Repeat this procedure at least thrice a week to see significant changes.
If you have allergies to bleach, please avoid this method and use other methods we shall mention shortly to reduce their population.
If you can’t go with bleach, then vinegar can come to the rescue. It is an acidic substance that is used to kill germs and tiny pests, including springtails.
Vinegar is so potent that the springtail dies off as soon as it touches the pest. This is because vinegar’s acidity goes straight to their organs and burns them.
If you don’t have vinegar, you can use acetic acid. Spray acetic acid in the same way you would spray vinegar. Don’t forget to repeat this treatment several times to see quick results, especially in crawl spaces.
3. Vacuum cleaning
If you have a vacuum cleaner in your home, you have a tool to control springtails! They are very little and light, making it easy for you to vacuum hundreds in one swoop.
Use the vacuum to get a large number of springtails. Reach into crawl spaces to get even more of these bugs. You can use a shop-vac to combat a springtail infestation on your patio and even on flower beds.
To vacuum even more effectively, put some soapy water into the vacuum’s belly. The soapy solution helps to kill springtails that might survive the effect of the vacuum.
However, vacuums are recommended for those who want to eliminate thousands of springtails in the least possible time.
4. Detergent solution
A quick, inexpensive way to get rid of springtails is to use a detergent solution. Wondering how to get rid of springtails with detergent? It is simple.
Start by mixing the detergent with water. We recommend you mix 1/8 parts of detergent with about four parts of water. The resulting solution work in two ways. First, you get to clean affected areas thoroughly. Secondly, the solution kills springtails by burning them up.
5. Glue traps
If you don’t want to have direct contact with springtails, you can use a glue trap. A Glue trap is effective because it will catch a lot of springtails when they start hopping.
Shop for extremely flat traps, as these can catch springtails better. Some of these insect traps have a moisture lure, which acts like springtail bait. Once springtails get stuck on these traps, there’s no way they are going to come out.
For a serious springtail infestation, use at least three traps per room. Target places that are damp, dark, or moist. A single trap can serve you for a couple of months.
You should trash it if it gets too filled with springtails before then. Keep the traps away from pets and kids, though, as they can weaken the glue through continuous touching.
6. Baking powder
Besides being a great baking and cleaning agent, baking powder also comes in handy during pest control. Baking powder combats pests and reduces the moisture content of typical springtail habitats.
To use baking powder, dust it all over the affected areas. You can do this after cleaning to make it more effective. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which would kill off springtails in minutes.
Lemon is a very powerful and multipurpose fruit. Apart from being a cleanser and an antifungal agent, lemon can also kill springtails.
It serves two purposes in springtail elimination.
First, its acidity kills springtails since the bugs can’t stand low PH levels. Secondly, it freshens up your space.
Here is how to get rid of springtails using lemon.
Get a lemon concentrate or lemon oil if the process of squeezing out lemon juice would be too tedious. Mix a few drops of lemon oil/concentrate with about 500ml of water. Then spritz the mixture around your home, especially in your kitchen.
Yes and no.
The answer depends on why the springtails are in your home in the first place. If it is simply because of wet wood or construction moisture, the springtails may go on their own. However, this will not happen overnight and may take months or years. It might also require the help of a professional pest control agent.
On the other hand, if springtails are all over your house because of dampness, then it’s unlikely they will go away. As much as the environment is moist and provides food, they will likely stay around for a long time.
Since springtails have extremely short reproductive cycles, it’s best to deal with them immediately. They can reproduce every 3-5 weeks, turning a population of hundreds to thousands in a short time.
Pesticides kill springtails, but they are not particularly effective.
We say this because using pesticides only eliminates the springtails you can see without tackling the real issue of where they are coming from. Like organic methods, pesticides have to be used over and over again to eliminate springtails. Such applications may be bad for those living with you, including your pets.
Then again, some pesticides are flammable and could cause a fire outbreak if applied carelessly. Therefore it’s advisable to avoid pesticides as much as you can.
Instead, you can use an insecticide to get rid of springtails. Pyrethrins, which are good pest control insecticides, are best suited for springtails.
An insecticide can come in different forms, like granules or sprays. However, it is not recommended you use an insecticide indoors. You can apply it to areas close to your house’s foundation or around the soil of your building.
Try as much as possible to avoid spraying them near water sources or your garden. Insecticides can easily get into the water and contaminate a large amount of water, even in small concentrations.
The major way to prevent springtails from visiting you again is to eliminate mold, decaying matter, leaks, mulch, and wet wood around your house.
Springtails are easily attracted to things like these. If your house is dirty and has areas with excessive moisture, there’s every chance these unwelcome guests will come back.
1. Observe your home
Note where springtails love to hide in your home. What causes the dampness in that area? Is there a bathroom or kitchen nearby? Are leaks somewhere in your roof? Are there leaks around your sink? Knowing the root cause of dampness will help you know how to prevent a springtail infestation in the future.
Repair any faulty leaks, or have a plumber come to examine your pipes. He/she might spot a thing or two you missed and point out moisture-prone areas. Keep your kitchen and bathroom as dry as possible and remove anything that might decay easily to ward off these pesky insects.
2. Clean, clean, and clean
Next, thoroughly clean your home.
Pay particular attention to leaks and decaying matters. Remove any unnecessary thing that covers the walls or floors, like boards or storage objects. These can encourage moisture even after repeated cleaning. A cleaning routine helps to control the springtail population in your home.
Don’t neglect the surroundings of your house too. Debris around your home’s foundation can be a breeding ground for springtails. Try to take away dead leaves from the soil and trim your flower beds. Remember to take out items you no longer use.
3. Don’t water your potted plants too much
You love your potted plants. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so you continually water them, even when they don’t need it. While this might not be necessarily bad for your plants, it can be bad for your home.
Moist soil is a dream home for springtails, and they would flock to it at the slightest opportunity. Try to water your plant at least once in two days, depending on the kind of plant you have. If you already have a springtail problem because of moist soil, do not worry.
Use diatomaceous earth to cover the soil around your potted plant. Diatomaceous earth removes the outer coating an insect uses for water conservation. It also drains out moisture from the soil. This dehydrates and kills springtails with time.
4. Dry out damp areas
Now, it’s not just enough to clean regularly or repair leaks around or in pipes.
You have to dry out damp areas too. Remember, springtails love moist areas. A clean, dry area is a bad habitat for them. You can use natural or artificial methods to remove moisture from damp places.
Open up the windows and curtains of a particular room to increase air circulation and reduce moisture. Sunlight will gradually make a room less damp (plus, sunlight improves your mood.)
If the affected area or surface cannot be reached by adequate sunlight, you can switch to artificial methods for control.
For example, you could position a fan to dry out the affected area. Dehumidifiers also work well to reduce humidity, which causes dampness in the first place.
5. Locate their nesting site or sites
This is the most important step in eliminating springtails. You can take all the measures listed in this article to rid your home of these bugs. You could also prevent an infestation, but locating their nesting site is the one that tops everything off.
Springtails usually have a nesting site where they breed. This nesting site should not be too far from where you see springtail droves since they don’t like moving far from their nests. Now, your home might have multiple nesting sites. Sometimes, springtails have the main nesting site, then build ‘pocket nesting sites’ as they go.
Check for their nest in organic debris, compost, and mulches.
It would help if you also looked around swimming pools, jacuzzis, patios, or anywhere prone to moisture. Once you can discover their nesting site, use any of the methods listed in this article to eliminate as many springtails as you can.
6. Seal cracks around your home
Cracks can be the doors springtails use to crawl into your home. These critters will use any crack connecting the outdoors to your home. Cracks in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement can also be the cause of your springtail problems.
Caulk or expanding foam can help you deal with these cracks and keep pests at bay. Make sure to thoroughly inspect your house, so you cover all the cracks.
7. Use Essential oils
Organic oils like cedar oil, neem oil, or clove oil are excellent pest control substances. These oils have a powerful smell and are known to eliminate insects. Eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil are also used as pest control substances.
Some of these oils, like neem oil, work in the same way as vinegar. It burns up an insect’s outer coat and blocks springtail respiration. Eucalyptus oil is good for mold or fungus treatment, leaving springtails hungry. If they can’t find any food, they’ll die off.
Mix about 7-11 drops of your preferred oil with 30 milliliters of water. You can then spray affected wood or damp areas with this mixture regularly. Most essential oils have great scents so that you would be freshening up your home in the process too!
8. Get an air conditioner
If you live in a hot area, getting an air conditioner would be a plus to your home. An air conditioner helps by reducing moisture or humidity in your home, making it unconducive for springtails.
An air conditioner should not be used as a stand-alone method for springtail control. Instead, it should be combined with other prevention techniques for increased efficiency.
9. Keep your drainages in check
Even if your rooms and surroundings are clean and dry, these pests can still be lurking in your drainages.
Since drainage lines are connected to septic tanks, there is every chance that a springtail infestation is breeding in your drainage. They may build a nest in your drainage, then come up to your sink or bathtub when they need to move into new places.
If there are springtails in your sink, work on the drainage leading to it instead of eliminating the visible springtails around it. You can do this by applying special cleaning agents that would break down organic matter. This leaves the springtails with nothing to feed on.
Use these cleaning agents to control springtails every week till these bugs drastically reduce. After that, they use it once or twice a month in their habitat to keep them at bay. Drainages are best cleaned after a day’s work, so the cleaning agent works well. If you use your kitchen mostly at night, consider cleaning it during the day instead.
Getting rid of springtails should no longer be a problem for you once you follow the instructions mentioned in this article.
Suppose you want to use DIY methods to eliminate the pest from your homes; it is best to perform control or treatment procedures from 1-4 pm when they are most active.
Keep in mind that elimination techniques have to be combined with prevention techniques. It’s not enough to get rid of springtails, and you have to keep this nuisance off your home too. If you find out that you can’t still get rid of springtails, call for professional services.
Finally, let us know in the comments if you found this article helpful.
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