ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SPRINGTAILS
The springtail, whose Latin name is Order Collembola, is a very small insect that thrives in damp, humid conditions and exists all over the world. Springtails are usually dark-colored: black, brown, or gray, but there is lineage to this insect that makes them colored, white, and even iridescent. A springtail’s size varies from 0.25 to 6 mm (1/16th – 1/8th inch long). The body is usually thin and long with moderate antennae length, albeit there is a springtail group that looks portly and round. All members of the springtail family are very soft-bodied because of their atypical respiratory system. This insect needs to use their outer shell to breathe. Because of this, springtails need to live where there is a lot of water, moisture, and high humidity since their bodies quickly dry out.
Although springtails have no wings and cannot fly, they can jump over 10 centimeters into the air when disturbed. They can achieve this using a furcula. A furcula, found underneath the insect, is a specially designed forked-shaped appendage that stays tucked under a springtail’s abdomen when not in use. Envision an old-fashioned wooden mousetrap that is set. When the springtail releases its furcula, it is similar to a mousetrap being sprung, causing the insect to be able to propel itself, or jump, into the air.
Where Springtails Live in New Jersey
Again, springtails need to live near water due to their anatomy. Outside, springtails can be found in damp and organic debris like leaf litter, under tree bark, in soil, decaying plant matter, and can even be found at the beach. They thrive in irrigated fields and forests, but they have been documented to be found inside office buildings, hotels, motels, and malls! (They usually catch a ride in with the introduction of potted plants.)
Within urbanized areas, springtails prefer outdoor nurseries, green spaces, and golf courses. Nearer to home, springtails are often found in houseplant soil, gardens, under timber landscaping, and woodpiles. They love pool houses, dog houses, ponds, and swimming pools, too.
But don’t forget the mulch and soil with the high concentration of peat! These two in particular are an especially prime location for springtails, and high numbers can be found inside them.
When the weather gets arid, hot, and begins to dry out, springtails must abandon their habitat or they will dehydrate and die. That is when they will seek shelter inside your home.
They will invade your home by coming through crawlspaces, door thresholds, and screens. Springtails will hop to it and find the best places to reside in your home.
When Springtails Get Inside Your Ocean County Home
Once they make it over your Welcome Mat, springtails will immediately move to where there is moisture. They can be found in your houseplants that have been over-watered (and around them, as well). Windows and other places that hold condensation, as well as leaks in your plumbing are perfect places for springtails to live. Also, they will live inside walls and cabinets as well as bathtubs, sinks, and laundry room appliances if there is a leak.
Springtails thrive anywhere damp, like basements and crawlspaces. You can also find this insect in unusual places, with some of those places reported being wet furniture and damp mattresses.
Some More Facts on Springtails
Springtail infestation outside or inside your dwelling can be as small as a handful of insects to very large numbers. In either case, this can be very disconcerting. The good news is, no matter how many you see, inside or outside, these insects are harmless to humans. They do not sting or bite.
Springtails feed on organic matter like fungi, algae, or pollen. They also love to consume decaying roots and do not damage the healthy parts of plants intentionally. Springtails do not eat or damage human food, nor do they destroy property like furniture or clothes. What springtails are, essentially, is a nuisance to the residents of the home they manage to come and ‘visit’ (either inside or outside).
A sperm-containing structure is created on the ground by springtail males called a spermatophore. After that has been placed by the males, springtail females will use the spermatophore to inseminate themselves. The females will go on to damp locations and drop either individual or clusters of eggs. Since there are so many different variances on the springtail species, the life cycle varies.
Looking For Signs of a Springtail Infestation?
If you have had the unfortunate luck to spot some springtails inside your home, you should inspect to see if you have an infestation. For example, have you been spotting springtails hanging around the kitchen? Check under the sink. It would be best to inspect your cabinets and also to take a look into your drainpipe. If you find evidence that there is or has recently been a leak, it is highly probable you will have some form of mildew or mold present.
If these unwanted house guests have been showing up in your bathroom, again, have a look under the sink. Another place that could help you find out if you are infested with springtails is by taking a close eye on the trap behind the tub. Hear or see any leaking pipes? Give your bathroom a critical eye when it comes to looking at the tiles. Mildew loves to develop behind tiles when there is missing grout.
If you have a basement, check the walls for dampness.
If you think that you have a springtail infestation around your home or property, Alliance Pest Services is your local springtail removal company to ensure that your home is free from springtails.
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