Springtails are very small insects, hardly ever larger than 5mm. They owe their name to the fact that almost all species have a forked attachment to their abdomen, allowing them to make great leaps. A springtail of, for instance 5 mm long, can jump about 8 cm far. A number of common species that show great similarities in their stylise belong to the Entomobryidae, Isotomidae, Onychiuridae and Sminthuridae families (globular springtails).
Spring tails mainly live in places with a high relative humidity. They feed on rotting vegetable material, but also moss, algae and fungi. They are mainly found in the top soil layer, between litter, grass, gravel etc. In greenhouses in particular, when the soil is silted, the springtails are comfortable, because it means there is a lot of food for them. Spring tails are wingless insects. In small numbers, they are hardly noticed, because of their small size. However, they can also exist in great numbers. The latter mainly occurs in hot weather. However, certain species can also be active at temperatures around the freezing point. Springtails are harmless to people and animals. They don’t sting or bite. Nor are there any cases known of skin irritation caused by these insects.
Prevention & Control
In case of springtail nuisance in buildings, the development place will have to be tracked down. Three possible development places can be:
In the litter layer of the garden, possibly along the facade of the building, moss growth on the facade or (mainly) on closely packed heavy trees; on flat roofs and in gutters. Especially when water occasionally remains and there is algae or moss growth, this development place is perfect for these insect; in the house, when the atmosphere is very humid due to the presence of a lot of plants, they can be found in decorative pots.
The best way to get rid of them is to prevent their presence. Get rid of algae, fungi, or moss. Keep flat roofs and gutters clean. In the house, springtails cannot survive due to too dry conditions. Any springtails that are found can be vacuum. All this makes the use of chemical substances unnecessary.