What are springtails? Springtails are less common houseplant pests when compared to others like aphids. They are small insects that can be found both outdoors and indoors. Springtail bugs love soil that is wet, as well as damp or decaying organic materials. They love algae, fungi, and molds as they feed on them.
The springtail bug is considered harmless when it’s a small or light infestation. But with a large infestation, they are known to cause trouble to houseplants.
In addition to feeding on algae and molds, springtails also feed on the roots of plants. They do this with their chewing mouthparts. Making them different from other pests with piercing and sucking mouthparts like whiteflies.
Springtails are tiny jumping bugs that jump very high when disturbed. All in all, they are classified more as nuisance houseplant pests than dangerous ones.
Identifying the Springtail insect
Springtails are tiny insects that measure up to 1/16 of an inch as adults. They have a wide variety of colors they come in. This can range from white to black to brown and gray. They are fitted with a chewing mouthpart which lets them feed on algae and mode.
Springtail larvae are quite small. They can measure up to fractions of regular adult springtails. They hate being disturbed from feeding. And their furcula (external body part) help them in jumping as high as they do.
Life Cycle Of Springtails
Male springtails reproduce by leaving sperm packets on the soil of houseplants. The female springtails pick up these packets and use them to lay eggs. Female springtail bugs produce over 400 springtail eggs in a week. These eggs are deposited in the soil of houseplants.
The springtail eggs take a maximum of 10 days to hatch into nymphs. It can be shorter, depending on the temperature of the soil. The nymph stage of a springtail bug is quite long. They spend 4 to 5 weeks before becoming adults.
On average it takes the springtail eggs a maximum of 6 weeks to become full adults. And the adult springtail can live for up to a year.
How Bad is A Springtail Infestation in the house?
Springtails don’t do too much to infested plants, except chew plant roots located in the soil. But these springtail bug bites aren’t severe to the plant. They are more troublesome than dangerous.
You can also spot springtail colonies indoors in bedrooms and living rooms. This often indicates extra moisture in walls and beds. They do not bite or harm humans in any way, but they make terrible house guests.
Swimming pools can also be a great spot for springtails to hide out. They are terrible swimmers and would most times die on the surface of the water. This can be a terrible look when trying to swim.
All in all, springtails are more of a nuisance to people than they are to plants. This is why appropriate springtail treatment methods must be employed.
How To Get Rid Of Springtails In Plants
- You can deny springtail pests access to your homes by closing all windows and doors. They prefer indoor moisture and could also be attracted to bright light. If your house foundation has cracks, ensure you fill them up.
- Always do a thorough check on your potting soil of plants before bringing them home. That way, you can inspect for signs of a springtail infestation. If you do notice infested soil, let it dry off a bit. This can make it uncomfortable for springtails.
- Neem oil and horticultural oils can be used in killing springtails. These organic pesticides can suffocate and burn large springtail infestations.
- Cinnamon spice can be used in treating springtails in houseplant soil. Sprinkle a few drops into the soil to get rid of them.
- Diatomaceous Earth can be abrasive to springtails. Sprinkling the powder on springtails can lead to a painful death for the plant pests.
- Insecticidal soap mixed with water can be sprayed on large colonies of springtails. Use a powerful hose to push out large spurts of water. This would dislodge the little white bugs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they are. They can disturb sensitive indoor plants and cause some level of stress to the roots.
No, but they can be used to repel a small infestation of springtail bugs.
Diatomaceous Earth can be overkill when it comes to getting rid of springtails. The powder is abrasive to their skin.
Dry soil can be uninhabitable for springtails. It can also affect the life cycle of baby springtails.
Using organic pesticides like neem oil or horticultural oil is best for springtails.