When encountering the word springtail for the very first time, some individuals might be surprised to find out that this critter is actually considered a pest. Those who live in arid environments are even less likely to have heard of this particular insect before, as these small pests often live in moist environments.
If you have heard of these pests, however, you may already be aware that during the spring and summer months, when the weather turns humid and moist, springtails can become a nuisance that definitely needs your undivided attention.
Despite their awfully small size – most species that make their way into homes are just between one and two millimeters – their presence alone sends homeowners into a frenzy as to how to eliminate them and prevent them from ever coming back.
Although these critters do not bite, people who get into contact with some species can experience itchy, irritated skin that feels similar to many people to an insect bite.
This phenomenon explains the usual fallacy that springtails bite people. Although springtails can’t carry disease and are too small to do substantial damage to a home, having them in great numbers can potentially make them a bigger headache.
Before we discuss the steps one should take to rid their home, especially their bedroom, of springtails, it’s ideal to first acquire a fair bit of insight about the hexapod’s characteristics, appearance, habitat inclinations and favored diet.
That way, when you’re up against a possible infestation, you know for sure that the pest you’re facing is, as a matter of fact, a springtail.
What are Springtails?
Like we talked about above, these critters are remarkably small in size. Still, it’s helpful to take note that the creature features an antenna, three pairs of legs and a segmented body.
A fascinating fact to be aware of as well, is that each springtail can have a varied mouthpart. While some can have a simple mouthpart, such as a piercing-sucking mouthpart, which the animal utilizes to suck fungi and liquids, other springtails can feature complex mouthparts, although the reasons and uses for such complexities are at the moment unknown.
No matter the kind of mouthpart seen on a springtail, though, all are found and concealed within its head.
Size, shape, and color are also crucial characteristics used to categorize insects and other animals. But identical to the varying mouthparts, springtails come in different colors and shapes, which makes them fairly hard to spot at times.
Most springtails are elongated, while some species are more globular, and their color ranges from white to black to purple to red to orange, grey, yellow and even multicolored.
Arguably the springtail’s most recognizable characteristic, though, is a furcula, or bi-forked appendage located on the underside of the fourth abdominal segment, which is utilized to elude predators. Folded underneath the springtail, it can launch the creature up to 100 times its body length by snapping downward, sending it soaring through the air.
High-humidity environments are where springtails make their homes in, such as under thatch in damp lawns, in mulch or beneath leaf litter.
Sometimes springtails are believed to be swimming pool bugs; types also include water boatmen and backswimmer bugs. When found inside residences, they are usually found in bathrooms, under kitchen sinks and in basements.
If there are hints of mold within your home’s walls, they can also be found in those locations.
As for the food they consume, springtails like foods found in similarly humid locations, choosing for things such as molds, mildew, fungi, and decaying plant material. As a result, these pests can at times cause damage to crops or plants in gardens, fields, and greenhouses.
Now that we’ve talked a fair bit about the characteristics and habits of this pest, it’s time to take a look at the best ways to get rid of springtails.
How to Get Rid of Springtails in Bedrooms
If you see springtails in your bedroom, bathroom or the carpet in any of your home’s rooms, it’s a good sign that there is an underlying problem you’ll have to tackle to completely eliminate your springtail population.
Because springtails are drawn to damp environments, the root of the problem could be the result of leaky pipes or roofs, ill sealed tubs, and sinks or porous basement walls.
Another possible culprit of a springtail problem is the presence of mold or fungus within your walls.
Often times, newly built homes possess small amounts of mold, the result of being exposed to rain or high humidity during the framing or construction phases of building the home, especially if it was not allowed to totally dry. While treating the area with spray or insect removal chemicals might initially solve the problem, leaving the source of the springtail’s attraction unresolved will eventually lead a new crop of springtails to form in the same area a few days later.
The creatures will continue to nest in your bedroom if indicators of moisture and humidity are still there.
One of the first things you should do is vacuum your bedroom to eliminate any springtails that are already there, alive or dead. Then you’ll want to assess the ventilation in your home, specifically your bedroom.
Bolstering the air circulation in your home can help improve on damp or humid spots inside. You can also check for any leaks around windows, light fixtures or door frames.
If any water or excess moisture is located, make sure to seal or caulk these areas to prevent the future accumulation of water. You can also consider treating such areas with waterproof Delta
Dust, which allows homeowners to “blow” the dust inside walls and under cabinets to absorb any moisture that is gathering.
How to Get Rid of Springtails in Bathrooms
Similar to your bedroom, springtails are drawn to your bathroom because of excess moisture that usually forms or settles under your bathroom sink, in your shower or in your tub. They can also be drawn to the small amounts of mold or mildew that gather in between tiles in the shower or in the walls behind the showerhead.
Before you start fixing usual plumbing issues that might involve a leak that you know might entice springtails to your bathroom, you’ll want to deep clean your room to take away any mold and mildew buildup. Luckily, a simple mixture of soap and water will do the trick just fine.
You can also clean your tub and sink with bleach cleaner and brush to make sure all the buildup is taken care of. Under your sink, be sure to tighten any plumbing to avoid leaks.
Once you are done cleaning your shower or bathtub, consider buying a tile sealant to caulk the extra space between tiles and any crevices or cracks that have appeared in your tiles. Doing so will prevent mold buildup and keep any springtails from gathering in your bathroom.
How to Get Rid of Springtails the Natural Way
While many repellents and chemicals could take care of springtails from your home, we definitely get the need and desire you may have for using lower-impact, natural pest control items.
One natural remedy that some homeowners use is cider vinegar, because of its high acidity content. Wiping down the infected area with the vinegar will eliminate the springtails by burning them. In addition, cider vinegar is an anti-fungal, which makes it an effective mold treatment as well.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is also a natural product that can be used to rid your home of springtails. The white powder functions by removing the waxy outer coating springtails use to conserve moisture.
When used in the correct concentration, neem oil, clove oil, cedar oil, thyme, and eucalyptus oil can all be used successfully to kill springtails. Clove oil, however, is most efficient when combined with another essential oil.
How to Get Rid of Springtails in Soil
Because of the high intensity of moisture, springtails often move towards soil – both in your backyard and in potted plants inside your residence.
If you do have potted plants inside your home, be sure to do periodic checks to make sure a group of springtails hasn’t gathered up over time. You can do this by wiping around the rims of trays, near drains and in damp areas around your plants.
Springtails can also penetrate your living space through open windows, doors and cracks in the foundation.
As such, you’ll want to keep potted plants and other organic matter, like soil, away from your home’s foundation if possible. If you do suspect that your potted plants are infested, let the soil dry completely before bringing it back into the house.
While the above concentrates on what you can do if you already have potted plants in your home, there are measures you can take to make sure that springtails don’t enter your home to start with.
Test the soil of a new plant with your thumbs to see if you see any springing, examine lichen or soil covers carefully and be cautious of plants that display signs of excess moisture.
Outdoors, you can dissuade springtails from harming your garden or landscape by taking away their ideal habitat, or damp, organic matter.
Consider restricting the amount of added compost and other organic material to the soil until the pests are no longer there. In addition, if able, allow your soil to dry out completely before watering your outdoor lawn or garden again.
Top Rated and Recommended Springtail Sprays
1. Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider
- Very good value for money
- Very effective
- Fully Organic
- Compact travel size
There is nothing more annoying than settling down to a good night’s sleep in a hotel on a well deserved holiday, only to have your quality sleep disrupted by nasty bed bugs.
The level of the room’s cleanliness may well be below par, but instead of vacating the room, you can rid your hotel room fast of these nasty, serial biters with the travel size Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider.
The bed bug spray comes in a very handy 2oz (60ml) bottle, and it can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs fast! EcoRaider is an all-natural insecticide that contains natural geraniol and cedar extract, and it is recommended by the USDA IR-4 Public Health Pesticide Program for public housing.
It can kill bed bugs with 100% efficiency, and as it is certified as a minimum risk pest control product by EPA regulations, you know it is eco-friendly.
Because of its outstanding performance at killing bed bugs, EcoRaider has become a preferred choice by many pest management professionals to reduce the use of synthetic chemicals.
The spray is non-toxic but lethal to bed bugs as its plant-based active ingredients penetrate the bug’s exoskeleton and attack its nervous system, which causes immediate paralysis and death.
If you are looking for an effective organic alternative to a synthetic pesticide, EcoRaider is safe to use around children and pets, and it is dermatologically safe, and it has extended residual protection even after it has dried, up to 14-days.
The travel size bottle is a must for any traveler as it is the approved size for carry-on luggage.
EcoRaider is easy to use, just shake the bottle well before use. Remove bed linen, and spray directly onto the hotel mattress, the bed frame, headboard, base and legs of the bed, or any dark spots that indicate the presence of bed bugs. Spray at least 1-2 hours before sleeping.
The EcoRaider 2oz bottle will effectively treat one bed, so you may need more than one bottle. To make sure that bed bugs do not hitch a ride home in your luggage, spray inside and outside of your suitcase for extra protection.
2. Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer Spray
- Ideal for indoor and outdoor bug extermination
- New, fast-acting formula
- Indoor protection for up to 12 months
- Outdoor protection for up to 3 months
- Works well on a wide range of insects
If your home is under attack from a full-scale bug invasion, the Ortho Home Defense System will kill nasty creepy crawlies and protect your indoor and outdoor areas by creating a bug-free perimeter for up to 12 months.
One of the top-selling pesticides, Ortho is designed to kill a large range of insects like ants, roaches, spiders, stink bugs, beetles, moths, crickets, earwigs, fleas, silverfish, ticks, spider mites, beet worms, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, and insect eggs, as well as 130-plus crawling insects.
The fast-acting formula contains 05% Bifenthrin and 0125% Zeta-Cypermethrin, two insecticides that work by attacking the insects’ nervous system. Once you have sprayed inside your home, on non-porous surfaces like baseboards, windows, and door trims, the Ortho Home Defense Max Invisishield barrier technology will create a protective barrier, which gives you long-term peace of mind and a home that is pest-free.
The spray can also be used outdoors, around building foundations, sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches, and other places where pests like to hide, by placing a protective perimeter around your home for up to 3 months, depending on the weather.
The home defense system is easy to use. Just plug in the Comfort Wand® into the top of the 1-gallon bottle. With one spray you can protect your home against pests.
Ortho is odor-free, non-staining, and quick-drying. As this a toxic product and can stay active for up to 12 months indoors, do not spray where animals are likely to walk and get the residue on their feet.
This product is also toxic to bees and grazing animals, so avoid spraying near any foliage or where animal feed is stored. The effectiveness of the spray on outdoor surfaces will depend on the weather as the product can biodegrade faster in hot temperatures.
If you run out of spray, Ortho also offers a 1.33-gallon refill bottle.
3. Raid Wasp & Hornet Killer Spray
- Fast-acting, high-powered spray
- Ideal for wasps, hornets, and bees
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Very effective on insects’ nests
- No CFC’s
- Childproof cap
Raid is one of the most well-known bug sprays on the market and their 14oz aerosol spray is very effective at killing paper and yellow jacket wasps, hornets, mud daubers, and bees on contact inside your home.
It is also ideal for killing stinging insects outside your home and the high-powered spray makes it very easy to target insects that nest in hard to reach areas. Raid can cover up to 22 sq ft and can be sprayed from up to 20 ft away, so you can safely eradicate those nasty wasps and hornets without having to worry about being stung.
If you have wasp nests under the eaves, Raid can kill an entire nest population if you spray the nest until it is fully saturated.
The active ingredients are prallethrin and cypermethrin, as well as other chemical ingredients, but there are no chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), so while this fast-acting spray is safe for the environment, it is deadly to biting and stinging insects that can make your life a misery.
If you have children, the spray has a childproof cap for extra safety.
4. TERRO Spider Killer Aerosol Spray
- Good value for money
- Effective spider killer
- Dual protection: contact and residual spray
- Ideal for other crawling insects
- Easy to use aerosol spray bottle
- Low Odor
Strike terror into the hearts of those annoying and sometimes dangerous arachnids with the very affordable Terro Spider Killer Aerosol Spray.
If your home is under siege from eight-legged creepy crawlies, the Terro Spider Killer gives you a dual approach to eliminating all kind of spiders like the black widow, hobo spider, and the brown recluse.
Terro can be sprayed directly onto spiders and can also deliver long-lasting residual repellency for up to 12 weeks, for all areas around your home, from the bedroom to the basement. This product is also effective against ants, cockroaches, scorpions, ticks, silverfish, Asian lady beetles, and bedbugs.
The easy-to-use aerosol spray bottle can be used as a broad spray treatment over a large area as well as allowing you to get up close to spray into cracks and crevices, underneath shelves and drawers, and inside bookcases, all the places where spiders love to hide.
Terro can also be used outdoors, to rid your patio, outdoor furniture, or trash can from lurking spiders.
A very versatile bug spray, Terro is also effective on ants, so to get the best effect spray directly on doors and windows where ants enter your home or spray directly onto ant trails to stop them in their tracks.
Terro contains pyrethrin, a naturally-occurring ingredient that is derived from chrysanthemums, and deltamethrin, which is a neurotoxin that kills insects on contact, via their digestion. The spray is a water-based formula, so it will not leave a greasy residue on surfaces, and it has a low odor.
Terro is also available in a two-pack.