How To Get Rid Of Springtail Bugs: Cost, DIY Tips & Contractor Quotes
Read our tips on how to get rid of springtail bugs and how much it costs to hire a professional to do it. Contractor quotes included.
What are springtails?
Springtails are small wingless insects, commonly referred to as snow fleas. These tiny hexapods use protein in their body to survive harsh winters.
They are widespread insects, and most people mistake them for other small insects such as ants, fleas, bedbugs, lice, etc. However, springtails have their distinct differences from other insects with different habits and ways of living.
Unlike most insects and pests, springtails do not cause any harm to your property, nor do they bite or spread any known diseases. These insects won’t destroy anything in your home or tear down significant structural features such as insulation, electric wires, or foundation. They won’t eat your plants, flowers, or any other essential item in your home.
Instead, they tend to be annoying pests, and they can grow into large numbers once they infest your home. Getting rid of them can be pretty tricky. They get their name from their ability to jump off suddenly. They have a forked tail called the furcular that is usually hidden under their abdomen. When disturbed, the furcular snaps out and extends rapidly, making the insect jump suddenly almost 10 centimeters into the air.
How Do Springtails Look Like?
As mentioned, springtails are tiny wingless insects that move around by crawling or jumping. They are about 1/6 to 1/8 inches long with a medium-sized antenna. They are slender with elongate round soft bodies, but some have round and firm bodies. Most springtails appear dark brownish, greyish, black, and bluish, although some are white and bright colored.
Breeding and Feeding Habits
Springtails are commonly found in damp conditions with organic matter, moist soil, and debris. They are widely known to be soil creatures. They need moisture to thrive and survive. You are likely to find them in the soil, decaying logs, fungi, wet leaf litter, under snowfields, caves, and even under the barks of trees.
They are attracted to wet areas such as freshwater pools where you will find them on the surface; you can also find them on the seashore and wet vegetation and any other place that appears damp.
Springtails exist in about 6500 species all over the world. In fact, they are known to be the most abundant insects in the world, and each in habitat, you will find them living in large numbers. These insects have a life cycle referred to as ametabolous. Meaning they do not undergo metamorphosis. This means that they do not have a larval, nymph, or even a pupa stage, but instead, they develop by molting as they increase in body size. They keep shedding although their lifecycle, even after reaching the adult stage.
Springtails tend to group themselves, and you can find close to 100,000 of them in an area as small as one square meter. If they fail to get favorable conditions outdoors, springtails will find their way indoors, and you are likely to spot them in the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and basement. You will also find them in slabs, around the drain lines, mulch, under your house’s siding, and if you have woodpiles near your home, they will nest under the pile.
They are also active during winter, and they can survive in icy weather conditions. In fact, you will likely find springtails crawling in your outdoors during winter. They thrive along the foundation wall due to the warmth and inside the wall spaces of your home. They can also be found in door frames during winter.
They feed on decaying matter, algae, fungi, or pollen. They are highly prolific insects. In fact, if they invade your home in just a few months, their population can skyrocket to unimaginable numbers. This situation can be stressful as it can be pretty hard to get rid of them if they infest your home in such high numbers that they still keep multiplying. You can imagine a situation where you have bugs jumping all over your home. Obviously not a pleasant scenario, so even if they won’t bite or cause any structural damage, it’s just hard to live with such a menace around your home.
Once inside your home, springtails can be spotted anywhere, and most common places include under patio slabs, under mulch, in the area around spouts, near the septic tanks, around the flower beds. You also find them around the sprinklers in your yard and any other site that is moist.
Their nests usually start from the ground, and since they tend to crowd in one place, the nests typically get full pretty fast. When this happens, they will migrate, and you are most likely to find them under the siding of your home.
In fact, a majority of homes have springtails living under their home’s siding, and they might go unnoticed for quite a while until the population grows big. Once the population becomes large, springtails will now migrate inside your home once the population becomes large through the doorways, windows, and drain lines. They will see the crawling and pilling in the kitchen, basement, and bathroom, especially around the showers and tubs.
What Attracts Springtails To Your Home?
Springtails prefer to stay outdoors where they have access to their food source, mainly in the soil and damp areas. If you start spotting them inside your home, it means they are finding a favorable condition inside, making them come inside. As mentioned earlier, these insects can invade your home, and within no time, they will grow into thousands of them, and your home can become a mess.
If you notice that they are suddenly active in your home, the environment outside may be getting dry and unfavorable for them. They will start crawling around and gaining access to your house through doors, basement windows, garage doors, crawl place vents and any other small opening that has a favorable moist condition.
You will know you have a springtail problem or infestation if you start spotting them in moist and humid places inside your home, such as the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, garages, basement, and even in your garden.
Springtails are attracted to mildew. If you suspect they have infested your home, you can check under the sinks, around the drain pipes, and any other places that are experiencing water leakage, making them damp and moist with mildew.
If you spot them crowding around your indoor plants or other places that have water leaks, around the drainage pipes and the swimming pool, these insects may have already invaded your home. Springtails are also attracted to newly constructed homes that may have damp construction materials that encourage mold growth. As a result, springtails will be attracted to mold, and you find them in wall voids and other crawl places in your home.
Another way of attracting springtails in your home is having damp and inorganic material lying around. For example, piles of logs used for fireplaces or potted plants. These two provide a favorable wet environment for springtails to breed and nest. It’s possible to bring them into your house as they attach themselves to the wood or plants.
Are Springtails Dangerous to You?
Springtails are not dangerous. They will not bite or spread diseases to you, and somehow they are not a danger to your plants. However, their mere presence is annoying because they can quickly grow into a significant population.
They can also be a nuisance, especially if they crowd in living space areas, especially under the carpet or in the kitchen. Once they start appearing in your home, they will be all over the place around your living room, kitchen, bathroom, in the garage, around the pool in the basement, laundry room. Such a situation can be very unsettling and uncomfortable.
If you start seeing them inside your home, begin by searching where they are coming from. There is a possibility that there is a place on your property where they are overpopulated. Since they occur in large numbers, getting rid of them can be frustrating and challenging.
How to Get Rid Of Springtails in Your Home
Springtails are not the worst insects to infest your home, but nonetheless, they are still a nuisance that you certainly wouldn’t want to keep up with. Since no one wants to live in a home full of crawling and hopping insects, getting rid of these little critters is the best approach.
Identify Their Nests
Springtails thrive in moisture. If you start seeing them suddenly, the outdoor conditions are no longer favorable to them. You are likely to start seeing them in large numbers in spring and summer around pool surfaces, patios, garages, sinks, bathtubs, basement, and kitchen.
Most people will attempt to spray a pile of springtails if they spot them in their homes, thinking that it will help in eliminating them. However, this is not the case. In fact, it will not be surprising to find another pile in the same spot the next day. If you spot some springtails in your house, you probably have a bigger problem originating from another area outdoors.
The springtails in your home usually have a nesting spot hidden out of your sight in a less conspicuous location. Since they grow in large numbers, they will start migrating from their central nesting place to more minor spots where there is plenty of moisture and a source of food.
To successfully eliminate springtail infestation, you have to start at the source. Otherwise, you will keep seeing springtail in your home no matter what method of elimination you try.
The first step towards identifying their nesting site is to check the damp places or around the area where they tend to pile up. Springtails do move around quickly, and once they are settled and nested, they won’t move far from their found habitat. Therefore, if you spot a pile of them, there is a likelihood that their nesting site is not far off.
Here are some of the places that are likely to be springtail’s nesting sites that you should pay attention to when looking for the nests:
- Check under the sinks for both kitchen and bathrooms
- In the bathrooms around tubs and showers and Jacuzzi
- In the basement, garage, and the laundry room
- Look in the wall voids and under crawl spaces, especially if they are damp
- Check under the insulation, sheetrock, and sheathing
- Pay attention to the siding of your home, as this is one of the places that are most prone to springtail infestation
- Check under the mulch
- Look closely at the moist soil around your yard or garden
- If you have a pile of logs, look underneath
- Look around at the pool surface
- If you have plant pots, check around
Once you have identified the nests and the possible reasons these pests are invading your home, you can use nonchemical/ natural methods to get rid of them. Keep reading the guides to gain insights into how you can eliminate springtails bugs in your home.
Natural Methods of Springtail Removal
These methods involve the use of natural methods of killing and getting rid of springtails. It also includes the control measures that create unfavorable conditions that allow these pests to thrive or live on your property.
Get Rid of Possible Outdoor Breeding Sites
As indicated, to get rid of springtails, you need to handle the problem at the source. You need to get rid of the nests and the breeding sites. If you have decayed organic matter in your yard, you should get rid of it. Springtails breed and nest in the decaying organic material in your yard. By getting rid of these materials, you will kill most of them, including the young ones, thus reducing the population.
Clear decaying leaves and grass clippings in your garden. Ensure that you maintain mulch at about 2 to 4 inches to avoid attracting springtails or making the conditions around them favorable. To clear breeding grounds near your house, make sure the area around your perimeter wall is clear with no piles of wood or decaying leaves around it.
Fix Water Leaks and Their Sources
The key factor that attracts springtails in your home is excess moisture. If you suspect you have an infestation of springtails in your home, you need to start looking for moist spots and possible places where there is an uncontrolled water flow.
One of the possible reasons for excess moisture in your area is poor drainage. In addition, you could be having leaking pipes and cracks in your outdoors. These are some of the possible sources of water that are drawing moisture inside your home and attracting springtails. If you fix the leaks, you will dry out the spots where they are nesting and reduce the amount of water in the area.
Therefore, if you have leaky pipes, make sure they are fixed. Cracks and gaps in windows and door frames are also other sources of water leaks. Ensure that they are water-proofed and if there are small cracks and space, seal them off with caulk.
Sometimes, wooden windowsills can get damaged by water and, as a result, allow water to leak in. You can change the wood or, alternatively, treat the damaged wood. After this, eliminate the problem entirely by applying a water-proof finish to the new or timber.
Get Rid Of Mildew and Mold
Mildew and mold growth in areas that have high moisture levels. Fungi are the primary food source for springtails, and they retain moisture making the environment more conducive to these pests.
To eliminate the bugs, you need to get rid of mold and mildew. Look for damp places, such as in the bathroom and the basement, especially around the corners. Also, pay close attention to the surface of your soil to see if you will see fungi, algae, and moss. If you spot any of them, remove the dirt to stop the growth of any of them.
Do Not Over-Irrigate Your Plants
It might be challenging to control the amount of water your outdoor plants require, but you can pause the irrigation water if you have indoor plants that seem to attract these pests. You can let the soil in the plants dry out, and in the process, the springtails present will die.
If there are any outdoor plants that you plan to bring inside your home, you should let the soil dry out completely. This is because if you already have a springtail infestation outside, they may be already present in your potted plants. If you transfer them indoors or hang them on your patio or windows, you risk bringing them into your home.
If you dry out the soil in the potted plants before you bring them indoors, the springtails will die, and you will have reduced the risk of having an indoor infestation.
Transfer Your Pot-Plants to a Different Pot
Sometimes, springtails can stay in the pot even after drying the soil. It is safe to change the soggy pot, remove the plant, and transfer it to a different pot. When transferring the plant, use well-draining soil and air the container with drainage holes.
When relocating the plat to another pot, shake it off as much as possible to remove the soil before you re-pot it in another pot. Do not use the old soil in the new pot; instead, use fresh soil to avoid transferring the pests. If possible, add gravel at the bottom of the container to increase the soil drainage. This will also prevent a situation where the soil gets waterlogged.
Ventilate Your Home Properly
If your home has poor ventilation, the temperatures could be one of the reasons for moisture build-up. The key factor to minimizing the risk of having springtails in your home or eliminating them from your home is reducing moisture content in your home.
To do this, you need to enhance air circulation by ventilating your home correctly. Ensure that you install the proper insulation for your home and add fans to improve ventilation. If you have a central air and heating system in your home, make sure you change the air filter regularly to enhance its efficiency and work more effectively. You upgrade your air filter to a better one if you feel the one you have is not efficient.
If there are any unprotected spaces in the roof and around the vents, you should seal them up. Water can get inside your house through the open holes in the roof and create moisture problems. You can also check the air moisture levels in your home using the humidity meter. If areas in your home have excess moisture, you can purchase a dehumidifier and install it to help reduce and control the moisture levels.
Springtails thrive in moisture. Having excess heat and water in your home’s environment will result in increased moisture levels. If you can avoid damp areas and conditions in your home, you will reduce the risk of having springtails in your home. This is because conditions will no longer be favorable to them.
Vinegar has high acidity levels that burn and kills springtails. If you have located their nesting and breeding site, you can pour this vinegar on them. Use the solution for several days to ensure that all the springtails are dead and clean up the area.
Soap and Water
This is one of the cheapest remedies but also very effective. It is suitable for areas that are highly infested, especially on the nests and breeding sites. The mixture of soap and water drowns and burns springtails and also removes mold. For this mixture to be effective, you will have to repeat the process for several days until you have eliminated all springtails present.
Bleach solution also works effectively in killing springtails. These pests can be very resilient, and even though soap solution and vinegar are effective, they might not eliminate them. Pour the solution into the nesting and breeding sites and any other place where you spot the pests. It burns and kills the pests within no time due to its corrosive nature. In fact, it can get rid of large infestations of springtails.
However, bleach is a harsh solution, and you should be careful when using it, especially in the drains. If you use excess bleach in the gutters, you will start dealing with septic problems that are costly to fix. For this reason, it is recommended that you use bleach solutions when you absolutely have nothing else to use or when you are dealing with a significant population of springtails.
Cedar oil is a natural insecticide that not only kills springtails but it also gets rid of other insects and parasites in your home. You can use this oil to spray inside in the wall voids, in cracks in the concrete slab, under the tub, and under bathroom and kitchen sinks. To effectively spray cedar oil, use a cedar oil fog machine to reach inside the cracks.
This oil can also be applied to the plants in your garden to prevent springtail migration. Additionally, you can spray cedar oil under the carpets, on your seats, and even in your bed in cases where the population of springtail is widespread in your home.
This is a natural product classified as food-grade and can get rid of insects and pests in your home. It’s a white powder that can be purchased from a nearby home improvement store. It works by drying and getting rid of the waxy exterior skin of the springtail that is responsible for storing and conserving moisture.
When this happens, a springtail will die naturally. Apply the powder in cracks in concrete slabs, in the basement, and any other surface where springtails tend to pile up. The powder can cost about $15 to $30 depending on the amount and also the manufacturer.
Mold tends to grow in the spaces between tiles, especially on wet surfaces around the pool, in the laundry room, and in the bathroom. As mentioned in the guide, mold attracts springtails, one of their primary food sources. To avoid mold build-up around these areas, use tile sealant to seal the tiny spaces in between.
2. Chemical Methods
Even though you can successfully get rid of springtails with nonchemical methods, in some instances, you may have to use insecticides if the problem persists. But, insecticides can be lethal, and they should be used with extra caution by following the label instructions carefully. In addition, you should note that insecticides will only work effectively if you also eliminate moisture issues around your home. This includes fixing leaks and improving ventilation in your home. Without moisture control methods, insecticides will only work temporarily, and the springtails problem will be back after a while.
Use insecticide dust for areas under cabinets, wall voids, and inside crawl spaces – If you suspect springtails are living in these areas, you should first find out what is attracting them. If it’s because of excess moisture, try and install extra ventilation around the area.
If the wall void seems damp, check for leaks, especially on door frames, light fixtures, or through the gaps in the windows. If there are any spaces and gaps in the mentioned areas, seal them to prevent water build-up in the wall voids.
Once you have put the control measures to eliminate moisture build-up, you can apply insecticide dust on these areas using a hand duster. The hand duster allows you to blow the dust inside the walls or under the cabinets making it spread inside. A bottle of dust insecticide cost about $20.10.
Use granules for outdoor treatment – the granules can be used to eliminate and control springtails outdoors, especially under the mulch, under piles of wood, logs, or pine straw. The granules are weather-resistant, and they can penetrate through the mulch and other damp decaying organic materials.
You can use a hand spreader or a style fertilizer spreader to apply and distribute the granules across the area. You can also make use of granules that act as barrier treatments. Apply the granules around your foundation to keep springtails away from accessing your home and completely zone them off.
The granules work by providing continuous control of springtails for about 4-6 weeks, and with time you will be free of springtails. If you want to kill springtails faster and prevent migration as the granules continue working, you can spray the surface using liquid insecticides. Use a hose-end sprayer to spray the insecticide.
The granules come in handy for homeowners who cannot do much about moisture levels in the outdoors. Additionally, if your landscaping requires a considerable amount of mulch and other decaying matter, using granules is the only best solution that will help you control springtails without having to get rid of mulch from your yard altogether.
A bag of granules goes for about $30.50 to $46.45. You can purchase a hand spreader at an average cost of $23.96. A bottle of liquid insecticide will cost an average of $43.70.
Spray liquid insecticides on concrete slabs – if springtails have nested in concrete slabs such as under the bathtubs, under the ground pools, in walkways and patios, you need to spray liquid insecticides. You can drill small holes in the slab of about ½ inch for every 2 feet distance and use a sprayer to pump about half a gallon in each hole. Proceed to spray the insecticide in the walkways, surfaces of the foundation, and any other surface infested with springtail.
Springtails are usually most active in the afternoon and early evenings, so these are the best times to apply insecticides.
Professional Springtail Removal
Springtail control is considered a home management process that requires consistency, control measures, and patience. In some cases, hiring a professional might not guarantee you a quick elimination, and you might continue seeing springtails around your home occasionally. In fact, a complete eradication process might require almost three treatments.
However, some benefits come with hiring a professional pest controller, especially if your DIY remedies have not yielded satisfactory results. A professional will be able to inspect your home and identify the possible reasons as to why springtails are thriving in your home despite your efforts to eliminating them.
Here are some of the benefits of hiring a professional to help eliminate springtails infestation.
Having mentioned that moisture is the critical factor for springtails to thrive and breed, a professional can inspect your home and identify the sources of moisture build-up. They will be able to look for water flow issues leading to drainage issues and leaks. They will give you a report on what needs to be done to eliminate the moisture issue and recommend the necessary repairs.
If moisture in the outdoors is prevalent, a professional will advise you on the best ways to improve drainage to avoid excess moisture build-up. For example, a professional might advise you to dig drainage trenches or install drainage to help control moisture and prevent springtails from thriving in your garden.
Specialized Removal Plans
If you are having a large infestation of springtails or the problem keeps recurring, you may need a professional to develop a better plan of eradicating the problem entirely. A professional pest controller is armed with years of experience and handling different pests and insects. They will not only assess and inspect every corner of your home; they will come up with set plans that are specific to your home’s requirements and needs.
They will consider the nature of your garden, the type of soil, and the amount of mulch and organic matter needed for your yard. They will advise on the best treatments that will keep the bugs away, depending on the magnitude of the infestation. They will continue monitoring your home after the initial treatment while ensuring all the proper control measures are being implemented.
Getting rid of springtails takes time and patience. It also requires some maintenance procedures to keep moisture levels at bay. All these might occupy so much of your time which might be inconvenienced if you have a busy schedule. A pest control professional can work around your schedule, carry out repairs, and occasionally monitor the treatment’s progress.
This will save a lot of time, and you can carry on with your busy schedule as a professional ensures that your home is safe and free of springtails and other pests.
Cost Of Hiring a Professional to Control and Eliminate Springtails
The cost of hiring a professional to get rid of springtails will depend on the severity of the infestation, repairs, and control measures to be employed. Most of them charge an average cost of $150 to $180 for the initial visit that involves assessment, inspection, identifying breeding and nesting sites, and recommendation of possible treatments.
For a one-time eradication job, it will cost you about $300 to $500. The process involves inspection, identifying the sources of moisture build-up (both indoors and outdoors), sealing water entry points, getting rid of decaying organic matter, and any other thing that attracts springtails to your home. The professional will then roll out the right treatment plan involving nonchemical methods or using the proper insecticides.
Depending on the nature of springtail infestation, you might have to schedule periodic visits. Here, the professional pest controller will keep a schedule of occasional visits to monitor your home and see if there is a re-infestation. They will continue with a treatment plan for a certain period and watch moisture levels indoors and outdoors.
The periodic visits can be monthly, semi-month, or yearly depending on your agreement and the extent of the infestation.
|First visit||The professional inspect your home, looks for breeding and nesting sites, identifies the sources of moisture build-up and recommends the right treatment plans.||$150-$180|
|One time visit-treatment visit||Inspects both outdoors and outdoors, identifies sources of moisture build-up which include leaks, drainage. Also looks for gaps and spaces in your home that allow water to leak inside. Gets rid decaying organic matter where necessary. Plans and executes the right treatment plan and keeps monitoring till they get rid of springtail infestation.||$300-$550|
|Occasional scheduled visits||Monthly|
DIY Precaution and Preventive Measures
Always ensure that your home is adequately ventilated. This is the best way to prevent dampness which attracts springtails.
If you notice damaged pipes that are leaking, arrange for repairs immediately. Do not overstay with leaking water pipes unattended. The leaks could lead to standing pools of water that allow springtails to thrive.
Springtails are attracted to light, and they will pile around the lit area. Ensure that you switch off the lights when going to sleep to avoid drawing them inside your house.
Avoid leaving piles of decaying material around your home or placing piles of fireplace wood chips near the perimeter wall of your home. These two create ideal conditions for springtails to thrive in and nest.
When applying home remedy treatments for getting rid of springtails, use protective wear such as gloves and respiratory masks.
If you resort to using insecticides, make sure you follow the label instructions for proper application. Make sure the insecticide is stored far away from children’s reach. Consult when you do not understand the instructions for application.
When spraying the treatment remedies, make sure that the house windows are open. In addition, ensure that anything food-related is not left in the open when spraying the treatments.
If you have a new home, you are more likely to experience springtails lurking around if your home is a slab constructed. Unlike houses with a basement where the topsoil is usually removed, the concrete is generally poured over the topsoil.
If the topsoil had active springtails, it would just be a matter of time before you start seeing them hopping around. If this happens, apply treatment in the slab to control the pests or call a pest controller.
Spraying inside the house only without dealing with the outdoors will not work, and it will just be a waste of time. If you want to get rid of springtails, you have to follow the procedures outlined in the guide. Find the source, which is the nests, and begin your treatment plan from the outdoors.
When treating the outdoors, do not limit yourself to one location. In fact, you need to think big and go beyond the area you think it’s infested. When it comes to springtails infestation, it might be hard to narrow down on places where they have nested. Apply treatment in almost every corner of your yard and the surroundings of your home.
Lastly, it’s essential to note that springtails are a source of food for other insects and pests. If you let an infestation thrive in your home, you risk attracting other problems such as roaches, ants, beetles, centipedes, crickets, etc. It would be prudent to control the situation early before you start dealing with a much bigger problem.
Springtail infestation in your home can be frustrating and most undoubtedly annoying. Springtails can invade your home by thousands and generally make your life around uncomfortable.
These pests live in the ground and primarily feed on decaying organic matter such as dead plants and leaves. They also feed on mold and fungus,
and they will be found in damp areas, especially where there is moisture damage due to water leaks. Once the conditions outside become unfavorable, they will start migrating, and soon you might start seeing them in your bathrooms, basement, kitchen, and laundry room. The only way to keep the infestation under control is to address the moisture issue and ensure proper ventilation around your home. You can also use nonchemical and chemical remedies to get rid of springtails while monitoring moisture levels in your home.