Springtails are among the most common pests in lawns, especially in areas with heavy ground cover, such as ivy or other broad-leaved plants. Springtails live in the top 3 inches of soil and feed on leaves that have fallen into that layer. Springtails can also cause problems indoors, where they may be found feeding on carpeting and other household items. The larvae of certain species of greenhouse pest flies (which are really just maggots) look like springtails. People often get confused based on their appearance and think they are springtails when they are not.
The Facts About Springtails
Springtails are tiny insects with waxy, waterproof coats that allow them to survive in damp environments. The adults grow up to 0.2 inches long and have a tube like appendage at the end of their abdomen called a furcula. They use this organ like a spring to propel themselves into the air when they need to move quickly. Springtails are usually gray or black, but some tropical species have bright colors.
The furcula is also used for more than just leaping from place to place. It’s a vital part of the mating process; the male attaches himself to the female like a suction cup and uses his furcula to grab and hold her while they mate. After mating, the female goes off and lays her eggs while the male stays with them until they hatch into larvae.
Springtails usually come out at night to feed on decaying plant matter at ground level in forests, meadows, or your own lawn. They don’t bite humans, but they will eat foods in homes that are organic and moist, such as moldy bread or damp cardboard. Springtails also can damage the roots of young seedlings in gardens and cause discoloration of lawns due to their waste, which looks like black pepper scattered across the grass.
Behavior of Springtails
Scorpions are nocturnal hunters, feeding on insects and other small animals that they kill with their powerful venomous sting. Like spiders, scorpions have a pair of pinchers (chelicerae) and pedipalps for grasping prey. The pincers grasp food which is then cut by the curved pedipalps into smaller pieces that are more easily consumed. The preoral cavity is formed by the bases of the chelicerae and pedipalps and contains digestive glands that secrete enzymes to digest food before it enters the stomach.
Humid conditions such as springtails need to breathe through their waxy coats. This leads them to often come indoors on humid days and become active in large numbers, climbing up walls or crawling across ceilings. Some species get into homes through window screens where they set up a breeding colony, while others make their way through cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
If you find any Springtails in your Charlotte County home, contact Bug Off Pest Charlotte immediately. We can help rid you of these garden pests and get your lawn or yard back to normal! As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about Springtails or any other pest. Call us today 941-676-2005