Summary: Springtails often swarm in large masses that cause people to become alarmed. They do no harm and are actually environmentally beneficial.
A pile of dead springtails can appear as a heap of soot sitting in a driveway or deck. In one instance we were called to a fifty-fourth floor observation deck of a high-rise building where springtails were inexplicably dying in mounds a foot thick.
The springtail is a minute insects about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long that lives in tremendous numbers in open fields and your yard. In fact, its numbers can reach into the hundreds of millions per acre ranking ***image1***them among the most abundant of all soil-dwelling arthropods.
They do their work as decomposers that break down and recycle organic waste. A few species feed on living plants and are occasionally regarded as pests, but in most cases they are simply a nuisance because of their abundance. These little leaping insects do not bite humans, spread disease or damage household furnishings.
Any method of drying is very effective in controlling these insects. A fan or dehumidifier works great, but don't forget to fix plumbing leaks and dripping pipes, too. Don't over-water house plants. Let the soil dry between watering, if possible.
Moist areas around foundations draw springtails, so rake up excessive mulch and piles of moist leaves. Prune back shrubbery and ground cover to permit proper air circulation. If you feel like you need a pesticide to help with the control you can apply a product like Talstar Granules around the exterior foundation walls.
Since springtails are attracted to light and may pass under lighted doorways at night, use sodium vapor bulbs or motion detection light fixtures to turn lights off when light is not required.