Do Springtails Bite
There’s a strange group of tiny insects hopping around. You might mistake them for fleas at first until you notice they don’t jump with their legs. They’re smaller than a little red ant, smaller than the size of a pinhead, and yet they jump like crazy. If you hold a magnifying glass up to them, you might notice something weird under their bodies… What are these weird, hairy little creatures?
Chances are, you aren’t looking at fleas. You’re looking at springtails! These tiny, tiny insects jump with a paddle called a furcula that stays curled under their bodies. They slap it against the ground like a spring-loaded clothespin and fly into the air. The jump is sudden and fast – One second they’re there, one second they’re gone!
This is what leads people to mistake them for fleas.
Are Springtails Dangerous?
Springtails, unlike fleas, don’t drink blood. They aren’t parasites; they don’t infest pets or people… But they are a nuisance. Heavy springtail populations make it look like your carpet is boiling with tiny, jumping insects. Some can even get pretty big, getting an eighth of an inch long! Just because they aren’t dangerous, don’t underestimate them. Fully established springtail populations can be tricky to eliminate.
Are Springtails the Same as Sand Fleas?
No! There are a couple varieties of springtail that occupy sandy spaces, but they aren’t the same. Sand fleas are actually a species of mole crab. They jump, just like springtails, but they use their legs in a similar way to the furcula. What’s bad about sand fleas is that they lay eggs in your skin. Which… Is just lovely, isn’t it? Luckily, you don’t have sand fleas in your home. They can’t survive in that environment for very long.
A magnifying glass will help you figure out if you have springtails or fleas. Fleas don’t have front-facing antennae, while springtails are shaped more like tiny ants. They have long antennae that are almost as long as they are – And again, they have the furcula under their bellies. They may look a bit like fleas, though. Many of them have a brownish hue to them, but they can be black, blue, purple, gray, or all sorts of colors. They also tend to be hairy little fellas.
How to Prevent Them
Springtails are attracted to moisture. They’re so small they need to get their water through their skin and from tiny bits of humidity. Because they’re so small, sealing up your home won’t do too much to prevent them. Instead, dry your house out and make sure your foundation is separated from the grass by at least 18″ – This also helps prevent mite infestations.
Move compost away from the home, and fix any leaks near water outlets. Inside, make conditions inhospitable by moving cardboard and paper off of the ground. These items attract and retain moisture as it condensates on the ground. Ventilate your attics and crawl spaces. Seal cracks, fix holes… And if this sounds like a lot, it sure can be. Especially on your own.
On our website we discuss all the ways pests can get in your home pretty often. You’d be amazed all the ways they can get inside! Give us a call if you suspect springtails or other pests are getting into your home.