Springtails

Springtails are most commonly mistaken for fleas because of their ability to “jump” or move in a jumping manner. They’re considered a nuisance pest and do not pose as a threat to humans but are attracted to areas that are high in moisture and humidity. They are distributed worldwide and will be seen mostly during the spring and rainy seasons.

Reproduction and Physical Recognition
Springtails reproduce sexually and undergo an incomplete metamorphosis which means they will molt as they grow. Sperm transfer is indirect which means that they are deposited and picked up by the female at a later time. Fertilized eggs are deposited in moist areas and young springtails will emerge from the eggs and molt as they grow. Young springtails may molt 5-10 times before maturing into an adult. The full developmental time will range between species but can take anywhere from just one week to a full two years.
Springtails are best known for their “jumping” movement. This jumping movement is made capable by an appendage that is attached on the bottom of their abdomens that act as a spring to give the ability to jump. Adults will range in size from .25 mm to 10 mm with the average size being about 1-3 mm. They are wingless bugs that range in color from cream white to gray, depending on the species, and may even be a purple, blue, green, or yellow color. They have short antennae and are also differentiated from common insects because of their inner mouthparts. They may be identified when they are seen in piles that look like dirt that are located close to moisture sources in backyards, driveways, mud puddles and etc. after heavy rains.

Behavior and Damage
Springtails are considered scavengers that will feed on decaying matter and fungi or molds. They will only inhabit areas of high moisture due to the fact that they can lose water through their cuticles rapidly. Outdoors, springtails will most commonly be seen in wet soil or near and around potted plants. They can also be found in leaf litter, decaying wood materials, under the bark of decaying trees and etc. Springtails will not be able to survive in dry conditions. Other than their presence being a big nuisance due to their swarming behavior, they do not hurt people or animals and do not carry diseases. Unlike a lot of the other common household pests, springtails will not eat human food, therefore, they will just be an unsightly nuisance.

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Date: Friday, 11. February 2011 10:44
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