Spring Into Action: How To Get Rid Of Springtails

Posted on: 14 June 2017

If you notice tiny, cream to light brown, wingless, jumping insects in your home, they may be springtails. Springtails, or snow fleas, like to swarm in moist environments such as bathrooms, swimming pools, and kitchens. They take their name from the body mechanism that helps them jump long distances.

They are no threat to humans, but they can be a minor nuisance to plants. A swarm of springtails resembles a large ball or fabric swatch. Here are tips to get rid of springtails in your home.

Remove Mold and Moisture

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • fan
  • scrub brush
  • liquid detergent
  • bleach
  • white vinegar (optional)
  • cider vinegar
  • wet/dry vacuum
  • diatomaceous earth (optional)

Springtails are attracted to moisture and mold, so dry water quickly to prevent mold. Locate and fix areas where water may get into the house like roof cracks, damaged siding, gaps in windows, or damaged piping. Install weather-stripping on doors and windows.

Set fans to dry out walls, floors, and carpeting. Check the walls outside the home, especially on humid days, and use a wet/dry vacuum and soapy water to remove them, to keep them from getting inside. Run a dehumidifier to help control the humidity inside.

Mold tends to have a musty smell, and it appears in black, green, or white patches. If you find mold, remove it with vinegar diluted with warm water mixed in a spray bottle. Let the mixture set an hour, and use a scrub brush to clean it.

Maintain Potted Plants

Springtails often like to hide in potted plants, so inspect the plants regularly. Avoid saturating the plants when you water them, and let the soil completely dry before you water it again. 

If the plants have an infestation, repot the plant. Shake the plant gently outside to remove some soil. Ensure the new plant pot has proper drainage holes.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the soil to deter the bugs. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made into a powder from fossil remains o small water organisms called diatoms. If that doesn't work, or you have fish, try a non-toxic biodegradable soil drench. D.E. is harmful to fish.

Try Vinegar, Bleach, or Detergent

Cider vinegar kills springtails, because of its high acid content. Pour or spray vinegar directly on the insects. However, you may need to do this several times before you see results. 

If the vinegar fails, or the infestation is large, mix detergent and water until it bubbles, then pour it on the springtails. As a last resort, use diluted bleach and open your windows to ventilate.

For professional help, check with companies like Leck's Exterminating.