University of Maryland Extension

Springtails

springtail close up adult spring tail
Photo: Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org         Photo: Drees Texas A&M Agrilife Extension 

Key Points

  • Springtails are very small insects, 1 to 2 millimeters long (1/25th to 1/12th of an inch). They are whitish or grayish in color and have a forked appendage at the rear that enables them to jump.
  • Springtails do not bite or cause damage. They primarily feed on algae, fungi, pollen, and decaying organic matter and are an important par of soil ecosystems. 
  • They may occasionally be a nuisance in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. 
  • Infestations in buildings are usually associated with dampness, organic matter, and mold.
  • Springtails usually occur in the soil, but may also be found under potted plants, and decaying vegetable matter.

Management

  • Springtails inside a home or building generally suggest some kind of moisture problem.

  • The moisture may be from a leaky pipe or excessively high humidity.

  • They may also enter a building seeking moisture when their outside habitat becomes too dry.

  • Fixing water leaks, drying out the affected area, or running a dehumidifier will often eliminate the springtails.

  • Insecticide sprays inside the home are not recommended or necessary. 

Rev. 2020

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