Springtails, or snow fleas, tend to arrive in swarms. They are essentially harmless, but the sudden appearance of thousands of insects generally causes alarm among those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves coping with an infestation. Partial to the dank and damp, springtails dine on the mould and fungus that also thrive under those conditions. While they are fairly impervious to cold and can, therefore, emerge any time of year, they do not reproduce indoors and are therefore bound to die out eventually.
Eliminate any areas of moisture. Springtails are drawn to water, so use a fan or dehumidifier inside the house. Also, fix any leaky pipes or dripping faucets sooner rather than later. Outdoors, remove any materials that are designed to hold moisture, such as mulch, and get rid of any piles of brush, wood or yard waste.
Increase the light in the affected area. Springtails like the dark and hide in drain pipes and under boards or concrete slabs. Brighten the area to reduce the attraction.
Wash any areas of infestation with vinegar. The acid it contains damages the exterior of the pest. However, you may need to apply it more than once, because springtail infestations usually involve thousands of the critters. For a more caustic effect, apply a dilute solution of chlorine bleach and water.
If gentler methods don't work, spray an insecticide around the house. Products that contain pyrethrin are particularly effective against springtails. Apply an even coat of insecticide to any cracks or crevices and around any points of entry into the house, such as doorways and windows.
Sprinkle diazinon granules of bifen pellets around the foundation of the house and around any areas of possible infestations, such as flower beds, shrubs or well-established areas of landscaping.
- Bug dust or sevin is a powdered form of insecticide that is extremely caustic. To use it, put a generous quantity of the dust inside a hand held duster and gently puff the insecticide directly on to any visible areas of springtail infestation. The dust will coat the insects abolishing the bugs within minutes. Also, it floats through the air, easily settling into the tiniest cracks, coating the smallest crevices.
- For a slightly less effective, yet more environmentally friendly solution to your springtail flea problem, you can spray insecticidal soap around your home and yard. For complete eradication, you will have to apply the soap several times and you may have to reapply every two weeks for several months, but you won't have to worry about the effect of the insecticide on your kids or pets.
- Always wear safety gear when handling chemicals; goggles, face mask and gloves.
- Keep all insecticides and caustic chemicals out of reach of children.