If you ever found thousands of tiny hopping insects in your bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, then chances are you have a springtail infestation. There are certainly worse critters to find in your home, but none the less, they are still not a pleasant bathroom buddy. We always would love to have a beautiful home with a healthy environment. Achieving that is often easy, but when one is faced with an insect infestation, the home becomes quite unwelcoming and uncomfortable. But fear not, as here are 12 easy tips to get rid of springtails naturally from your home.
What is a springtail?
Springtails are actually tiny (unlike the magnified picture above), soft-bodied ‘insects’ that love to live in damp soil. I say ‘insect’ as technically they are actually hexapods. Hexapods are distinguished from insects in the fact that they have internal mouthparts, unlike insects that have external mouthparts.
Springtails get their name from the unusual shape of their abdomen which has a long protrusion tucked up beneath its body. When the creature is disturbed, it releases the ‘tail’, hurtling the springtail several centimeters into the air.
Given their size (less than 1/8″), unless you’re an aspiring entomologist with a microscope to hand, most people incorrectly identify them as fleas and apply flea remedies to the problem. However, springtails are generally harmless to humankind and unlike fleas, they neither sting nor bite. They range from cream to light brown in color, although you can also find gray and black ones. However, it is when they are in large numbers that they become a nuisance to households and given how quickly they breed, large numbers can appear very quickly and even to the less squeamish, the sight of thousands of jumping critters can be quite distressing.
These animals live on mold and fungus. Therefore, you will find them in humid places that support the growth of these particular plants. These sites include woodpiles, flowerbeds, and under logs. Infestation occurs when there is a lot of dampness in the home. Springtails love wet places. That is why when they enter homes they will always prefer rooms that offer moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. Yet it’s not just kitchens and bathrooms: another common source for springtails in the house is over watered pot plants.
Signs of Springtail infestation
And how would you tell that your home has been infested by springtails? How would you know? What are the signs? Given the fact that they reproduce in such large numbers, a solitary springtail will indicate that somewhere in the house there is an infestation.
The areas to be inspected include dark, moist rooms, basements and under kitchen and bathroom sinks. If you find springtails in the bathroom, first look under the sink. Check piping under the bath for leaks. Scan for mold and mildew, especially if you have cracked tiles with missing grout.
And remember, If you remove the source of damp, and remove their preferred food such a mildew, bacteria and mold, you will get rid of springtails as fast as they arrived. Fortunately, below are ten home remedies that you can use to get rid of springtails naturally as the first stage before you remove the damp.
How To Get Rid Of Springtails
Mould attracts springtails like flies to honey since it not only grows in humid places, but is also the insect’s principle food source in the house. Getting rid of mold should be the first and foremost strategy to employ. If you remove the food source for any living organism, then you will solve the infestation and springtails are no different.
This remedy is for a less serious infestation. This is because a highly infested area will require a lot of vinegar which can be costly. Cider vinegar has a high acidity content that will efficiently get rid of springtails by burning them. To get rid of springtails, wipe down the infected areas at least three to four times. Cider vinegar also has the added advantage of being anti-fungal in nature and an effective mold treatment.
Cedar oil is a potent natural insecticide that kills all types of parasites, insects, and hexapods, – springtails included. A cedar oil fog machine can be used to reach the unseen cracks and crevices that hide springtails. Also, you can use this oil to treat the plants in your garden to prevent further infestation. However, for effective springtail elimination, use the pure and not the cosmetic or aroma cedar oil. Use a well-combined household formula to spray your seats, bed and even the carpets. (1)
This is a natural oil extracted from the Neem tree. It can be used in many cases to serve as a natural pesticide. Neem oil can get rid of the springtails in your home. However, the level of oil concentration is a factor that will determine how well the insects will be eliminated. Use the correct concentrations to achieve the most favorable results.(2)
This one should be an everyday remedy. There should be a good circulation of air in your household at any one time. Low or poor ventilation leads to dampness which in turns attracts springtails. Ensure your home has enough windows, doors, and a ceiling fan even. Also, keep home appliances efficient and well ventilated. Enough ventilation means that there will always be fresh air.
This essential oil works similarly to neem oil. It is also just as natural. However, it works best when combined with other essential oils such as citrus. Combine several drops of clove oil with another essential oil with water then transfer the mixture into a spray machine. Use the spray device to spray on the springtails directly.(3)
This oil can also be used as a home remedy to get rid of springtails naturally. Thyme oil is a rapid killer when used in the correct concentrations. It is a natural oil and is, therefore, safe to use in the interior household.(4)
This home remedy refers to a natural product that is formulated with diatoms. It is usually a white powder and can be used to get rid of springtails in your home. This powder will get rid of springtails naturally through removing the waxy outer coating that helps the insects to conserve moisture.
Caution: Diatomaceous earth is particularly toxic to fish. Do not use in the house if you own fish. (5)
Get tile sealants to seal the extra space between the tiles to avoid mold build-up due to the presence of excessive moisture. Springtails love the crevices that appear when grout begins to fail and mold starts to form. There are organic tile and grout sealants available in the market, which you can bring and do it yourself at home to get rid of mold permanently and provide no safe harbor for the springtails.
This oil can be used to get rid of springtails naturally. Apart from its anti-pesticides properties, the oil adds a fresh fragrance to your home products. It keeps the air fresh and sterilized. This essential oil is obtained from the Eucalyptus tree. When spraying, ensure that the rooms are well ventilated. That is to say that windows should be kept open. The oil also has anti-fungal properties as well to help you remove the springtails food source. (6)
This remedy is less costly and is an effective treatment to get rid of springtails naturally. It can, therefore, be used in highly infested areas. The springtail infested areas can be washed thoroughly with soap and water. The mixture will burn and drown several insects. Repeat the process several times to completely eliminate the springtails. The soap will also help kill the mold as well.
For rooms that are naturally damp, such as basements, the infestation may not be localized and easily treatable. Consider damp proofing solutions or dehumidifiers to remove the problem.
- Always ensure that your household is well ventilated to prevent dampness and hence infestation of springtails.
- Use protective wear when applying any home remedies to get rid of springtails naturally.
- Avoid all situations that might lead to springtail infestation. Prevention is better than cure.
- Keep the anti-pesticides out of reach for children.
- Ensure that no foods are in the open when spraying.
- Do not apply any of your remedies at night.
- Don’t stay with damaged water pipes unattended to.
- Don’t sleep with the lights on at night. Springtails are attracted to light.
- Do not spray any of the anti-springtails with the house windows closed.