Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Springtails


QUESTION: Live in suburbs of Philadelphia

Springtail problem this time of every year

Have Orkin and Terminex spraying exterior and does not help

Thoughts ?

ANSWER: Hi Scott; I am sure you have seen that controlling insects like Collembola out of doors is a waste of money. Honest exterminators should have told you that. Springtails are  among the most common insects on Earth occurring on every continent. They are sporadic showing up by the thousands and then disappearing. They are harmless feeding on bacteria and mold spores. When they appear on surfaces outside you can just hose them off. Inside you just keep things very dry and they will be gone.
 What can you do besides hosing them off your structure? Nothing. We can attempt to keep bugs out of our homes but the out-of-doors belongs to the insects.

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QUESTION: House has no carpet. Basement completely dry, never had a water issue.  House is 10 years old. Tested for mold. (air and swipe) negative

House has humidity control and is never above 35% even in rooms we don't use and don't run AC

House cleaner 3 x per week

Don't understand why Springtails would be in home. They are found in small quantities every where, even closet drawer

We do have three cats, not sure if that means anything

Has to be an answer. Neighbors don't have such

ANSWER: Your question led me to believe that the collembola were outside.
They thrive on moisture and are not usually around a long time. Get some pyrethrum based spray and spray were they are concentrated. The cats are not involved.

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QUESTION: We have Orkin and Terminex spray with Befenthrin, Thermidor etc .,   and does not solve the problem. We also used Bifen granules and a spray that a web site suggested

My wife experiences an allergic reaction (itchy, scratching, minor rashes ) from such Springtails.  

Not to be disprectful, but I'm not an individual that takes "no " for an answer,

Should we sell and move ?

Hi Scott
It is true that there is evidence that collembola can cause itching and other allergies. it is also true that chemical insecticidea have no effect on them. The best treatment is Cedar oil. I am surprized that there is a persistance in the presence of springtails since they usually appear and then do not last as long as conditions are dry. You might try cedar oil insecticides on furniture and wherever they are present. I mentioned pyrethrum earlier because it is a natural insecticide.
 It is interesting that you do not take no for an answer but I have been a biology for 60 yars and an expert in ecology and entomology and I an assure you that there are things about insects that we have to accept. Insects are the only animals we cannot defeat. We can only hold our own against them. They compete for our food and they can kill us(mosquitoes). They eat our crops and our foods in the kitchen.
 But it cannot be any other way. That is how nature works. Every niche must be filled. If there is blood to be sucked there is going to something that sucks it.
Sorry for the long discourse. I hape you can solve the problem.  Keep away from exterminators. They should have told you taht chemicals do not kill collenmbola

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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