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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Springtails along baseboards


    Every year I notice springtails bugs in my house, probably because I don't like bugs in my house (who does) and notice them easily. Anyway, I was vacuuming around my baseboards today and noticed several throughout my lower floor around the baseboards (maybe 20 total throughout out the downstairs). I know they're usually due to environmental factors and we had some very very heavy rains a few days ago, so if they're just coming in and not sticking around fine but my fear is they're living in the baseboards, is that possible? Assuming we have no leaks, which I think I would notice could they survive in there? We had quite a few people at my house last night too so I thought maybe they hitched a ride in. Any advice you can offer would be very helpful.

ANSWER: Dear Kristin - Springtails can only persist in very moist/humid environments, so they would not be living in your baseboards (or anywhere else in your house, for that matter) unless those conditions were present. It is quite likely that those you are seeing simply are accidental intruders. As long as you practice good moisture management (no leaky/drippy pipes/faucets or condensate from refrigeration/air handling equipment, etc.)and keep indoor humidity levels as low as practical, you should not experience any population build-up, and the vacuuming up of the occasional uninvited 'guests' should suffice.

Hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, that's a relief to hear. Why would they be found by the baseboards? Any idea? They seem to like it around there.

Dear Kristin - Two possibilities come to mind: (1) They had been moving across the floor and simply stopped when the encountered a barrier (the baseboard), or (2 - and less likely) if the baseboards are a bit loose, any moisture trapped there would be an inducement for them to remain in that location.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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