- SPRINGTAIL BIOLOGY
- SPRINGTAIL PROBLEMS
- SPRINGTAILS IN THE BASEMENT
- SPRINGTAIL NEST LOCATIONS
- SPRINGTAILS NEED MOISTURE
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL UNDER SLABS
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL UNDER DECKS
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL IN WALL VOIDS
- SPRINGTAILS IN BATHROOMS
- SPRINGTAILS IN SINKS
- HOW TO GET RID OF SPRINGTAILS IN YOUR SINK
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL IN CRAWL SPACES
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL FOR BASEMENT
- SPRINGTAIL CONTROL AEROSOL FOR LIVING AREAS
- CONTACT US
Springtails are small insects which thrive where there is a lot of moisture. This can be in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, behind walls, under siding, under mulch and just about anywhere moisture is prevalent and persistent. Springtails do not do any damage but we do get reports of customers being bitten by them when they emerge en mass and appear in living spaces. For this reason people fear the worse when they start showing up inside the home.
Springtails are commonly mistaken for fleas, ants, booklice, bark lice and psocids. They eat mold, mildew, fungus and decaying organic matter which is usually present in moist areas. They can be found in great numbers in homes which have been built for several years or in homes which are new. And though they seem to just “appear” from nowhere, in fact they take a long time to reach the numbers required for them to start over populating where they like to live. Unfortunately, once they reach that level and start migrating up and out of the soil, anything in their way will get infested.
Springtails prefer to live under slabs, mulch, around drain lines, under house siding or under piles of wood. They will readily move under siding if moisture is conducting there and from there move into homes. Springtails are readily found under slabs, cabinets and under bathtubs where it is both dark and moist. The author has inspected many homes where large populations were found to be in wall voids. On several occasions the numbers were in the tens of thousands. This occurred because the population was never treated directly. The emerging swarms were quickly cleaned but the nest sights left intact. This allowed them to continue to populate, breed and thrive.
Springtails will develop into many sizes and shapes – even in the same colony – but the one constant among them is their ability to jump. They have an appendage, called a “furcula”, which loads like a spring. When threatened, they will release this spring and propel themselves away from danger – hence the name springtail. They will move in short runs, then rest, and then move again.
SPRINGTAILS IN THE WINTER
Since they can withstand extremely cold temperatures, they have been known to emerge any time of the year. In fact, its not uncommon to find them active in the middle of the winter. On any warm sunny day during the winter, populations thriving alongside a warm foundation wall will readily migrate up and into wall spaces, door frames or in some cases, out over the top of snow.
Though these migrating springtails will probably die if they don’t get back down in the soil, seeing them during the winter is a sure sign of a problem that needs to be treated and not ignored.
And though the yard and soil treatments listed below really won’t help till it’s spring, the aerosol treatments to wall voids, door frames, window frames, etc. can help. And by treating these areas now you’ll help to minimize the chance of them getting established above ground by nesting in the voids in your home.
Springtails become a problem in and around the home when they begin to appear inside, around pools or in garages. The first time or two they emerge no one may notice. Once they establish themselves, however, their numbers will be so large that they will be very evident when they come out. Expect to see tens of thousands of them as they cover the kitchen floor, sinks, tubs, basements, pool areas and patios. It’s important to understand that this behavior is just a symptom of the real problem. In other words, what you are seeing is not where the problem resides but rather a migration of them from an overly populated area in search of somewhere new that they can infest.
SPRINGTAILS IN THE BASEMENT
Many times people will see piles of springtails on their patio or basement floor and think that spraying this area will stop them. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you don’t treat where they are nesting, you will continue to see them piling up in these same areas over and over. And don’t be confused by springtails found in your sink or tub. As stated above, springtails will find drain pipes in the home and follow them because they are moist. Where these pipes enter the home and the wall voids where they travel in the home are where the springtails will travel. Eventually the trail will end at a sink or tub and at that point, they will find overflow ports, drain pan or pipe vents and forage into the sink or tub. In other words, they aren’t coming up from the pipe but are in fact traveling along the pipe in the wall or under the ground to gain access to these areas. Once they come out they are easy to kill but if you want to get rid of them for good you will have to treat them where they are nesting or at least where they are traveling.
SPRINGTAIL NEST LOCATIONS
First, understand that springtails migrate when populations in main nest sights get over congested and dense. And these nests sights always start in the ground. It can be pretty much any place but commonly locations are under mulch, around down spouts, under slabs, wood piles, weed shields (plastic tarps placed on the ground to stop weeds from growing), around sprinkler heads, septic tanks, drain ditches, flower beds, ponds, streams, rivers and pretty much any where it’s moist.
Second, because most any yard will have several nest sites, it’s important to look at the whole yard as one giant nest. Using this approach, you’ll assuredly get them whereas trying to spot treat is likely to fail. This means if you treat as much of the yard as possible paying extra attention to the areas which tend to be moist and shady, you’ll likely be addressing main nest locations. And this is the key to solving spring tails problems. Why?
SPRINGTAILS NEED MOISTURE
Moisture is the one key variable all springtail populations need to thrive. And once you identify moist locations out in the yard or in the home, you should take any practical corrective action that will help to reduce the moisture levels.
When such locations are outside the home, there may be little that can be done to minimize the water content. But if you find high moisture in a crawl space, consider why this is happening. Install some TEMP VENTS or POWER VENTS to help remove the moisture as this will help.
Inside living areas, wall voids could have leaks around windows, door frames or light fixtures which could help sustain the migrating masses. Seal these areas to prevent water build up. If the moisture is high under your sink, inspect the area to make sure you don’t have a leaky pipe. The same is true in bathrooms and basements. By reducing and/or eliminating moisture sources in the living area, you’ll reduce the areas in which these pests can live. The use of HUMIDITY METERS around the home can be a great help at identifying problem locations inside the home but in most cases, this will only help to diminish the migration and not solve the real problem. And in 99.9% of the cases where springtails are migrating inside, the problem is actually stemming from outside populations.
Once the moisture has been identified, you will still have to deal with existing populations of springtails. Though drying infested areas will help reduce their activity, springtails are mobile and will readily move from one location to another in search of moisture. If your problem is located under mulch, pinestraw or wood chips, you will need to use two products for quick control.
SPRINGTAIL LAWN GRANULES
BIFEN GRANULES are weather resistant and do a great job of penetrating mulch and other damp areas where springtails are known to hide. Apply them with a HAND SPREADER over the infested area and be sure to treat as many of the same areas around your property since it is likely infestations will start there if they have not already. Bifen will release slowly over a 2-3 month time period and are the longest lasting granules we have.
Now if you’re in a state where we cannot ship the Bifen G, we do have two other options that work fine. These are the COMPLETE LAWN GRANULES and the ESSENTRIA EXEMPT GRANULES. The Complete Granules uses an active that will last 30-45 days so you’ll need to apply it more frequently compared to . Essentria is made from food grade actives and is considered to be the “green” option meaning it has a very low impact on the environment yet it will control springtails fine. Expect 30 days of residual from this choice.
Essentria Granules: http://www.bugspraycart.com/exempt/granule/eco-exempt-org-g-22-lb
Once you’ve applied some lawn granules, you’ll need to get them activated. Do this by spraying over the top with a liquid spray explained below.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL LAWN SPRAY
CYONARA RTS is a great material to apply over the top of Bifen. It will both activate the Bifen and provide a quick knockdown of current springtail activity. Just hook it to your garden hose and get to work spraying over all the areas where you applied the granules.
The reason Cyonara is effective is due to the way it’s applied. Springtails are small and can easily hide. But because the Cyonara is highly concentrated, it requires a lot of water to distribute. And this means you need to apply it with a hose end sprayer. So expect to use 10-20 gallons of water during the treatment. This assures you’ll saturate the ground, the thatch and mulch leaving no place for the springtails to hide. This is also why using a regular pump sprayer just won’t cut it; you need a lot of water and your garden hose with a garden hose sprayer will be needed for this job.
And when treating, you need to cover everything. This includes the turf adjacent to the home like mulch piles, flower beds and any other area where close to the home. And don’t forget to spray the side of the house. Go up 5-8 feet letting the solution cover everything including the foundation and siding.
Cyonara will provide a quick knockdown so you’ll see instant results with any exposed springtails dying within a few hours. And the water used to apply it will help get the Bifen going into the soil which is fundamental for the long term control of springtails.
The following video goes over the treatment of soil around the home for springtails.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL UNDER SLABS
Springtails nesting under pool decking, patio slabs or slab homes need to be treated differently than just sprinkling some granules and spraying. These infestations need to be treated like a termite job. This involves drilling holes, around every foot or two, through which you will pump some BIFEN. Use our TERMITE TREATER to inject the holes and try to get a good 1-2 gallons of finished material into each hole.
Termite Treater: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/termite-treater-kit
Better yet, apply the Bifen with a FOAMING TOOL. These applicators convert water mixtures into a thick foam so when you treat under a slab, the foam “carries” the Bifen up onto the bottom side of the slab. You’ll need to add some FOAMING AGENT to the tank mix so the foam is good and thick but for homes with springtail infestations, this is usually the only treatment that will stop them from nesting under the home. Springtails commonly nest on the slab surface and if the dirt under the slab has settled, just treating with nothing but liquid won’t get the required coverage to knock them out.
Foaming Agent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/foaming-agent
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL UNDER DECKS
One of the most common locations for springtails to nest is just under the decking and cement slabs that are used to surround in ground pools. The only way such nests can be properly treated is to either lift the decking and treat under it or drill holes and pump the Bifen down. The same is true for patio slabs and walkways – particularly where the slab attaches to the home. Drill 1/2 inch holes and inject the Bifen for quick and complete control.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL IN WALL VOIDS
If you have them inside the home and your house is built on a slab, you may have to treat under the slab as well. This will involve drilling and treating but will take care of this nuisance pest once and for all. But before you go to this extreme, try treating their routes of entry first.
One of these routes will be to come through pipes and conduits that cut through the slab. Many times these cut throughs will lead into cabinets and wall voids where spring tails can hide. Treat these areas with DELTAMETHRIN DUST for long term control. This dust is unique in that it will not break down when wet – a condition which is generally present where springtails are living. Apply it with a HAND DUSTER. This tool will let you “blow” the dust 3-6 feet, deep under cabinets and into walls. If you don’t have easy access holes through which to pump the dust, simply drill holes every 2 feet 1/4 inch wide. This will allow you to spray into the void properly getting good coverage and the effect will be to kill springtails enter the home and help to keep them out because they’ll avoid treated areas.
Pump 1 lb of Deltamethrin Dust for every 500 sq/ft of wall space. It will last a long time and take away treated areas as nest sites. And it will also stop them from following drain pipes or water lines that might be hiding in the wall void. Since springtails will readily travel up the wall following a drain line, you’ll need to dust as much of these spaces as possible. Wall spaces are used for drain lines which run upstairs in homes and apartment buildings. Springtails have been known to climb 10 stories up using this “highway”. A good dusting will both stop any there now and prevent them from forming nests so treat as much of it as possible.
SPRINGTAILS IN BATHROOMS
Bathroom walls, tubs and showers are springtail magnets. And if your home is built on a slab, it’s especially prone to springtail invasions at this exact location. This is because tubs, showers and toilets commonly sit over “holes” in the slab that are much larger compared to where pipes pop through. Known as a “tub box” or “bathroom trap”, these areas are left open so plumbers can have access to drain lines should the need for service under the slab become necessary. Unfortunately these areas tend to collect a lot of moisture along with lot’s of insects like springtails.
Once they come up at this location, you’ll start seeing them coming out of caulking, around faucet handles and shower heads. They’ll even appear in the tub or shower stall. To stop the invasion, you’ll need to at least treat the route of entry with some Deltamethrin Dust. This will involve drilling some small holes through which the dust can be applied. Deltamethrin dust can last 3-6 months even when wet but eventually it will break down. This means you’ll have to retreat 2-3 times a year.
For a more permanent solution, create some kind of access hole to the area. Bathroom traps are commonly set opposite of a closet or some wall of an adjacent room that can be cut through for access. Once the area is open, the trap will be visible along with any other problems like leaking pipes, cracks in the slab, etc. Spray these areas heavy with Bifen and then seal them with a thin coat of cement. It’s important to place just a thin layer of cement because you may need to break it up sometime down the road. But only a thin layer is needed to keep out the springtails and in doing this, you can prevent them from coming up and into your bathroom altogether. Just be sure to spray with the Bifen prior to applying the cement.
SPRINGTAILS IN SINKS
Springtails commonly appear in sinks and this is a particularly tough situation to treat because spraying down the drain is not advisable nor effective. When found in the sink, it’s important to locate exactly where they’re coming from. In some cases the sink could have moisture around it’s mount. When the sink cabinet is damp, springtails can take advantage and often times will nest in the cracks and crevices where the sink sits in the cabinet. Do a thorough inspection up under the sink, especially on the bottom side, and treat with some DFORCE AEROSOL or PHANTOM take away this nest site.
Phantom Aerosol: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/pt-phantom-17-5oz
But in many cases the springtails are foraging up through the drain line and emerging inside the sink. We find this happening when the home has a septic tank system or has a cracked drain line pipe. When septic tanks are used for drain lines, springtails (and other pests) are typically drawn to the area because it’s always wet and moist. These are many times down in the ground at some “low point” on the property where it’s both shady and moist. Because of these conditions, insects will eventually find such areas great for nesting.
So as the pest populations nest and grow around the tanks and pipes, it’s only a matter of time before some of these pests start migrating up and into the pipe. And once the numbers start reaching the thousands which will happen with springtails, they will no doubt find their way through the entire length of the pipe and into your sink.
HOW TO GET RID OF SPRINGTAILS IN YOUR SINK
Treating this kind of problem involves the combination of a few proven treatments. First, pouring some SURVIVORS down the drain. This will really help reduce and remove the organic matter on which springtails can live inside the pipe. Bleach and other cleaners won’t remove this organic slime so don’t waste your time, energy or product. but Survivors contains bacteria which will “feed” upon this organic matter and effectively make it “useless” to insects. Using Survivors weekly will eventually remove enough of the matter so that pests like springtails won’t have enough food to live or nest in the pipes. Treat at night, just before retiring for the evening, so the treatment can “sit” overnight and work for a few hours before the water is run again.
Another helpful treatment is to spray some GENTROL AEROSOL down the sink. Gentrol is a growth regulator and not a true pesticide meaning it doesn’t “kill” anything. Basically it copies a protein found in most any insect during it’s development. The reason Gentrol can help is because when insects get over exposed to it, they don’t develop properly into reproducing adults. Lightly mist some down the drain after applying Survivors so it too can sit overnight. The combination of Survivors and Gentrol will help take care of any insects living in your pipes.
The second suggested treatment is to treat the dirt directly around the septic tanks out in the yard. In some cases this will be easy. Septic tanks will many times have covers or caps that can be lifted. And gaining access to this area will enable you to direct the treatment right where it matters. Give the exposed soil, rocks and void a good spray down with the CYONARA RTS monthly to keep springtails and other pests in check. By killing them here they won’t be able to follow your drain lines up and into the home when they migrate.
Now if your septic tank system is covered in dirt, you’ll need to use a less direct treatment method which will include the BIFEN GRANULES applied over the top. Once in place, the hope is to have enough of the active penetrating down deep where it can adversely affect the nesting springtails.
To help in the process, you should poke holes in the soil every 6 inches. This pattern should be done directly over the entire area covering where you project the septic tank, void and drain lines exist. These holes should be at least 3-6 inches deep and deeper if possible. Any type of garden instrument can be used to make the holes but a STAKING TOOL works well and easy to use. Once the holes are in place directly over the septic system, treat with the Bifen Granules making extra effort to get the granules “into” the holes you just created. By holding the granules you’ll insure the active leaches into and down through the soil below ultimately reaching the nesting pests.
For homes with drain lines that lead to sewer systems, springtails appearing in your sink means you have some kind of access point in one of your drain pipes. This will happen when a drain line cracks or has an entry point that needs to be capped or sealed. Get someone one to inspect the drain line system in the home and have it repaired if they find a breach. This will be the “best” way to stop the immediate invasion and once you locate and repair the break, the springtail problem should fix itself because once you take away the access point and remove the moisture, they’ll die naturally.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL IN CRAWL SPACES
If they are thriving in a crawl space which is moist a lot of time, you can either treat with Bifen by spraying it out over the top of the soil or by dusting with the DELTAMETHRIN DUST. Spraying will only last a month or two per application so you will have to get down there several times a year to break the cycle and insure it does not develop again. The use of the Dust will provide longer residual and thus reduce the amount of times you will have to treat. Typically a good dusting will last at least 6 months and can easily last over a year! Apply the Deltamethrin Dust with a DUSTIN MIZER. This unique hand operated power duster will enable you to blow the Deltamethrin Dust 20-30 feet providing uniform and complete coverage.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL FOR BASEMENT
Springtails emerging in the basement can be a tough problem to stop because you may not be able to tell easily where the springtails are coming from. As explained in this article, you’ll only stop seeing them inside the home if you identify and treat the central source for the population you’re seeing. When springtails ares seen in the basement, there is usually one of two things happening.
The first scenario is that the home is built over a moist area that can sustain a springtail population. This commonly happens when basements are shallow, say 2-4 feet deep, and not the more common 10 foot “box” with 10 feet or more of foundation wall on all four sides. Walk out basements are prime examples of vulnerable basement types that lend themselves to springtail infestations. With walk out basements, the one side of the basement is at ground level so it’s a lot like a basic cement patio slab and just under this section at ground level, springtails could be thriving and moving about. From this outside location they will easily migrate inside as populations develop and grow. In most all home construction, walk out basements are on the “low” side of the property. This is the side which normally has water channeling down to it which is fundamental for springtails to live and thrive so the conditions are many times ideal in such areas.
For scenarios like this, you’ll need to deal directly with the source of the springtail invasion to stop the problem. So if you suspect they are living in the ground just outside the basement door that leads to the outside area and this door is at ground level, your initial focus should be the ground outside. Treat this area heavy with the Bifen Granules and Cyonara. If this is the source of their numbers, your treatments will reduce this “just outside” population which in turn will stop any from coming inside.
Now in a second scenario, it could very well be that the springtails are nesting directly under the basement slab. If there is enough moisture no doubt this could happen. And once they get established in this area, you’ll be finding a never ending stream of springtails coming inside. To solve this type of infestation, you must drill and treat the slab much like you would if you were treating for termites. Small 1/2″ holes should be drilled along walls or cracks where the springtails are emerging. Next you need to inject some PERMETHRIN SFR into the holes using a TERMITICIDE TREATER. In most cases you won’t have to treat the entire basement; there is usually just 1-2 walls where they’re living and active. But every case will vary so the rule here is to treat as much as you think you need to treat and then over time determine if this was enough. So if the invasion stops, you probably solved it with your initial application. But if you continue to find them adjacent to where you treated, say on one side, then obviously you need to treat more of an area.
Permethrin SFR: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/perm-sfr
Termite Treater: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/termite-treater-kit
Worth mentioning is that if your basement is finished with studs and wall boards covering the cement foundation, you must assume the springtails are nesting in the wall void too and treat with the dust as explained above. And if these treatments fail, then the drilling of the slab is inevitable and should be done next.
SPRINGTAIL CONTROL AEROSOL FOR LIVING AREAS
If you know they are coming out of specific cracks around molding, window frames or light fixtures and the white residue of the Deltamethrin Dust is too messy, use some PHANTOM AEROSOL for clean and invisible crack and crevice treatment. It won’t solve the problem in the walls or under slabs but it will provide a quick kill of the emerging adults and keep them at bay until the long term residuals do their job. Dforce is also good to use outside where you have massive migrations occurring. It also works well for other pests so you will be able to put it to use for many problems in and around the home.
Springtails are a pest in and around the home throughout the United States. They are able to live in all types of soil and will thrive when wet, damp conditions are available. Though easy to kill, you must get to their nest sight if you intend on breaking their cycle and preventing massive migration and activity in the future. To do this you will need to use a combination of the products featured above. Two or three treatments will usually resolve any level of infestation along with moisture reduction and you should be able to knock them out once and for all.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: http://www.bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
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