Springtails are a harmless pest. Spring tails are a nuisance. If you live in Manatee, Sarasota or Charlotte counties, you may have a pool and these pests may be bothering you. Springtails feed on decaying organic matter. The good news is these pests, while annoying, will not bite and generally don’t harm your plants or grass. I’ll explain their effect on and ways to treat them in each area of your property below.
Lawn and Landscape
- Entry: Springtails will travel to areas with wet, decaying leaves or mulch. Regular amounts of leaves and mulch that are able to dry up during the day are not attractive to these pests.
- Damage: Grass is not effected. Mature plants are not harmed. These pests will occasionally chew on the roots and leaves of seedlings. If damage occurs to seedlings, it looks like small, rounded pits on the young leaves or as irregular holes on thin leaves
- Prevention & Control: Regular insecticide applications will eliminate this pest with a contact-kill.
In Your Home
- Entry: Springtails may enter through screen doors, vents or with potted plants. They are tiny enough to enter through small door cracks and even along the edges of window screens. They are attracted to water and will quickly die if they are unable to find any. For this reason, you may find them near sinks, bath tubs, laundry rooms or shower drains. However, without the decaying matter to feed on, they will die quickly no matter what.
- Prevention & Control: Vacuuming up the insects eliminates any immediate problem. To prevent future springtails infestation, create an insecticide barrier around the exterior of your home, window and door cracks.
Entry: These pests are tiny enough to enter through the pool cage. In large numbers, they appear like an oil slick on top of the water.
Damage: Though they will not harm your pool, they are unsightly. Not to mention it is disgusting to have large amounts of tiny insects clinging to you while you swim.
Prevention & Control:
- Spray the surface and/or edges of pool with a mixture of Dawn dish soap and water. The soap changes the surface tension of the water and the bugs drown.
- Your pool filter should eliminate them over time or you can manually remove them with a pool net.
- Remove excess amounts of vegetation and mulch from around the pool cage. If the areas are unable to dry out during the day, the decaying matter is perfect fodder for springtails.
- Spray the entire lawn and shrub beds with an insecticide to kill existing pests on contact.
- Special “springtail” pool shocks can be purchased. Your regular pool shock may actually attract the bugs. Be sure to read and follow all the instructions. You may want to contact your pool company for more information.