How to Get Rid of Springtails in Houseplants [6 helpful tipcs]

Springtails can be a common pest in houseplants. They are small, dark insects that often go unnoticed until they become overwhelming. In this blog post, we will discuss how to get rid of springtails in your houseplants and prevent them from returning.

Springtails are insects that range in size from 1/64 of an inch to roughly 1/2 of an inch. They are colorful bugs from the Collembola family.

They have brilliant blue, pink, yellow, and red stripes. These spotted pests can also be found in grey, brown, and black.

Their name is derived from a forked appendage that abruptly moves, allowing these insects to leap. Insects appear to spring out of the ground, yet they have no wings.

Pests such as springtails are a common problem in the houseplant world. You may have spotted them when watering your plants. They are tiny, but their speed makes it difficult to overlook them.

Springtails in Houseplants in the United States

Springtail is a hexapod. In zoology, hexapods refer to a group of arthropods with six legs. Their thorax consists of three parts – the pro-thorax, mesothorax, and metathorax.

The springtails in houseplants in the United States are cylindrical. They lack wings. They can be found in brown, grey, white, and black. The largest known species of springtails is one-eighth-inch long. 

The jaws of all springtail species retreat inside their heads. Some species have needle-like jaws, which can be dangerous for houseplants. They have eight spooky eyeballs that set them apart.

The tails of springtails can propel them across large distances in a single bound. Their tails are tucked to the underside of their bellies, extending into fork-like furculas.

These furculas get filled with fluid when the insect is startled, which urges it at its bottom. The force of the fluid brings the tail down to the ground.

They can jump 100 times their height because of this force. Their unique ability to leap is what earned them their moniker.

Springtails have a tube that secretes glue. You can find this tube on their abdomen. They can travel on surfaces because of the stickiness of the glue.

Springtails are drawn to wet regions and soil that has just been disturbed. The dryness of the surroundings makes them ill.

Springtails in houseplants in the United States can survive the worst weather because they have a particular protein that lets them breathe through their skin.

There are about a thousand springtail species. There are 700 of these species in North America. They die unless you water the plant constantly.

What Kind of Creatures are Springtails?

Springtails are among the most frequent pests seen in potted plants. More than 300 distinct types of these pests are found in the United States, and each one is unique.

Their skill is their most recognizable feature. They are well-named since they flutter about plant pots.

Identifying springtails isn’t tough. You should be able to tell right away that these pests are attacking your houseplants. How? They cause wilted leaves, withered stems, and dried plant components.

If the infestation is severe, you might have to change the plant. However, if you keep an eye on your houseplants, you can avoid these creatures.

Read How to Get Rid of Scale on Houseplants

Longevity, Social Class, and Life Cycle of Springtails

It takes four to six weeks to get from egg to adult, suggesting they have a fast life cycle. Females lay eggs in packs or individually. Depending on the weather, they begin to hatch in five to ten days.

You won’t find any metabolic activity in springtails’ life cycle. There is no metamorphosis for pests with ametabolous life cycles.

They repeatedly shed their exoskeleton instead of changing into something new. Molting is a natural part of their growth as they mature. Moreover, they increase swiftly.

Many springtails are sexually reproducible. Springtail males release sperm packets into the earth. The female springtails show up and begin collecting the boxes of food that have been left there.

This reproduction process differs from that of many other houseplant pests.

Fertilization occurs as the females release their eggs into the earth. A single egg or several eggs may fall from her at a time. They hatch more quickly at higher temperatures.

They are nymphs for five weeks, during which they undergo multiple molting phases. Once they reach their adult life, they can go through 40 molts throughout their lives.

Sometimes, asexual reproduction happens. There is no requirement for the males of the species to incubate the females’ eggs. Springtail females can produce up to 400 eggs during their lives.

You can increase their reproduction by using soil containing lichen or moss in the pots. That implies you’ll have more bugs to contend with.

Are Springtails Harmful to Plants?

Springtails aren’t always considered pests in their native habitat. Soils gain humus in their absence and as a result of their decomposition.

Unfortunately, they quickly spread out of control when placed in plant pots. When they can’t get enough of the plant’s organic content, they move on to the plant’s healthy portions.

Most often than not, springtails attack the leaves and stems of the plant. They only require a few weeks for severe infestation.

How to Prepare Your Plants against Springtails

Springtail removal is a common concern. Many people have to throw out their plants because of springtail infestation.

A plant’s roots are the primary food source for springtail. They favor rotting roots. Fungi, algae, and mold are significant sources of food for springtails.

Remember that springtails cannot harm or kill your houseplant. They can’t even do permanent damage. If you take action on time, you can save your plant.

After the pests are gone, your plant will take some time to bounce back. Why?

They feed on roots, and roots are responsible for heavy lifting. They take up water and nutrients and disperse them throughout the ecosystem.

Therefore, your plants will suffer a few consequences. They turn yellow and often wilt when their roots are being eaten.

Most houseplants can recover from root damage if less than a quarter of the roots are affected. Springtails aren’t capable of causing this level of destruction.

What are the Sources of Springtails in Houseplants?

The decomposing stuff in leaf litter and the dampness from dripping faucets attract springtails. They are most commonly found in garden yards.

However, if the weather turns against them, they’ll head indoors to search for water.

These pests can be drawn to your house by the light. They may enter through the openings in your windows, doors, or even the foundation.

Their primary food source is water. Therefore, they attack plumbing leaks in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.

As soon as a springtail enters your house, it begins searching for the ideal environment to develop and multiply.

Because of the easily available soil and moisture, your houseplants provide optimal growing conditions.

Springtails love overwatered houseplants because the soil includes a high amount of peat, attracting insects and providing them with the necessary nutrients.

How to Get Rid of Springtails in Houseplants?

You can use chemical remedies to get rid of springtails in your house; however, you must be aware that they might be dangerous to your family and pets.

Archaic gardeners believed that closing your eyes while watering your plants is an effective technique to rid your houseplants of springtails.

The following natural methods are used to get rid of springtails in houseplants:

1. Allow the Soil to Dry before Planting

Springtails like moist conditions. They will find a new spot with more moisture if the soil is dry. Until the soil dries out and the springtails have gone on, you should refrain from watering your plants.

  • Once the dirt has dried up, you can move your plant permanently to a new container.
  • Use fresh soil in a new pot and remove as much old dirt as possible from the plant before re-potting.  
  • Add pebbles to the bottom of the pot to improve drainage and prevent the soil from becoming wet.

2. Use Low-Peat Soil

The peat content of some potting soils is higher than others. Try to use potting soil that has less peat and is less water-intensive. A lack of peat in the soil will drive springtails to seek a new habitat.

3. Clean the Leaves

Springtails in houseplants in Ohio are a common sight. You have to clean the leaves to get rid of them.

  • Take a moist towel or a wet sponge and wipe them away from the plant if the infestation is still tiny.
  • Throw the critters into the trash and get rid of them right away.
  • Soak the towel or sponge in apple cider vinegar.
  • You can use apple cider vinegar with a high acidity level for killing springtails.

4. Vacuum the Eggs

Vacuum the eggs as soon as possible if you see even the presence of springtails. Use a vacuum cleaner to ensure that all of the eggs and adult springtails have been removed.

Once you have vacuumed the plant properly, throw away the vacuum bag immediately.

Vacuum your houseplants using a handheld clean, then vacuum your carpets with a larger machine to get rid of the creepy crawlies.

5. Incorporate Solution Spraying

Springtails can be safely eradicated by spraying them with the following solutions:

  • Spray your plants with concentrated oxygenated bleach without harm.

 Add the oxygenated bleach to a spray bottle, and spray it around the pot’s rim and immediately on the soil. Make sure to avoid using chlorinated bleach on your plants.

  • Spray the springtails with a solution of neem oil and water. Spraying the fluid on their body will suffocate and burn them.

While neem oil is generally safe to be used on springtails in houseplants in Colorado, it is always best to test a small area before spraying the entire pot with the solution.

Repeat the procedure weekly to catch any springtails that may have hatched after your last treatment.

  • You can eradicate all home pests with the application of essential oils.

Test a tiny patch of soil with a spritz of the essential oil and wait for twenty-four hours to check whether the plant has been burnt.

Fill a spray bottle halfway with any essential oil and the rest with water. Spray the surface of the plant properly to get rid of resting springtails.

  • Use a basic soap-and-water solution to douse the area. The springtails are suffocated and burned by this solution, which has no adverse effects on your plants.

Don’t water too much to avoid attracting additional springtails.

6. Diatomaceous Earth Dust

Springtails in houseplants in Texas are a common sight. You can use Diatomaceous Earth Dust to get rid of them from your plants, home, and garden with success.

All you need to do is sprinkle the powder on top of the ground. Springtails need their outer covering to preserve moisture, which the powder will remove, causing them to burn and die.

Read How to Get Rid of White Worms in House Plants

Preventing Springtails in Houseplants in the United States

The following are some easy ways to prevent springtails in houseplants:

  • Inspect your houseplants periodically.
  • Clean the pots, especially if they are located near drains or moist places.
  • Remove any damp spots from your home as they cannot thrive in dry circumstances.
  • Maintain a clutter-free environment in your outside spaces.
  • Rake the pine straws and leaf heaps to get rid of them.
  • Allow your lawn and soil to dry thoroughly.
  • Maintain a distance of at least six inches between mulch and compost piles and your home’s foundation.
  • Use caulk to fill in any holes or crevices around your property to keep springtails out.
  • Seal your windows and doors with weatherproofing strips.
  • Ensure that all the wet or moldy sections of your home are repaired.
  • Fix dripping faucets and pipes in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Ensure your home has enough airflow to prevent mildew and wet spots from returning.

Is It Possible to Get Rid of Springtails Using Organic Pesticides?

The chrysanthemum flower is the source of pyrethroids, an organic chemical. It is widely used as an insecticide in commercial and residential settings.

 They are utilized in spray form and last for a few days. As a result, they are harmless for your plants and the environment.

How to Get Rid of Springtails in Houseplants
How to Get Rid of Springtails in Houseplants

Final Word

Gardening is messy. You’ll be covered with squishy soil and nasty animals that can trample on your meticulously cared-for plants.

Make sure you evaluate the benefits springtails may provide to your plants and soil before you decide to remove them from your home. Most organic gardeners view them as a welcome addition to their plots of land. However, you need to be careful.

Springtails can be a nuisance in houseplants, but there are ways to get rid of springtails in houseplants. By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can take back your plants and keep these pesky critters at bay. Have you had any experience dealing with springtails? Let us know in the comments below.

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