Springtails are tiny, wingless, moisture-loving creatures that seek dampness outdoors and in. They are frequently found clustered together in dense swarms. When disturbed, they spring into the air, as high as several inches, creating easily visible clouds.
Outside, they’re found in wet soil, decaying straw, rotting leaves and other damp organic material. They feed on molds, fungi and algae.
How to prevent
It is not difficult to keep this insect at bay. First of all ensure that house plants are always grown in sterile potting compost (this will also help keep away the diseases that the soil can contain).
If there is insufficient drainage, the compost can become waterlogged, so, next, always ‘crock’ a pot with a layer of grit or clay pellets before adding compost. If the compost to be used is too compact, coarse sand or perlite can be added to make it more free-draining.
If you find it difficult to assess when to water use a moisture meter, a self-watering cone or a container with a reservoir. In the latter cases, the compost takes up water gradually as it dries out, ensuring an even supply.
1 First of all, stop watering the plant and allow it almost to dry Out before re-watering. ‘This may be enough to eradicate these pests. It not, then you will need to use a chemical.
2 Use a suitable chemical, in granule form or diluted with water, to soak the potting mixture.
3 Insecticides containing diazmon, lindanc, malathion, pyrethrum or resmethrin are suitable. Make sure that due ingredients of an insecticide are listed on its label. One application of the chemical should be enough but repeat the application after 8 days to ensure eradicating ideal conditions for springtails.
4 If your plants are infested with Springtails, you will know as soon as you water them, as these tiny insects will start jumping about on top of the potting mixture.
5 Springtails will thrive in waterlogged soil so always water very carefully and ensure that the plant has good drainage.