Who Are Springtails? Collembolas, Suckers. How To Get Rid Of And Is It Necessary? Photo

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Who Are Springtails? Collembolas, Suckers. How To Get Rid Of And Is It Necessary? Photo
Who Are Springtails? Collembolas, Suckers. How To Get Rid Of And Is It Necessary? Photo

Video: Who Are Springtails? Collembolas, Suckers. How To Get Rid Of And Is It Necessary? Photo

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Video: How to Get Rid of Springtails (4 Easy Steps) 2023, February

These insects are also called fork-tails or collembolans. Some species have a special jumping fork in the lower abdomen (hence the name forks). Legstails feed mainly on decayed plant debris and microorganisms. However, sometimes the tender parts of plants are also encroached upon.

Green smintur, alfalfa flea
Green smintur, alfalfa flea


  • Description of springtail
  • Should I fight springtails?
  • How to recognize collembola?
  • Springtail structure
  • Springtail damage
  • How to deal with springtails?

Description of springtail

Collembolans, or springtails, are extremely widespread, especially in temperate latitudes, there are many of them in the tropics, they are found both in the Arctic and in the Antarctic - wherever there are at least mosses and lichens.

These insects live most often among rotting plant remains and in the surface layer of the soil, but many also live deep in the soil, often penetrating deeper than other animals. Among the collembolans there are those that live on the surface of plants, and there are even films of water that have come to life on the surface.

The number of springtails is also very high. For example, in the soils of forests and meadows, there are often tens of thousands of collembolans per square meter. Collembolans are very diverse both in body shape and in color: as a rule, species that live in the soil and do not leave it, are white, springtails that live on the surface of green plants are greenish, but among dead herbaceous plants living in the forest litter or in felt, along with grayish and brown, brightly colored or metallic shiny species are not uncommon.

Those springtails that live on the surface of the soil can move in a very peculiar way. As already noted, on the lower surface of the posterior end of the abdomen is a special organ that is not found in other arthropods - the so-called "jumping fork". In a calm state, it is bent under the abdomen. By quickly straightening this "fork", the collembola pushes off the object on which it sits and makes a sharp jump.

Springtails holding on the surface of the water (there are some) can bounce, pushing off even from the surface film of water - their body is not wetted by water.

White springtails, which always live in the ground and do not appear on the surface, do not have a "jumping fork"; they can only crawl with the help of short chest legs, often even invisible when viewed from above. Several springtails harms plants as green smintur, or sometimes in a weight eats into juicy roots of greenhouse plants onihiury. Probably, some species harm indirectly, carrying spores of fungi that cause plant diseases.

Leopard Orchesella villosa
Leopard Orchesella villosa

Should I fight springtails?

In general, springtails are not only harmless, but even useful: they promote decomposition, conversion into humus and mineralization of plant residues and, according to modern data, play a very important role in soil formation.

So do not rush to breed springtails with the fury of a tiger, as the chemical may be more harmful to your pet than the springtail itself.

Green smintur, alfalfa flea (Sminthurus viridis)
Green smintur, alfalfa flea (Sminthurus viridis)
Collembola genus Paratullbergia callipygos of the Onychiuridae subfamily
Collembola genus Paratullbergia callipygos of the Onychiuridae subfamily
Collembola Tomocerus vulgaris
Collembola Tomocerus vulgaris

How to recognize collembola?

Springtails range in size from 0.2 mm to 10 mm (very few species). Collembolans prefer a secretive lifestyle in places with high humidity. They live in the soil, under the bark of dead trees, in leaf litter, in cracks in stones. Springtails feed on mycelium of fungi, bacterial blooms, algae, mosses, lichens. Few species can feed on higher plants. Unfortunately, it is with them that flower growers are faced.

Determination of these representatives of the animal world is rather difficult. There are many views on the taxonomy of collembolans, as a result of which many synonymous names are mentioned in the literature.

The small size and secretive lifestyle of springtails make it difficult to study them. The lack of available and complete identification literature on these groups of insects makes it almost impossible to identify springtails by non-professionals.

Fortunately, the biology of soil springtails is quite similar and no precise definition is required. It is enough to know that these are springtails and not to confuse them with other insects (thrips, root worm) and ticks. To develop adequate control measures, if necessary.

Leopard aquatic, or water forks (Podura aquatica)
Leopard aquatic, or water forks (Podura aquatica)

Springtail structure

Leaptails got their name from a special jumping organ (jumping fork) located on the underside of the abdomen. The fork is held by a special hook in the cocked state. If necessary, the fork is released and, hitting the ground, throws the collembola forward and up.

Some species of collembolans have an elongated spindle-shaped body. They are traditionally called podura. The other part is distinguished by a rounded abdomen and a spherical body, they are usually called mints. In a strict sense, this is not entirely correct. Sminthurs are just a part of the springtails with a given, spherical body shape.

Collembola larvae completely repeat the body shape of adults, differing from them only in size and sexual maturity.

The coloration of collembolans (podur and smintur) is very diverse. Most species are whitish, gray, yellowish, or brownish in color, sometimes with a metallic sheen. Representatives of some genera may have a marble pattern, less often one or several transverse stripes. Some sintura may have a clear bit pattern.

When growing indoor plants, the most common podura of white, grayish color, sometimes - with a greenish or silvery-metallic sheen.

Springtail damage

Single damage inflicted by a few suckers cannot do much harm to the plant. Large podura (1-1.5 mm) can inflict real and significant damage only on seedlings. Seedlings at the stage of cotyledon leaf opening are completely eaten by collembolans.

The harm from gouges is also significant in cases where there are too many of them, and the temperature in the room is low. Plants, weakened by adverse conditions, slow down their growth and development and cannot regenerate normally. Multiple damage caused by podura, in such conditions, becomes an open gateway for a wide variety of fungal and bacterial infections, which can not only weaken, but also destroy part of the plants in your collection.

Centipede from the class Symphyla and collembola Poduromorpha
Centipede from the class Symphyla and collembola Poduromorpha

How to deal with springtails?

In volumes with adult plants, there are almost always sugars and it is not necessary to conduct a directed struggle against them with normal agricultural technology. The main measure to combat outbreaks of sugary population can only be the observance of the conditions for correct cultivation of plants.

The substrate should not contain a large number of actively decomposing components (unripe leaves, tea leaves, decorative sawdust). The volumes must have good drainage to prevent stagnation of moisture in the soil. Watering is moderate, as the soil dries. The volume of the pot should correspond to the size of the root system. The place, not occupied in the near future by plant roots, will be occupied by fungi, bacteria, algae, the earth will turn sour, podura will divorce.

The number of sugars remarkably restrains a number of predatory mites, which are also almost always present in the ground.

If there are too many springtails, change the soil to a new one. If history repeats itself, then revise the soil composition and irrigation regime.

In cases where you need to take urgent measures to reduce the number of sugars, you can apply systemic insecticides (Mospilan, Aktara, etc.). It is possible to restrain and somewhat limit the number of podur by adding citramon or askofen to the water for irrigation (half a tablet for 2-3 liters of water).

When sowing seeds of Saintpaulia and streptocarpus, the soil must be thoroughly steamed. The container into which the seeds are sown must be airtight and have no drainage holes accessible to the pest. It is especially important to comply with these requirements when there are few seeds, or the germination of seeds of a given hybrid is very low.

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