Video: Collembolas. Small White Worms. Up To A Millimeter Long. Insect Pests. Legs. Control Methods
We've got small white worms up to a millimeter long in our greenhouse. At first glance, it seems that all the beds are sprinkled with semolina. As soon as we tried to get rid of them! The soil was sprayed with dichlorvos, watered with a solution of potassium permanganate and even creolin.
The worms our reader writes about belong to the order of the springtails (collembole). Collembolans appeared on Earth much earlier than insects and higher plants, therefore they adapted to feed on algae, mushrooms, lichens. Most often they live among the rotting remains of the plant and in the surface layer of the soil, but they can climb deeper. Less often they live on plants and in water bodies.
Soil species are white; those that live on green plants are greenish; in forest litter - grayish and brown; there are brightly colored or with a metallic sheen. The body length of the worm is 1 mm. The head has antennae and eyes on the sides. Three pairs of legs allow you to actively move on the surface, and even jump thanks to the "fork" under the abdomen. Ground-dwelling white collembolans do not have a "jumping fork"; they can only crawl with their short chest legs.
Collembolans breed in a peculiar way. Males deposit spermatophores in the form of droplets (seminal fluid) on the stems. Females capture spermatophores with their genital openings and, after fertilization, lay eggs in humid places. Small collembolans, similar to adults, emerge from the eggs.
Collembolans are not embarrassed by a cold snap, they are active even in frozen soil, and the development of eggs does not stop until plus 2-3 °.
Are collembolans harmful? Yes and no.
On the one hand, the livelihoods of collembolans enrich the soil. They feed on decaying organic residues, bacteria, animal excrement. In the north, it is they who destroy fallen leaves, enriching the soil with nutrients.
However, there are also such representatives of white collembolans that eat into the succulent roots of plants. Undoubtedly, they oppress plants both in the greenhouse and in the garden. Hence the crop losses.
What to advise? Considering that the development of collembola eggs is possible only in a humid environment and they are very sensitive to drying out, try to dry the soil in the process of partial replacement in the greenhouse (in a baking sheet on a fire or on iron sheets in the sun).
Author: A. Runkovsky, biologist.