Recognizing and Treating Springtail Fleas

Springtail fleas do not make their way into your home on your pets. They arrive in swarms when a home has dark, damp areas that have fostered the growth of molds and mildew. Because they mate and reproduce in the wild rather than indoors, they will disappear from your home once you eliminate their preferred environment. Here are several suggestions on how to recognize and treat an invasion of springtail fleas.

How to Recognize Springtail Fleas

Springtail fleas are very small and black with small heads and thoraxes, and a long slender abdomen. They have a whiplike tail-the springtail that folds under their abdomen. They release the springtail when they need to launch quickly into the air to escape from enemies. They have chewing mouths that eat decaying organic matter of all kinds. They do not hibernate or flee from the cold, so in some parts of North America you can see them in the winter on snow near dead leaf drifts.

Find Sources of Dampness in Your Home to Eliminate Springtails

  • Turn on the furnace fan or run a dehumidifier inside your house.
  • Check the water connection to the outside of the house for any drips or leaks.
  • Look at your plumbing pipes throughout the house to spot damp patches or drips, and caulk or plug them immediately.
  • Wipe up and clean any patches of mold or mildew that have developed.

Find and Remove Standing Water and Moisture Collectors in Your Yard

  • Sweep old mulch off the garden, and replace it with a mulch of stones or dry shredded bark.
  • Empty standing water out of any plant pots, containers, buckets or watering cans.
  • Shake off any tarpaulins, barbecue covers, or other similar items where water and dead leaves or grass may collect to prevent mold growth.
  • Remove old wood and yard waste.

Let Sunlight or Artificial Light into the Area

  • Remove shutters or curtains from basement windows near damp areas to discourage springtail fleas from roosting there.
  • Cut away shrubbery that casts shade on damp corners of the patio.

Wash Down Infested Areas

  • Prepare a solution of vinegar and water and wash all affected areas to clean them of mold and mildew spots. If this treatment is not effective, make a stronger cleaning agent out of chlorine bleach and water to scrub the floors, walls or wherever the springtail fleas are concealing themselves.
  • Clean around doorways, window frames and other entry areas as well.

Apply a Pyrethrin-Based Insecticide

  • Should the cleaning treatments not clear out the springtails, use a pyrethrin insecticide around all areas of the house where you have found springtails.
  • Spray it under all sinks near the pipes, and in the basement near the hot-water heater and taps to the washing machine.

In the Garden

Since springtail fleas mate and reproduce outdoors, discourage them from laying eggs in your garden. Sprinkle granules of bifen or diazinon around the flowerbeds, shrubbery roots and in the basement window wells that are closest to the garden to repel the springtails so they will seek a new location to reproduce.