What do springtails look like?
Springtails (Collembola) are houseplant pests. They are among the most common insects appearing in plant pots. Although the name usually refers to small white bugs, you should know there are over 300 varieties of these pests - and particular types look different from each other. Their quick movements are their most characteristic trait. Therefore, the name is not a coincidence - springtails literally jump around plant containers.
Are springtails bad or good for plants?
In their natural habitat, springtails aren’t always considered pests. Thanks to their presence and digestion processes, the soil gets enriched in humus. Unfortunately, when they appear in plant pots, they begin to multiply very fast. The organic material they feed on is insufficient for them, and they move onto the healthy parts of the plant - the leaves, the stem, and often the roots as well. If the infestation is extensive, the plant will die back in a matter of weeks.
What do springtails look like?
Springtails aren’t difficult to diagnose. As already mentioned, they are visible to the naked eye. You should quickly realize you have a problem. Other symptoms of springtails include:
- damaged leaves,
- withered stems,
- dry plant parts.
Note that the mentioned issues appear if the infestation is extensive. You can avoid them by observing the plants regularly.
Where do springtails come from?
In nature, springtails live in soil, e.g. in gardens. They aren’t likely to spread onto household plants, unless you do it yourself through repotting them. Using soil from the garden instead of a store bought potting mix is a perfect recipe for a disaster.
It rarely happens, but it’s possible to purchase a plant with springtails already present in the soil. That’s why you should buy plants from trusted sources only, when you can be sure they are free from any pests.
How to get rid of springtails in soil?
Springtail removal method depends mostly on how complicated the problem is. If you observe your houseplants regularly, and you’ve noticed several small jumping bugs in the soil, you will probably benefit from home pest remedies.
If it’s a real infestation, don’t hesitate to use chemical products. It’s also recommended to repot the plant in new soil - purchased in a gardening store, of course.
Garlic springtail insecticide - a proven home remedy
Garlic is a human’s powerful ally - not only against bacteria, but also plant pests. All you have to do is prepare a special brew with this ingredient, then dilute it in water and spray onto the plant, as well as the soil’s outer layer. The mixture is quick and easy to make.
- Divide a garlic bulb into cloves, peel them and grate on a grater.
- Put the garlic in a medium-sized dish and pour cold water over it.
- Wait 30-40 minutes.
- Strain the liquid using e.g. a gauze.
Mix the garlic brew with water 1:1.
Springtails in soil - use cinnamon
As it turns out, your kitchen contains many useful products that can help you fend off the plant pests. Cinnamon is one of them, as it effectively removes springtails from plant containers.
There are two ways you can use cinnamon for this purpose. You can:
- sprinkle the spice over the outer layer of the soil,
- make a cinnamon spray (add 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to a liter of water and leave the mixture overnight).
Use either of the methods twice a week until the jumping springtail bugs no longer infest your plant.
Baking soda for springtails - a good idea!
Baking soda is an absolutely universal product which can help you in many emergencies. Using it, you can wash a burnt pot, clean an oven or whiten lace curtains. As it turns out, it’s also a great springtail insecticide.
If you want to make a special solution for spraying or wiping the plant, prepare the following products:
- 1 teaspoon of soda,
- 1 liter of warm water,
- a bit of dish soap,
- a few drops of vegetable oil.
Mix everything thoroughly, and, depending on the preferred method, use the mixture as a spray, or soak a soft cloth in it and wipe the plant.
Springtails can live in soil, so make sure to use another method alongside this one - at least initially. Thanks to this, you can be sure all the pests are removed.
Springtails treatment - use chemical insecticides
Perhaps the springtail infestation on a plant is so extensive that natural remedies aren’t effective. In this case, you have to take more serious steps and use chemical products. Mild insecticides are perfect for this purpose. Some of them are for spraying the plant, others - for watering (of course, after diluting them in water using the proportions as instructed by the manufacturer).
Chemical products can be purchased both in physical and online gardening stores. When picking a springtail insecticide, check whether it’s designed for all plants or just for specific ones.
Springtail stick insecticides
Stick insecticides are an alternative for liquid products which fight against plant pests. They should be inserted in soil and gradually release substances harmful to springtails. Because of the easy application and no need to remember to use them regularly (only once every few weeks), it’s one of the most popular ways of getting rid of springtails.
📍 What are springtails?
Springtails are small houseplant pests. White springtails are the most common ones. Their movements are quite characteristic - as the name suggests, they resemble jumping.
📍 Where do springtails come from?
Springtails normally live in soil. They might appear in houseplants especially if you use soil from the garden for repotting. A plant can also get infected already in the store.
📍 How to remove springtails?
There are many proven methods of removing springtails. Home remedies might be effective - you can use cinnamon, garlic and baking soda. If natural methods don't work, consider using chemical insecticides - liquids and sticks.
📍 What's the best for springtail infestation?
A quick reaction is the most important part of fighting with a springtail infestation - you have to prevent them from multiplying. Use any method that is available to you - as quickly as possible. This way, removing springtail bugs is easier, and you can save your plant.