springtails biting in home


Dear Jonathan,

We think we have springtails in our house and on us. We feel them crawling and biting. They are in our furniture, carpet, and car. A friend of a friend had a similar problem a year ago, and they were told it was springtails. She eventually moved, put her stuff in storage, and used a product called Allstop on her body. She is clear now. But the landlord and neighbor (duplex) still lives there and has not gotten rid of them yet.

I have sprayed our carpet with the described Bifen and our car. We have used a number of pesticides including ultracide. And have been treated for scabies. They seem to be getting worse. I know all articles say they don’t bother humans but they are. We did a heat treatment on our home that helped for about a week. Have you heard of this before?

First, I have heard of this before. Springtails can invade in the thousands and during these mass migrations we have received reports of them getting on people and pets. They get their name from the way they move and this “springing” action can feel like a “bite” when executed on the skin of a person. But I’m not so sure springtails are involved here. I say this because the first sentence of your message reads “we think we have springtails…”. The keyword here is think. Anyone that has springtails will see them. And in most cases, they are seeing them in the thousands as described in this prior post:


The bottom line is an active infestation of springtails would be obvious. Additionally, treating the inside open areas of the home and car as you have done would not help if in fact you did have springtails. As described in our SPRINGTAIL CONTROL ARTICLE, you need to treat the source of the problem if you wish to control this pest and ultimately keep them from entering the home. So, if springtails aren’t the cause of your discomfort, what is?

There are many possible sources of your discomfort. And don’t limit your options to just insects; there are plenty of other variables and “environmental” situations that can cause the type of reactions you describe. Allergens in the house from a rug, fabric, pet or plant can cause the symptoms you describe. So too can a change in air quality such as running the heat instead of the AC. I’ve had customers get these symptoms from food, clothing detergent, the fabric of their clothes as well as their soap or shampoo used when bathing. Even pesticides or cleaning compounds in minute amounts can irritate the skin. My point is there are many possible contributors when it comes to feeling skin “sensations” described as “biting” or “crawling”. Remember, the skin condition is merely a reaction or visible symptom; the cause could be any one of many variables in the home or any other location you spend time.

Lastly, before you do any random spraying, I suggest you first identify a legitimate target pest. The best way to do this for now would be to install some GLUE TRAP MONITORS around the home. Place 1-2 in every room. Inspect them daily to see what they catch. If you note several insects appearing in several boards, get them identified. This could very well help to identify an insect present that can be treated. Another good “monitoring” tool is our HEAT TRAP. This device uses light/heat to attract biting pests and several of traps placed out can be helpful in luring nuisance pests to be captured. Mostly used for fleas, this “heat” attracting design can lure other insects nd may provide some clues in your case as to what is foraging about the home. For now, I suggest you install both and if either starts to collect some insects, a viable treatment program can be implemented once we know what the insect is you catch. Give us a call on our toll free 1-800-877-7290 if you have further questions and here are direct links for all the information posted above:

Springtail Control Article:  http://www.bugspray.com/article/springtail.html

Glue Traps: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/glue/mouse-glueboard-5-x-8

Heat Trap: http://www.bugspraycart.com/752587000019-flea-trap

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