I have a springtail problem in my guest bathtub and shower. How are they getting up through the drain pipe and what can I use to stop the invasion? My house is a slab so I can’t treat underneath anything. Thanks.
Slab houses are subject to direct invasions from many insects because they are literally right on top of the ground. When slab homes are built, there are several key entry points which lend themselves to problems. These locations include the spots where pipes enter. These spots are almost under sinks, bath tubs and shower stalls.
The location where the pipes pass through is commonly referred to as a “trap”. Many times the trap is a small square opening in the concrete. When the concrete is poured, this opening is intentionally created to allow the pipes to be serviced in case they become damaged. To form the square hole, the builder will leave a wood frame sitting around the pipes to hold off the loose concrete when it’s poured. The end result is a square opening that can measure one or two feet wide and is mostly square through which the hot and cold water lines will run as well as the drain line from the sink or tub. If the wood is left in the concrete, it can be a real problem in that many insects like termites will find the wood attractive. But other insects will use the opening as a gateway inside. No doubt one of the common insects to do this are springtails.
If you read our SPRINGTAIL CONTROL article, you’ll learn this pest lives in the ground. Thriving on organic matter, springtails love rich fertile soil and will live comfortably under mulch, grass clippings, pine straw and other ground cover. It’s usually the top 1-2 feet of soil that harbors the population and nests can be quite huge sometimes spanning an acre or more. At certain times of the year – particularly after heavy rainfall – springtails will migrate attempting to avoid the excessive moisture. It’s during these migrations when they’ll enter homes and make themselves visible.
Now if you’ve been doing pest control around the outside of the home with lawn granules and spraying the foundation, it’s quite possible they won’t find their way close to the structure. In these cases homeowners will be spared the invasion. But if you haven’t been treating and you have a slab home, it’s quite likely some will start appearing inside the home. As the mass migration encounters the slab, they’ll come up around the perimeter of the house, up the siding and onto front porches, decks and patios. Some will go under the slab looking for a place to escape and these are the ones commonly seen in sink and bath tub areas.
To stop the invasion, you’ll need to start treating the yard with BIFEN GRANULES. Over time they’ll control the springtails living in the soil underneath the treated turf. You should treat an area at least 10 feet away from the foundation with the intention of creating a springtail free zone or buffer area. In some cases larger areas must be treated. You should also spray over the top with something like the CYONARA RTS. This will provide a quick kill and help to reduce the immediate problem. Cyonara will also get the Bifen activated which is needed for long term control. But it’s important to realize the springtails you’re seeing in the home are the net result of a long term accumulation and only after some time will your treatments affect enough of them to where numbers will be significantly reduced. In other words, just because you treat you should not expect your home to be free of them any time soon. It will definitely take some time.
Inside the home you should attempt to spray any bathroom or sink traps you might have and then seal them up with some mortar or light cement. This seal will help keep out the invading springtails but if you don’t do the outside treatments, they’ll many times find other ways in. Remember, cement will crack and these cracks will become major routes of entry. Such cracks many times happen along foundation walls and under partition walls. If you’re seeing springtails inside the home around certain walls, a good treatment under the slab may be needed as explained in our article.
Here are direct links to the information and products mentioned above:
Springtail Control: http://www.bugspray.com/article/springtail.html
Bifen Granules: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page719.html
Cyonara RTS: http://www.bugspray.com/item/cyonara_rts.html