Our house has a problem with springtails. These little pests have been around since we moved into the place seven years ago. I guess the previous owner “forgot” to tell us about this problem. They are only at the back of our house which has many fine trees, mostly hickory nut, lots of shade and a very large wood deck that is close to the ground. You cannot really get under the deck with anything, but the leaves will blow through there and because of that side of the house does not get a lot of sun due to its position and the many trees that shade the area. Therefore, there is a lot of moisture that I cannot do anything to eliminate it other than cut down all the trees and remove the deck…not going to happen.
I went through two different exterminators before they finally identified what these buggers are. However, three of the country’s top exterminators could not solve the issue. The springtails like to come into the area of our kitchen where there is all the windows and the floor is actually cantilevered beyond the foundation.
I found a product a few years ago made by Ortho that was a granular product for bugs including springtails. One application in the spring around the perimeter of our home and once in the fall, I never had the problem again until, Ortho pulled the product. I have tried other brands of granule’s that say they will take care of Springtails…well, no, they don’t work. The only thing that I do is keep spraying the window sills and widow casings with some white vinegar which kills a batch of them at a time.
My question for you is, I watched your video which made a lot of sense except for the fact that some of the products are not allowed to be shipped to New York. In reading the information on the alternatives, none of the lists of bugs on the labels include springtails. So, what am I to use effectively as the alternative? Do your alternative products still kill and prevent the springtails? I really wish I had the Ortho product again.
Thanks for your help.
First, I don’t expect that you’ll be able to find many products that actually say springtails on the label. This is because springtails out in the yard rarely present an immediate problem so the manufacturers don’t think to include them on what is essentially a limited amount of space on any one products printed label. That being said, there is no need to fret. In fact springtails are amongst the easiest pests to kill and any of our concentrates or granules will work effectively on them. The key to solving the problem is to get them where they are nesting and based on the information you provided, it sounds like this is the back yard which is damp and well protected.
Second, treating the “symptom” of the problem (an example of a symptom would be springtails on the window sills) won’t do anything but kill the few you see. The fact is there are countless thousands – maybe millions – breeding down in the soil and as long as you allow this level to swell and expand, you’ll always be inundated by the massive migrations that will happen peridocially during any one calendar year. Though the spring and summer months are when they are most likely to migrate, springtails are hard at work eating and breeding year round. To solve the current infestation, you’ll need to get them where it will hurt them the most and this will be in the very soil that is both harboring and breeding the local population.
Now the bad news. Given the moist conditions and one you state cannot be reduced or “dried”, I’m not sure you’ll ever be able to stop them completely. Springtails thrive in moisture. In fact, if you could remove or stop all the moisture in the area, they would immediately die and be gone without the need for any chemicals to be applied. Accomplishing this probably isn’t an option but understand that the same moisture which allows them to live and breed is also hard at work breaking down and destroying any chemical applied to the area. My point is that moisture is clearly the enemy here. It both breeds the springtails and kills the chemicals being applied to control the springtails. In such areas, the only way to effectively control the springtails will be a continuous regime of treatments. In other words, you’ll need to treat over and over to solve your problem due to the shortened length of protection you get from your effort. This is all a direct result of the moisture issue but one that can be conquered with patience and perserverence.
This extra attention I’m talking about will the relentless treatment of the soil around the home with both a granule and a liquid. Monthly treatments made to these areas will undoubtedly help and eventually control the seemingly never ending supply of springtails. But these treatments will need to be done monthly, from March or April through to October, every year, till you don’t see anymore invasive springtail activity and are happy with the level of control you’ve achieved. This repeated level of treating will help get the products down into the soil several inches which will begin to impact the springtails where they are living and breeding. It will also effectively “contaminate” the food supply for them which is the organic by-products of rotting leaves, grass and other plant life springtails need along with the high level of moisture. By knocking the down and not allowing them to replenish their population, you’ll eventually reduce their numbers so much that you won’t see any on or in the home.
Lastly, if you have any slabs that are attached to the home on the backside of the house, getting some liquid product underneath it will be needed. As explained in our SPRINGTAIL CONTROL ARTICLE, drilling and treating the slab like a termite job is usually the best way to accomplish this task. Slabs breed springtails as do all the leaves you mentioned so by removing as much of the organic matter (leaves, mulch, grass clippings, etc) is a big help and strongly suggested. In fact, grass clippings are one of the main contributors to springtails so if you aren’t bagging your clippings or removing the leaves, start doing so ASAP.
Lastly, in place of the Bifen Granules, you can get our CYFLUTHRIN GRANULES. Apply them monthly to the soil in the back yard and the sides of the home during the months listed above. After they’re applied, spray with CYONARA RTS over the top. Do this monthly and I’m sure you’ll find the problem will be greatly reduced next year even though you only have time for 1-2 treatments this year. And if you continue to treat next year all spring and summer, by the end of 2010 you should have the problem mostly if not completely controlled. If you have further questions, please give us a call on our toll free 1.800.877.7290.