How to get rid of springtails

heidi_2010May 28, 2010

I have some african violet seeds growing in peat moss from those peat pellets. I think there are springtails inside the container with them. They are tiny little bugs that crawl on top of the soil. Kind of a light brown color and long and thin. And I saw 2 of them jump.

Most of the seeds have already sprouted, will the springtails damage the seedlings?

How can I get rid of them without killing my seedlings? I don't want them spreading to my other plants.

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HI Heidi,
Springtails are harmless and won't hurt your seedlings. I would leave them alone because you may do more damage to them by applying any insecticide.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 1:43PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Sringtails are often gray but if it jumps it is likely springtails.

These are more nuisance than trouble maker. However, they will feed on sprouting seed and roots of tender young plants.

Use diluted bleach as a drench. You may not get 100% control. Use several applications.

I would use a teaspoon of bleach (note: some bleaches are stronger than others)to a 1 cup of warm water. Water plants from the top.

If you had a large outbreak of springtails or a huge collection I would recommend Malathion, one teaspoon per gallon of water. But if the bleach kills them, there is no need for a stronger solution.

(Only one drenching with malathion or with kelthane is necessary to kill the springtails.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 3:26PM
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Thanks Fred and Nancy.
There aren't a lot of them. I have seen like 2 or 3 at a time in the container. I am guessing their eggs must have been in the jiffy peat pellets that I bought. They haven't done any damage to the seedlings.
I still haven't taken the lid of the tray of seedlings. So they can't get out, unless they crawl to the bottom of the tray and out of the drainage holes that I made.
I have thought about using the diluted bleach water but wasn't sure if that would kill the seedlings.
When I repot the seedlings will that get rid of them?
Have you ever tried those Pharm Solutions sprays that are organic? Do those sprays work at all?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 3:45PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Not sure about Pharm Solutions since I have never tried them. I wouldn't see the value if the bleach works. I don't think the bleach would damage the seedlings if it is not too strong to begin with.

Maybe you could find a very cheap bleach and dilute it to 1 teaspoon to 3 cups of water. That shouldn't harm the seedlings but COULD kill the little beasties. If it doesn't work, try a stronger amount a few weeks later.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 9:22PM
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I think I might try the bleach water. But I am going to wait till the seedlings get a little bigger. I only saw 1 springtail in there today and I got it stuck on a piece of tape.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 8:31PM
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Try letting the area simply dry out a bit. Springtails will move on with the lack of moisture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dry out those springtails

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:44PM
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