springtails

barbararose21101December 29, 2013

My Worm Inn has springtails. The tub bin doesn't. Interesting in itself since everything else is more or less the same. Both bins are more homogenous than most bins because my shredder makes confetti and I break down the food in a processor,( or a blender if I'm adding egg shell). There aren't any big pieces of anything . . . mostly for esthetic reasons.
I think the worms would be happier with egg carton, corrugated cardboard, and coffee filters. I'll do one of those in the Spring, outside.

Consensus seems to be that springtails -- which , without magnification, look like white thread the size of the eye of a small embroidery needle -- are beneficial unless rampant or excess. Magnified sufficiently for recognition,, they have a lot of tiny legs and wiggle around. There is/are a variety of springtails,

From http://www1.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/springtails/

These insects are very small, commonly between 1/16th and 1/8th inch long. They have moderate length antennae and are usually slender, elongate insects, although there is a group of springtails that is round and stout. Most springtails are dark-colored, brown, grey or black although some species are white, and some are even iridescent and brightly colored.

The tiny white ones are (I think) folsomia candida.

Even so I am removing some. I have a piece of denim for moisture retention in the Worm Inn. Springtails gather on that. I rinsed them off, once a day in a rain barrel. They aggregated and float. Just for amusement, I put banana peels on the top of the bed. They gathered like iron to a magnet,
forming a fringe on the edge and a peel pattern of themselves underneath.

I envy the poster with a microscope that takes pictures.
My camera might if I knew how . I tried some Macro shots
but got nothing worth posting.

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equinoxequinox

The Worm Inn that has springtails just sounds a whole lot luckier than the tub bin that doesn't.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Mooshy

I have springtails in one of my flow through bins but the other two there are none. springtails I find no problem with and as everything else in the ecosystem they help with the breakup of food.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:10AM
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11otis

Thanks for the info bbrr21101
Just to make sure I got it right: It is OK for Springtails to get into vegetable gardens?
I have 3 mini bins (3 gal buckets) that are full of springtails and the worms stay deep down and they are smaller than the ones in other bins.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:52AM
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barbararose21101

Truth be told I don't know. I'll do a little extracurricular research just for fun. Consensus on this site seems to be that they are harmless to helpful detrivores. EQ2 likes 'em. ; )

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:59AM
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pskvorc(3)

Like equinixequinox, I do not KNOW what the truth is with respect to springtails and Eisenia fetida culture OR gardens, but just to add another rock to the pile, the local expert told us in her seminar on vermicomposting that springtails have no impact on the worm bin.

Paul

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:48PM
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barbararose21101

The site was slow so I got more than 5 minutes of kitty videos.
I checked out from the library, Mary Appelhof's book Worms Eat My Garbage, again. I read it before I began my first bin. I thought I'd see how it compared to learning since and to my experience.

She supports the site consensus that springtails are beneficial.
They are Collembola. Collembola are "important producers of humus and considered to be among the most important soil organisms."

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:25PM
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pskvorc(3)

I am almost certain that I inoculated my bins with springtails (Collembola), and pot worms (Enchytraeids), from the leaves that I introduced into my indoor bins. ("My" springtails are, by the way, white as the driven snow.) Both the Collembola and Enchytraeids seem to be doing REAL well in my indoor, plastic bins. I'm figuring out ways to harvest both to use as fish food. Right now I do not have an efficient method. I may have to try banana peels.

I have no more 'data' that I did in my first post in this thread, but I THINK springtails are a "good thing". I am forming this opinion based on another opinion that I believe worms don't eat ANYTHING that isn't 'broken down' first by something else - like mold, bacteria, Collembola, or Enchytraeids. Therefore, if they work at breaking stuff down into something worms 'like', I 'like' them. If I can turn them into fish food without too much trouble, I'll like them even more.

Paul

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:51PM
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