Houseplants provide food and shelter for springtails when they hop indoors during the hot seasons. They hide under the leaves and breed in potted plant soil especially if it is always wet. Most springtails on plants look like little white or dark brown jumpy bugs.
To get rid of springtails in houseplants, let the plants dry after watering them. Then spread small amounts of Diatomaceous Earth on the plant leaves and the soil. Move potted plants away from dark areas with no ventilation and remove dropped leaves on top of the soil because springtails can hide under them.
Springtails are not harmful to plants and even though they do not bite, too much of them on indoor plants can be scary for people with entomophobia. They have a spring under their rare abdomen that makes them jump when disturbed and this can be scary.
Causes of springtails to potted houseplants
Potted houseplants in open areas tend to have less infestation when compared to those placed in dark and moist areas. Springtails do not fear light but they love moisture and they will always choose that over anything.
They have a soft delicate body that can easily dry in open areas. They need to hide in cool areas in order to reduce body water loss. Plants release water through tiny pores on their leaves and this keeps them moist all the time. It is the moisture that Springtails need most and that is why they are attracted to plants.
1. Houseplant leaves
Springtails need food to survive, reproduce, and breed. Houseplants provide them with this because they can feed on decaying leaf litter that falls at the base. Rotting and discomposing leaves is enough to sustain them through their life cycle. Springtails can also feed on browning plant leaves that are poorly maintained.
Pilled leaves dropped on the top of the soil provide a good hiding place for, springtails. Humidity accumulated under those leaves keeps them hydrated and this also provides a good cover for those that hide in the soil.
2. Compost manure
Some potted house plants need compost manure to survive. Springtails breed in compost and that is one of their favorite habitats. If you add infested compost to your potted plants, you will have a good number of springtails in them. Those can easily spread to other parts of the house and can be difficult to control.
Composts are made of decaying organic materials which are meant to supply plants with nutrients. Springtails eat dead decaying organic matter and that is why they infest composts in large numbers. It provides them with more than enough food and adding some to your potted plants will invite them indoors.
3. Insects and critters
The presence of other insects in potted plants can encourage those unwanted jumpy bugs to thrive in potted plants. This is because springtails feed on their poop. When those insects and critters execrate on the soil, springtails will eat that and remain active in the soil.
When other tiny insects die in the plant pots, they begin to decay with time. springtails can actively survive on that and that is a plus on their diet. Other pests on house plants can also feed on springtails and that is one reason why you should get rid of them in order to keep those pests away.
4. Over watered plants
Overwatering your potted plants encourages springtails to live in the houseplant’s soil because they will constantly remain wet at the base. The water increases humidity around the plants and this can be easy for them to pick once they get indoors.
Too much water on the soil can also make the leaves fall off after some time. The unhealthy leaves will rot and decompose at the base and springtails feed on those. The stems will also become extra soft and this can make the plants bend towards the ground. The leaves cover the soil and provide a good living environment for those pests.
5. Water sources
Potted houseplants in the washrooms are likely to get springtails from the bathroom drains and sink. Those tiny jumpy bugs love damp areas and they will not spare your decorative pants in there. IF you notice an infestation, keep the plants away from the bathroom until all the bugs in it are treated.
Springtails in pools can also spread and live in plants around the pool area. In most cases, potted plants are kept around swimming pools to give them a natural look. The high moisture levels from the pool settle on the leaves and this can attract all sorts of bugs that thrive in humid soil and plants.
How to get rid of springtails in houseplants
It is important to know how to water your plants to avoid excessive water that keeps them damp and moist. It is the high humidity levels that attract springtails to houseplants. Moderate watering that does not leave houseplants with stagnant water at the base can help in keeping springtails away.
1. Dry your compost
Healthy compost can help in making your houseplant leaves greener and beautiful. However, they can be a major source of springtail infestation. Bugs in compost can be regulated before adding t to your potted plant’s soil.
To get rid of springtails in compost, dry it out by turning it regularly to provide aeration in its particles. This helps in removing excessive moisture that attracts bugs into it. Avoid excessive mulch in it and add the recommended amount of Diatomaceous Earth as you turn to kill all the springtails in it.
2. Keep the plants aerated
Ensure the plants are positioned in open areas with enough natural light and air circulation. This helps in lowering humidity on the soil and the leaves in general. A dry plant keeps springtails away because they need a humid environment to survive.
Avoid placing the pots in dark areas because plants release water vapor constantly. Those with wide leaves release more water and this keeps the moisture levels high around them. They should be kept in ventilated areas to avoid springtails and other bugs that are afraid of human activities.
3. Watering intervals
Too much water on your plants keeps them moist wet and the soil will always remain damp. The humid conditions around a houseplant attract bugs to it. If you have potted plants in your bedroom, springtails can jump to your bed as a result when they are trying to find new habitats.
If your houseplants are springtail infested, reduce the watering intervals to keep the plant relatively dry until they are all gone. Watering depends on the plant since some need more water than others. However, a constantly we soil means you are overwatering and this can also have a negative impact on the plants’ growth.
4. Keep the plant tidy
A tidy houseplant plant remains well aerated and there will be less humidity around it that can invite springtails to it. Cut unwanted dead leaves on the plant and remove any withered flowers and limps if they are there. That way, the plant remains tidy and even beautiful to look at.
The soil should be kept clean and any dead leaves that fall of from the plants should be removed. Dead insects in the soil should also be scraped off because springtails can feed on them. Turn the soil regularly and check for any bugs in it to avoid unwanted organic materials that attract springtails and other unwanted bugs.
The presence of springtails around houseplants may give your guests a wrong impression of dirt and poor cleaning. When they breed in large numbers, they should be controlled because they can also attract other pests which prey on them. If not controlled, springtails can harm plants if they breed in large numbers.