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Home > Bugs > Bugs Found in Yards and Lawns > Springtails and Snowfleas

Springtails and Snowfleas

Springtails are minute wingless insects of the order Collembola that live in a variety of moist habitats. Because of their small size and micro-habitat, they are seldom observed. Springtails are generally considered harmless, but at times large numbers may invade greenhouses, swimming pools or houses to become a nuisance.

Springtails emerge in enormous numbers so they appear as "piles of soot" in driveways, backyards, on mud puddle surfaces, etc. Some are known as "snow fleas," because they appear on the top of snow during late winter and early spring. Springtails are named for the forked structure attached to the underside of the abdomen which acts as a spring to flip them into the air. This behavior gives them the appearance of tiny fleas. Springtails are about 1/16 inch long and vary in color from nearly transparent, to white to dark gray to black. They feed on algae, fungi, and decaying vegetable matter.

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)

 

[Photos, left to right: unknown; Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension; Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org]

 
It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.