LifestyleFacing the tiny torment: battle against harmful springtails in your potted plants

Facing the tiny torment: battle against harmful springtails in your potted plants

Springtails - how to get rid of insects from a flowerpot?
Springtails - how to get rid of insects from a flowerpot?
Images source: © Adobe Stock | H.T. Kirk
2:18 AM EST, January 24, 2024

Often, we overlook inconspicuous insects. However, if you are a plant enthusiast, you realize that microscopic insects should not be trifled with. In addition to spider mites, mealybugs, or thrips, springtails also threaten plants.

What do springtails look like?

Springtails are insects most commonly found in pots and gardens. They are reminiscent of tiny commas in white, black, or brown shades. Their sizes range between 0.08 to 0.2 inches, and based on the species, they have a body part that enables them to jump. Nearly 10,000 varieties of springtails exist worldwide, with around 500 specific to Poland. Despite their slight dimensions, these insects can cause considerable damage. Nevertheless, they can be effectively controlled using easily accessible home remedies.

Their name springs from their ability to leap 20 times their body length. Although springtails are small and pose no danger to humans, they can present a significant threat to potted plants.

How do springtails harm plants?

Springtails favor compost and fertile soils. Hence, they might already be present in the soil when purchased. They are drawn to dead organic material, lichens, or soil rich in organic compounds.

Springtails are not harmful to plants in small quantities. However, a problem emerges when these insects begin to multiply rapidly. Without appropriate food in the soil, they start attacking plants. As omnivorous insects, springtails quickly move from one plant to another.

How can you combat springtails?

If you encounter springtails in your houseplants, several methods can be employed. One of the more popular ones is spraying baking soda or sprinkling cinnamon over the soil. It may also be beneficial to consider changing the substrate entirely.

Another efficient technique is immersing the plant in a bathtub filled with water for around 2-3 hours, which enables the removal of springtails from the water's surface. After drying the plant, replant it in a pot with fresh soil.

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