Springtails in Turf


Springtails belong to a primitive order (Collembola) of insects where the adults have no wings. These tiny insects are called springtails because they have a unique structure which allows them to jump for a considerable distance considering their size. Springtails are very common and abundant native insects found all over the world in many ecosystems. They are seldom observed because of their small size and the fact that most of them live in concealed habitats. They range from the size of a flea to several times larger. Most species live in the soil or in leaf mold, under bark and decaying logs, thatch, mulch, etc. They are sometimes found on the media surface of potted plants and in greenhouses. A few species have been suggested pests in greenhouses, mushroom cellars, or on certain crops in other parts of the world, but most of the time springtails are harmless. As decomposers, they are important to the garden and yard ecology.

Written By

Photo of Rick Brandenburg, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Rick BrandenburgExtension Specialist (Peanuts & Turf) & Department Extension Leader (919) 515-8876 rick_brandenburg@ncsu.eduEntomology & Plant Pathology - NC State University
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