Springtails

 

Greenhouse Pest Springtail

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Collembola: Entomobryidae, Orchesella cincta,

Springtails are minute, wingless insects that get their name from the fact that they have an unusual locomotor organ. The main locomotor organ is a forked, tail-like structure (called a furcula) which is folded forward under the abdomen when the insect is at rest.

The usual habitat of these small insects is in soil of woodlands, in decaying vegetative matter, or on the surface of stagnant water. They are mostly innocuous creatures and go usually unnoticed. Most soil-inhabiting Springtails feed on decaying plant material, fungi and bacteria. They tend to thrive in an environment that is moist or high in humidity. While they do not injure living plants they can become a nuisance in greenhouses infesting decaying organic matter and infesting soil of potted plants..

Because these insects do not cause any real injury, a person faced with a Springtail infestation can try to reduce the population by eliminating moisture and humidity in the area that they are found. Outside, they cause no problem and are an important component of the ecosystem.

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