Springtails are usually less than 1/8 inch long.
Springtails range from black to silvery gray, depending on the species. The distinctive character is the furcula or tail-like mechanism attached to the tip of the abdomen.
Springtails are so-named because of their sharp projection at the tail end called a furcula. They snap this appendage down on a surface to suddenly spring themselves into the air. Springtails are tiny insects that thrive in damp locations. They live in the soil, in leaf mold, under bark, in decaying logs and on the surface of freshwater pools. When found in structures, their presence may indicate excessive moisture conditions in walls or crawl spaces, under sinks, or around indoor plants. Springtails are harmless to humans, although allergies and dermatitis have been reported in some people sensitive to their presence.
Springtails feed on algae, fungi, and decaying plant materials.
Springtails become active in early spring and may be seen on snow cover, which is why they have often been called snow fleas. They are drawn to water, and commonly appear in vast numbers on the surface of swimming pools, seemingly overnight.
Control of moisture sources is critical in the elimination of this pest.