Our experienced team of editors and researchers contributed to this article and tested it for accuracy and completeness.
The number of sources used in this article is 10. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
The wikiHow content management team carefully monitors the work of editors to ensure that each article meets our high quality standards.
Collembolans, also known as footstails, are harmless parasites belonging to the class of arthropods. They do not pose a particular threat, but if you want to get rid of them, there are several ways to do this.
Nailtails and Collembolas: species living in the soil and not leaving it.
These insects are also called thymus tails or collembolans. Some species in the lower abdomen have a special jumping fork (hence the name for the fork). Nail tails feed mainly on decayed plant debris and microorganisms. However, sometimes they also encroach on the delicate parts of plants.
Description of the Tail
Collembolans, or footstails are extremely widespread, especially in temperate latitudes, there are many of them in the tropics, they are found in the Arctic and Antarctic - wherever there are at least mosses and lichens.
It is interesting!Collembolas, or nails (Collembola) Is a subclass of arthropods, in the modern classification it is classified as secretive. Currently, scientists have described more than 8 thousand types of collembolas.
These insects live most often among rotting plant debris and in the surface soil layer, but many live deep in the soil, often penetrating deeper than other animals. Among the collembolas there are those that live on the surface of plants, and there are even films of water that have passed to life on the surface.
The number of springtails is also very large. For example, in the soils of forests and meadows, there are often tens of thousands of collembolas per square meter. Collembolans are very diverse in both body shape and color: as a rule, species living in the soil and not leaving it, white, foottails that live on the surface of green plants, are greenish, but among those living in forest litter or in the felt are dead grass plants , along with grayish and brown, often brightly colored or metallic shiny species.
Those nails that live on the surface of the soil can move very peculiarly. As already noted, on the lower surface of the posterior end of the abdomen there is a special organ not found in other arthropods - the so-called “jumping fork”. In a calm state, it is bent under the abdomen. Quickly straightening this “fork”, the collembol pushes off the object on which it sits and makes a sharp jump.
The nails that are kept on the surface of the water (there are some) can bounce, pushing off even from the surface film of water - their body is not wetted by water.
White nails who always live in the ground and do not appear on the surface, do not have a “jumping fork”, they can only crawl with the help of short chest legs, often even invisible when viewed from above. A series of springtails harm plants like green smintour, or sometimes in bulk eating greenhouse roots of juicy roots onihiurs. Some species are likely to harm indirectly by spreading spores of fungi that cause plant diseases.
Do I have to fight with tails?
On the whole, springtails are not only harmless, but even useful: they contribute to the decomposition, transformation into humus and mineralization of plant residues and, according to modern data, play a very important role in soil formation. So do not rush to bring out the tails with the fury of a tiger, as a chemical may be more harmful to your pet than the nails.
How to learn collembola?
The size of springtails varies from 0.2 mm to 10 mm (very few species). Collembolans prefer a secretive lifestyle in places with high humidity. They live in the soil, under the bark of dead trees, in leaf litter, in cracked stones. The nails are fed with mycelium of fungi, bacterial plaque, algae, mosses, lichens. Only a few species can eat higher plants. Unfortunately, it is with them that flower growers come across.
The definition of these representatives of the animal world is quite difficult. There are many views on the systematics of collembolas, as a result of which many synonyms are mentioned in the literature.
The small size and secretive way of life of the tails makes it difficult to study them. The lack of an accessible and complete definitive literature on these groups of insects makes it almost impossible for laytails to be defined by lay people.
Fortunately, the biology of soil nailstail is quite similar and their exact determination is not required. It is enough to know that these are nails and do not confuse them with other insects (thrips, root mealybug) and ticks. To develop adequate control measures, if necessary.
Aquatic Nailtail, or Aquatic Forktail (Podura aquatica).
Nail tails got their name thanks to a special hopping organ (hopping fork) located on the underside of the abdomen. The fork is held by a special hook in the cocked state. If necessary, the fork is released and, hitting the ground, throws the collembole forward and up. Some types of collembolas have an elongated, fusiform body shape. They are traditionally called fools. The other part is distinguished by a rounded abdomen and a spherical body, they are usually called smintura. In the strict sense, this is not entirely correct. Sintures are only part of the nails that have a given, spherical shape of the body.
Collembole larvae completely repeat the body shape of adult individuals, differing from them only in size and maturity.
The color of the colembol (podur and smintur) is very diverse. Most species are whitish, gray, yellowish, or brownish in color, sometimes with a metallic sheen. Representatives of some genera may have a marble pattern, less often - one or more transverse stripes. Some cmintures may have a clear bitmap.
When growing indoor plants, podurs are most often white, grayish in color, sometimes with a greenish, or silver-metallic sheen.
Harm from the Tails
Single damage caused by a few fools can not cause much damage to the plant. Large podury (1-1.5 mm) can cause real and substantial damage only to seedlings. Shoots at the stage of opening of the cotyledon leaves are eaten completely by the collembolas.
Green sintur, alfalfa flea.
The harm from fools is also significant in cases where there are too many of them, and the temperature in the room is low. Plants weakened by adverse conditions slow down their growth and development and cannot regenerate normally. Multiple injuries caused by fools under such conditions become an open gate for a wide variety of fungal and bacterial infections that can not only weaken, but also destroy some of the plants in your collection.
How to get rid of nails
In volumes with adult plants, there are almost always gadgets and there is no need to conduct a directed struggle against them under normal agricultural technology. The main measure to combat outbreaks of the number of podur can only be compliance with the conditions of proper agricultural techniques for growing plants.
The substrate should not contain a large number of actively decomposing components (unripe leaves, tea leaves, decorative sawdust). The volumes should have good drainage, preventing stagnation of moisture in the soil. Watering is moderate, as the soil dries. The volume of the pot should match the size of the root system. A place not taken up in the near future by plant roots will be occupied by fungi, bacteria, algae, the land will turn sour, and the fools will divorce.
The number of podur remarkably inhibits a number of predatory mites, which are also almost always present in the ground.
If there are too many springtails, change the ground for a new one. If the story repeats, then review the soil composition and watering regime.
In cases where you need to take urgent measures to reduce the number of podura, you can apply systemic insecticides (Mospilan, Aktara, etc.). It is possible to restrain and somewhat limit the number of podur by adding citramon or ascofen (half a tablet to 2-3 liters of water) in water for irrigation.
Millipede from the Symphyla class and Poduromorpha collembola.
When sowing seeds of Saintpaulia and streptocarpus, the soil must be carefully steamed. The container in which the seeds are sown must be airtight and not have drainage openings accessible to the pest. It is especially important to comply with these requirements when there are few seeds, or the germination capacity of the seeds of this hybrid is very small.
Let's start with the terminology. Otherwise, collembolans are called podura or footstails. They relate to insects of the maxillofacial class. They count more than eight thousand studied species, and they appeared on Earth, it is terrible to say, already in the Devonian period, and that was about 420 million years ago.
They cannot boast of large sizes, their usual length is from one to five millimeters, although among them there are dwarfs with a tenth of a millimeter in length, and giants that grow to seventeen.
Outfit can be externally divided into two pronounced groups:
- The group of elongated collembolas is distinguished by an elongated, sometimes worm-like, arthropod body. Such shaggy worms, in a word.
- Group of spherical bellied collembolas. On top resemble small turtles.
Interesting! Having written these lines and re-read them, I felt myself in the role of the respected Nikolai Nikolaevich Drozdov, whom I wish you long life!
The color of the colembole is diverse, it is easier not to name a color than to list everything. In addition to plain colors, there are species with stripes or dots on the body.
In many ways, the benefit or harm of a creature depends on what they feed on. If a mosquito drinks blood, it is clear that it is a harmful insect, but what about collembola?
This is where the first inconsistencies with the declared pest essence begin. The fact is that the basis of the ration of the tails is mostly dead organics. Biologists list such food objects inherent in fools:
Only some types of collembol are capable of digesting the living organic tissue of higher plants.
On a note! Colleagues do not bite people and animals!
As for the vital area of collembol, we can say that you can meet this insect almost everywhere. Some species even adapted to glide over the water surface. But most springtails live on dead wood of fallen trees or hemp, in forest litter, under the mulch in the garden. The main thing is that there is increased humidity, dryness, these insects tolerate very poorly.
It is especially good to watch the kolembolas on a clear sunny day, when they crawl to the surface and like a herd of cows graze on their territory.
At the bottom of the abdomen, the nailstail has a so-called jumping fork. This organ is attached to the abdomen in a calm state, however, during danger, it abruptly straightens like a spring, and the insect takes off, as if thrown up by a catapult, to a height of five to ten centimeters.
Another organ, the abdominal tube, allows you to land the nails. It is located closer to the animal’s head, and so after jumping, when landing, the collembole emits a little sticky substance from this tube and sticks to the surface.
Benefit and harm
The time has come to make arguments for and against collembolas. There is something in us people that makes us pounce and kill even the most harmless creatures just because we don’t like our appearance, or accidentally crossed our path. All of the above applies to the nails - these are completely harmless creatures.
However, there is a problem, and it must be solved, so first we describe the negative side of this insect.
It is not the threat to be bitten or the danger to our edibles that makes us fight against collembola. No, this is ordinary disgust, which some people can panic.
Of course, it’s unpleasant if you find a herd of collembol in your apartment. Instead of just collecting them and throwing them into the street, we will begin to fight them.
The most favorite places in our house for nails, of course, are damp rooms: corners of the kitchen under the sink, corners under the plumbing in the bathroom. Particular accumulations are observed in places of leaks. There, under constant droplets of water, a mold forms - the favorite food of fools.
The appearance of collembolas in a radiant clean bathroom is perceived by people as something terrible, and the hand itself reaches for the bottle with "Dichlorvos" or other similar means.
The second case of sabotage can be observed on indoor plants. Here, the nails can crawl through the soil in a pot, and especially the sassy individuals even try to bite the leaves. Of course, here it is necessary to take measures to destroy.
Before you begin to struggle with collembola, even as part of a separate article, we will talk about how these amazing creatures still benefit. Here we can observe two sides of the usefulness of the insect.
Firstly, eating tons of dead organics, collembolans turn it into the very substance that all gardeners and gardeners adore - into humus. The feces of these insects are almost ready food for microorganisms, and the products of subsequent decay are already absorbed by our plants. Therefore, the more various small creatures in your garden, we mean not only collembol, The faster dead organics will earn to increase soil fertility.
The second benefit of collembolas is their use as feed for aquarium fish, reptiles or amphibians. Special sites for lovers of exotic fish even describe the methods of breeding nails, as they say, "for livestock feed." They advise them to feed them with potato peelings.
Yes, we will not touch the collembol in the garden, but we do not have an aquarium, many readers will say. But so that such an abomination crawled across the bathroom, we will not allow it. Therefore, the further part of the article will be devoted to the most sacred - the struggle for the cause of the right, about how to get rid of collembol!
However, there are two sides to the coin: prevention and destruction. The first serves to prevent the invasion of the enemy, the second is used if the enemy does not surrender.
All preventive measures to prevent the appearance of collembola will be aimed at observing the rules on hygiene and dryness of premises, so as not to create a breeding ground for insects. The second aspect of prevention is accuracy and care in choosing the soil for planting indoor plants or vegetable seedlings.
If mold and other mushrooms are not produced in the bathroom or in the kitchen, then the collembolans simply will not start, because they will have nothing to eat. And keeping the premises dry, constantly ventilating and ventilating them, you basically exclude the appearance of microorganisms that are nutritious for springtail. Watch also the amount of water when watering plants, excessive soil moisture will create good conditions for insects to exist.
Well, here we get to the most bloodthirsty part of our story. Now we will teach you how to destroy the nails, these cutest insects, with all sorts of folk and chemical means.
- A small amount of insects can simply be washed off with soapy water or sprayed with plants.
- Sprinkle the ground with wood ash.
- Treat the sites of congestion with chemical insecticides. The composition of the preparations should include such active substances as bifentrin, carbaryl or diazinon.
- Create an insect barrier outside the house. Treat window and door frames, especially any small gaps, with substances that contain bifentrin, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, deltamethrin, diazinon fluvalinate, malathion, permethrin or pyrethrin.
- Stop abundantly watering indoor flowers. Let them stand a little dry.
Advice! Do not bring your apartments to such an extent that insects will host it. Preventing disaster is much easier than fighting it.
At the end of the article we give a short video about the fight against kolembolami:
Multiple Name Insect
The collembolas in the apartment can be of different types, including dark gray
The small arthropods, which are called: collembolas, foottails, fork tails, cmintures, podura, have different shapes (in the form of a spindle or a ball) and body sizes (up to 5 mm). At the bottom of the insect is a jumping fork, due to which they move quickly enough. The insect breeds with the help of eggs, which the female lays in moss, in the upper moist layer of soil, under rotten leaves.
Where dwells and which harms
Collembola loves a humid environment, and therefore lives where it is abundant.In general, an insect can be observed in flower pots, where excessive watering of plants occurs. Stagnant water in the sump is the medium for its development. But gardeners should not be afraid, they will not cause harm to the plant if they manage to get rid of them in time.
In a small amount, podura even benefit from eating decayed organisms. Therefore, if home plants are fertilized, for example, with the remains of tea leaves, carefully watch that insects do not appear and do not multiply. Since, reaching a large number, they, in search of food, begin to actively eat small shoots of the root, young shoots, which can lead to slower flower growth, getting into the "wounds" of pathogenic bacteria and its subsequent death.
Take a closer look, maybe the “goat” taken away in the bathroom looks like one of these
Important! When watering indoor plants, attention must be paid to the amount of water in the ground. This especially applies to orchids, violets, gloxinia.
In addition to flower pots, a moisture-loving nailstail reproduces well in other rooms of the apartment and in a private house, where there is increased humidity - shower, bathtub, toilet. They can enter the apartment through ventilation holes, cesspools, and greenhouses. Consider jumping insects in places where mold and fungus develop.
Moisture attracts collembol
In search of damp places, a collembola from the street can get into a damp room, which means it needs to be warned. It is difficult to “lime” such a surviving insect, but not to create favorable conditions for it - perhaps, events will help in this:
- Ventilate the room - reduce air humidity.
- How to get rid of collembola in the bathroom and basement? First of all, install fans, clean with a soap or soda solution.
- Eliminate possible sources of mold or mildew (current taps, broken old water and sewer pipes, cracked window frames or wooden window sills).
- Disinfection of the toilet room with chlorine-based products.
- When watering indoor plants, do not exceed the watering rate and make sure that the water in the flower pans does not stagnate, and the lump of earth in the pot does not resemble liquid mud. If this happens, drain excess water, lay a sponge on the ground briefly, and then let the soil dry.
Important! When replacing indoor plants, do not forget about good drainage, in order to avoid stagnation of water and decay of the roots or organic matter, which is part of the soil mixture. If tea leaves, sawdust or dry leaves were added to the ground, completely replace this mixture. In such components, fungus and mold easily develop, which is food for collembola.
The people against the stingful
If the preventive measures did not help prevent the appearance of insects, then you have to destroy the "enemy". The safest are folk methods, so you need to start with them.
A small population can be destroyed by improvised means
- Wood ash is a great way to fight, but it is not suitable for all indoor plants. It is strictly forbidden to use for azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias (grow on acidic soils). Instead of ash, the earth around them is sprinkled with mustard powder.
- Insecticidal plants. It is recommended to water the soil around the flowers with infusions of hot pepper or yarrow.
- A weak solution of potassium permanganate will help cope with insects.
- Such manipulations will help get rid of the collembola in the apartment: lower a flower pot in which insects are found in a bucket of water. After a while, they will surface - you need to catch it with your hands and destroy it.
- A very simple and, according to Internet users, an effective way to combat insects: put the cut half of the potatoes on the ground in a flower pot with the slice down, leaving for several hours. Then, carefully take out the potato, destroy the assembled springtails and set the “trap” again. A wet potato slice is a great treat for pests.
- Another elementary way. Dissolve 2-3 tablets of “Citramon” or “Askofen” in two liters of water and pour a solution around the flower around the flower. No harm to the plant.
These drugs are definitely working.
Before using various chemicals, you need to remember that some can harm the plant itself, so the instructions must be studied before use. But, basically, plants are not afraid of the effects of insecticides. The main thing to remember, since these arthropods inhabit an earthen lump, the fight must be waged, cultivating the soil, not the plant.
Regent is popular in the fight against domestic insects
Insecticides for effective control of colemola:
- "Initiative" - a granular preparation is mixed with the topsoil in flower pots. The earth must be dried. The drug has a quick effect.
- "Regent" - in granules. The active substance fipronil is stored in the ground for a long time, protecting the plant.
- "Bazudin" - the action of the granules of the drug, which is poured on the surface of the soil, occurs very quickly. After a few hours, all pests are destroyed.
- "Dimilin" is a hormonal drug that has a stopping effect on the development of an insect, at any stage. This is an environmentally friendly tool that is indicated for use in rooms where mushrooms are grown and from where, collembolas can be transported to the apartment.
- "Aktara" - has effective properties. It is used both for watering the soil and for spraying the plant. The protective effect against insects living in the ground lasts up to 60 days. Therefore, if the treatment with this drug was carried out and after a lapse of time, the insects did not show themselves - we can consider the pest control finished.
Important! All of these drugs are on the market, but information about some of them is sometimes contradictory. There are opinions that the effect is low, but these are just the subjective opinions of individuals. Perhaps the application technology specified in the instructions is violated.
Did you find bouncing collembols in your flower pots or bathtub? Carry out preventive measures (let the earthen coma dry, disinfect the bathroom) and annoying insects are more likely to leave your apartment. If prevention is no longer effective, start a more radical fight!