Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Springtails and mold: Getting "up to speed" Part Two

Springtails, and their relationship to fungi - Part Two of a continuing, informational series
So, exactly where will you find Springtails?  Anywhere there is “soil” and moisture!  And, even better, where there is “soil,” moisture, and fungi (mold).   The term soil is being used loosely, as the elements of soil vary widely (i.e., soil is the end result of the decomposition of matter).

A typical “home” to the Springtail is a pile of wet, soil and decaying matter, whether organic in nature, or manmade.   Leaf piles, grassy areas, and any other location with a mixture of rotting vegetation, thick grass, wood, and the like is a perfect outdoor location where Springtails may be found.  
Manmade, human habitations can also provide the elements of a “perfect” environment for Collembola especially where fungal mold is present.  Indoor potted plants, damp basements, areas with leaking pipes like under the kitchen sink, and behind bathroom walls, and dusty air conditioning ducts are perfect breeding grounds for Collembola.  Add decaying drywall, plywood, various types of insulation, and other standard building materials, and the perfect indoor habitat has been cultivated.  While Collembola may find the crawlspaces, attics, basements, and the interior of the walls of your home or business the perfect location to “set-up-shop,” their human counterparts will say otherwise, and, rightfully so.  For the presence of Collembola is not merely a nuisance, it is also an indicator of health risks that lie hidden within the structure including numerous forms of mold, as well as other “inhabitants” of the not-so-desirable kind that carry disease, and foster the growth and spread of the mold, as well as other health-threatening bacteria.--Nellina Fejh 2011.

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