Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Orkin Man: Where Was He When I Needed Him?

In March, 2011, when an onslaught of Collembola, a/k/a Springtails, made their way into my home, everyone looked at me as though I was "smoking crack."  As a matter of fact, they didn't just look at me like that, I was literally accused of doing various drugs (meth, etc.) when I described the overtaking of my home by these miniscule bastards (sure there are bitches in there too, or there wouldn't be any little "bastards").  Sorry for the profanity, but...

Most had not even heard of the species of parasite which numbers in the range of 4,500+ different, identifiable forms of pests which will truly ruin your life, if not take it from you altogether.

While the Orkin Man may have his almighty "spray gun," filled with noxious potions "guaranteed" to take care of your pest problem, ridding your home and surrounding property of these nuisances takes a lot more than ANY of the hundreds of pesticides available by your local pest control "SPECIALIST," or the do-it-yourself, Home Depots in the world.

To truly rid your home of Collembola - whatever of the 4,500 various types they may be, you must eliminate their food source, their home, their livelihood.  BUT, before we get into that whole can of worms, read the following from your neighborly Orkin Man, take it with a grain of salt, literally, and tomorrow we'll discuss how to really eradicate those little... Well, I just refuse to curse again, so use your own imagination as to how I end this.


Springtails:  Facts, Identification & Control

Springtails are tiny insects. Their size ranges from 1/32” to 1/8”. They get their name from a spring-like structure, called the furcula. It is located on the back of their abdomen. It is normally curled under the body. When the insect is disturbed, it unfolds the furcula instantly. This causes the insect to jump. One jump can cover three or four inches.Springtails normally live in damp soil. They eat mold and fungus. They are common in flowerbeds, under logs, paving stones, and landscape timbers. Woodpiles are also a common place for springtails to hide.
The latest in Springtail eradication, the Orkin woman. Truly what is needed.

Springtails lose water through the surface of their body. If their environment becomes dry, they try to migrate to a wetter place. They enter homes under door thresholds. When they get inside, they go to humid areas. It is normal to find springtails in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.  They also find areas where there has been a moisture problem. Springtails have been found inside walls where a pipe has been leaking. They have also been found in furniture that has become wet and mildewed. Potted plants and planter boxes are also places where springtails live.

Springtails do not bite or sting people. They do not damage buildings or the contents. They develop quickly. It is common to find springtails in very large numbers. The fact that there can be thousands of jumping insects in an area can be very distressing to homeowners.

When the dampness is corrected, the springtails disappear very quickly. Eliminating dampness is very important in preventing or eliminating springtails. A thorough inspection is the first step.

If springtails have been a problem in the kitchen, start inspecting under the sink. Empty the cabinet and check the drainpipe. If it has been leaking, there could be mold or mildew present. Dry the cabinet completely to eliminate the mildew and the springtails.

If springtails have been active in the bathroom, start the inspection under the sink. Also inspect the trap behind the tub for leaking pipes.  Examine tile walls carefully. If there is missing grout, mildew can develop behind the tiles.

In the basement, check the walls for dampness. It may be necessary to get a waterproofing compound for the basement walls.  The specialists at the home store can point out the right product. A dehumidifier can be helpful to get rid of dampness in a basement.

During the outside inspection, look for places where springtails could hide. Stack firewood up off of the ground and move it away from the house. Move mulch away from the foundation. Create a zone next to the foundation that is 6” to 12” wide.  If the zone is dry and free of leaves and mulch, springtails and other pests will avoid it.

Make sure gutters are cleaned out. Downspouts should drain away from the foundation. If necessary, trim tree limbs that cause damp shady areas near the foundation.

Check exterior doors to be sure they close properly. Replace weather-stripping that is missing or damaged. Check crawlspace vents to be sure they are open to allow air circulation. Access openings into crawl spaces should have a door that closes tightly.

When the dampness has been eliminated, the springtails will leave quickly or they will die.
If the dampness cannot be eliminated, it may be necessary to apply a residual insecticide. The choice of dust, liquid, or aerosol will depend on the location and the surface that needs to be treated. Because of factors like moisture and temperature, the barrier will need to be re-applied periodically. The local pest control professional can choose the proper formulation and make insecticide applications.
More facts about springtails:

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