common name: Springtail
scientific name: Order Collembola, several families and species
size: Adult--1/16" to 1/4"
identification: Tiny, primitive, wingless beneficial insects. Prominent antennae and usually a forked structure under the abdomen, which allows them to spring into the air. Some have rounded bodies. Often deeply colored.
biology and life cycle: Live in the soil. Incomplete metamorphosis. Very abundant in healthy soils.
habitat: In and on the surface of the soil, especially in decaying organic matter.
feeding habits: Feed on and break down organic matter. Scavengers.
economic importance: Very beneficial at breaking down leaf litter, compost, and fungi into soil components. Sometimes a pest in mushroom beds and on small seedlings.
natural control: Gecko and other lizards.
organic control: Diatomaceous earth, baking soda, and citrus products.
insight: There are about 2,000 species worldwide.