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common name: Springtail<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

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.

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