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Can Springtails Cause Trouble For Your Cannabis Plants?

Springtails cannabis

Springtails are tiny insects that reside in the soil or coco of your cannabis plants. Springtails are frequently spotted after a plant has been irrigated. They work their way to the top of the medium in search of air until the water has drained away. You can even discover them in the runoff from your plants. Here is everything you require to know about springtails on your cannabis plants:

What are springtails?

Collembola springtails are insects that feed on organic debris, particularly in the top soil layer. They consume fungi, algae, mosses, and decaying leaves, among other things. At first, this seems to be a favorite activity, but it affects the roots of growing cannabis plants. They are becoming more of a concern in potted cannabis plants, mainly when cultivating young plant material. This pest can also be found in other open-field crops.

The life cycle of springtails

Springtails breed swiftly, progressing from egg to adult in four to six weeks. Mature males deposit sperm cell packets in the soil where they reside. Females pick these up when they deposit their eggs in packages or separately. Depending on the temperature, the eggs hatch in five to 10 days. Furthermore, nymphs resemble adults. During their five or six weeks as nymphs, they undergo several phases before becoming adults, molting and growing more prominent at each stage. Springtails can live outside for a whole season, reproducing many times. Conversely, they can thrive for up to a year indoors.

How to identify springtails

Springtails can develop to be as long as 1/16 inch but are just a tenth of that size before maturing. Also, these pests are available in several colors, like brown, gray, black, or white. Springtails become noticeable when congregating in huge groups resembling balls or fabric swatches. When uncovered or disturbed, they appear to spring into the air all at once, making them much more visible. This jumping is accomplished with the use of an external bodily portion called a furcula, which is folded under the abdomen. When the furcula is released, it propels the little bug a few inches into the air. Here are some main springtail characteristics to assist you in identifying them:

cannabis springtails
  1. Floating or living on water: You can see a swarm of them at the surface of a reservoir.
  2. They love moisture: Springtails are often in wet soil, moist locations, pools of water, etc.
  3. Jumping or spring into the air: when disturbed, springtails jump or spring into the air (thus the name “springtail”) – springtails have a distinctive fork-like structure under their belly called a furcula.
  4. They don’t sting or bite: Springtails are not toxic to human beings and have little effect on cannabis plants, but they should be removed as soon as possible. Nobody likes to discover a swarm of dead bugs in their cannabis after harvest. Furthermore, they can compete for nutrients with the cannabis plants, which is not ideal.

How to control springtails in your hydroponic setup

Growers can use the following recommendations to control springtails in hydroponic configurations:

  1. Periodic inspections and removal might help keep populations in check. Indoor growth facilities are especially vulnerable to springtail infestations because of their high moisture levels. Pests congregate near the edge of the grow tank and in exposed root crowns of cannabis plants in hydroponic growing systems.
  2. While springtails are often said to cause little visible damage, they feed on roots and moist plant matter, causing leaf yellowing and other harm to growth and vigor. Nonetheless, many growers prefer to tolerate them rather than treat them. If you want to coexist with them, be sure you’ve correctly recognized them and aren’t mistaking them for a nuisance like spider mites, which can cause significant harm.
  3. Wipe away insect populations along tray rims, drains, and other wet areas in your grow space. Growers can use a shop vac to vacuum large colonies on floors or on stands.
  4. If springtails have become so problematic that spraying is necessary, use an OMRI-listed organic production ingredient like azadirachtin, an antifeedant and insect growth regulator (IGR) that reduces pests through hunger and growth disruption.
  5. Diatomaceous earth should be applied to the reservoir’s surface and the surrounding region. Diatomaceous earth is composed of ground diatom mantels (skeletons) that are potentially abrasive to several arthropods, including springtails. Although the white powder is soft to the touch, the sharp tooth-like edges of each grain will begin to cut their way into the bugs’ eco-skeleton, causing substantial discomfort and poor health. The infestation will subside in a few days because the mature mothers will be unable to lay enough eggs.

How to control springtails in your soil setup

Here are common ways growers can manage springtails in soil medium:

  1. Using water to manage springtails. This is a simple approach to get rid of springtails in your potted plants. Fill a sink or a big container halfway with water and place your plants in it. Cover the entire root ball with water and soak it for at least 30 minutes. Springtails will float to the surface and can be rinsed away. Remove the plant from the bath, and do not water it for a while. Repotting your plants after the water treatment can be advantageous.
  2. Using dryness to treat springtails. Try the opposite method if you have springtails in your garden bed. Because they thrive in moist environments, drying them out is the most effective way to eliminate them. Small, jumping animals are usually acceptable in garden beds because there is typically sufficient dead organic material they prefer to feed when compared to your plants. If dipping huge plant pots into water is too challenging, you can allow them to dry.
  3. Using predatory mites for managing springtails. Controlling springtails with predatory mites is another option. For instance, Hypoaspis miles or Hypoaspis aculeifer can be ideal. They are commonly offered to control fungus gnats, although they have a wide host range and can also be used to manage springtails. They stay carnivorous throughout their whole life cycle and can even endure prolonged periods without prey. As a result, they are appropriate for both preventative and curative therapy. Predatory mites are given as scatter material and must only be dispersed on the soil.
  4. Keep springtails at bay by keeping leaves, grass, and other organic debris away from your home’s foundation. Fill any cracks in the foundation, even those beneath the soil line. Inspect the seals around your doors and windows.
  5. Use crawling bug killers with diatomaceous earth to deter pests near potential entry points.
  6. Springtails are commonly seen in the soil of potted plants. Test the potting mixture of each plant you wish to bring home with your thumbs and look for springing. Lichen and other soil coverings that serve as organic food sources for pests should be thoroughly researched. Take extra care if plants exhibit indications of excessive dampness. If you suspect pest activity, quarantine house plants outside, ideally overnight, to enable the soil to dry thoroughly before returning them inside.
  7. Keep the area surrounding sink faucets and drains free of mold and other growth that might serve as a food source. Remove the scum and hair from the sink drains. If you detect springtails in your drain pipes, carefully clean them and rinse them with vinegar. (Never dump pesticides down the drain.)
  8. Examining the root region. The root of the problem is frequently found underground. Since they feed on dead and rotting organic matter, it is crucial to inspect the root ball of your cannabis plants. Remove any decaying components and refill the substrate with new soil. Even this minor action can aid in the fight against springtail infestation.
  9. Houseplant soil, particularly one containing lichen or moss, can be a breeding ground for springtails. Before bringing any potted houseplants indoors, inspect them for symptoms of infection. Don’t overwater once inside the house. Enabling the soil to dry completely between waterings inhibits them from lingering.

Outdoor control of springtails

Outdoor growers can control springtails in their cannabis growth by doing the following:

  1. Since springtails cause relatively minor crop damage, there’s little reason to control them outside unless their numbers become a problem. According to the University of California’s comprehensive Integrated Pest Management website, outdoor use of pesticides is ineffective against this pest and will not give long-term control.
  2. Remove the bugs’ preferred wet, organic materials habitat to deter them in gardens and landscapes. Compacted mulch shields the colonies that live beneath it. Stop adding compost and other organic materials to the soil until the pests disappear.
  3. Allowing soils to dry totally before watering inhibits them from establishing themselves, sending them in search of wetter terrain. Watering should be reduced in vegetable or decorative gardens that house springtails, and soils should be dry before watering.
  4. Expect them to persist when wet conditions are naturally present. Turning straw mulches and compost piles typically disrupts eggs and exposes nymphs to drier surface situations, which aids in keeping their numbers down. However, due to their size, many flee.

Controlling springtails in your house

The first crucial step in dealing with springtails in your house is determining the source of the infestation. Houseplants are an excellent place to start. You should soon have peace in the remainder of your home once you’ve rid them of the pests. Since springtails thrive in moist environments, they prefer to live in areas with a high moisture concentration. Cleaning your home is the first step toward effective indoor springtail treatment.

Vacuum thoroughly and ventilate moist areas, such as bathrooms. As a result, springtails should be reduced. Springtail infestations can emerge in moist houses following water damage because damp settings promote springtail reproduction. It is consequently critical to locate and dehumidify those locations. Also, consult a specialist for more extensive procedures.

Are springtails harmful to your cannabis plants?

Springtails are entirely safe for both indoor and outdoor cannabis plants, feeding exclusively on the qualities of the compost and ignoring the plant’s healthy tissue. Indoor gardeners frequently eradicate the infestation based only on appearance since seeing little silver or brown creatures meandering through the soil isn’t pleasant. Springtails are also not harmful to people, as they do not bite or carry viruses or diseases.

Are springtails harmful to humans?

These nearly invisible bugs are typically harmless and do not bite or sting people. However, they are unwelcome home guests, and discovering a swarm of them under a carpet or near a basement drain necessitates cleansing to prevent continuous populations or heaps of unsanitary dead insects. The presence of springtails in your bedroom, bathroom, or carpets indicates wetness, which can lead to more significant issues such as leaking pipes or roofs, improperly sealed tubs and sinks, and porous basement walls. Treatment of insect infestations sometimes necessitates housing renovations and other solutions.

Springtails will assemble inside freshly constructed homes exposed to rain or excessive humidity during framing and are not allowed to dry completely. The presence of bugs inside walls might indicate the presence of mold and fungus. Springtails are a considerable annoyance near outdoor swimming pools, where they frequently blanket the water’s surface when they die. Although they pose no harm to people, this insect muck makes for a lousy pool experience.

Beware of internet recommendations!

When looking for springtail control tips online, you may encounter treatment methods that promise incredible results but fail to deliver. Watering the plant with lemon water is one of these suggestions. Lemon water changes the pH of your potting soil, which can harm your crops. Some, like orchids, are usually susceptible to damage when the pH of the soil modifies. Some sources recommend soaking the plants in detergent to reduce surface tension. However, only a few of the numerous springtail species can float on the water’s surface, so there’s no need to overburden your cannabis plants. If your plant is afflicted with springtail species that swim, consider drying instead of using detergent.

Picture of Janice Bernstein

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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