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Springtails

Springtail

Springtails are small insects measuring about 0.04 to 0.1 inches. They are usually found in places which are abundant with moisture such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, spaces between doors, drainage pipes, walls and crevices. Though are structurally different they are often mistaken for termites, fleas etc. They feed on mold, mildew, fungus and other dead material.

A distinct feature of springtails is their ability to jump, when threatened by danger. This is facilitated by "furcula" an appendage below the abdomen, which recoils like a spring propelling the insect upward. This ability of the insect to spring with the help of its tail has earned it the name "springtail".

They can withstand extremes of temperatures, and hence can be found throughout the year. As they come out in large numbers they can be a nuisance and the best way to get rid of them is to find out where they nest and kill them in one go. However, total eradication will be a challenge since their ability to move from one place to another with ease thanks to the furcula, can place them at an advantageous new location.

Springtails though do not cause much harm to humans are nevertheless parasites which depend on other organisms. So they are comparable to any other parasites which affect humans, say for instance, like the mite which causes Scabies. The comparison stops there, since they differ from scabies mites. The scabies mites actually travel beneath the skin giving rise to burrows or rashes on the skin, whereas the springtails do not inhabit or affect the body of humans.

If we go by numbers then Springtails infestations can be compared to the Norwegian Scabies where the number of scabies mites is enormous, say in the range of thousands and millions. As we saw above, for springtails to survive, moisture is a condition. For the scabies mite no such condition is necessary. The only condition that is essential for the scabies mite to survive is a human body.

For the scabies mite, the human body is a must, since outside the human body, scabies mites can hardly survive beyond 72 hours. For the springtail however, the only condition for survival is availability of moisture.


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