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How to Get Rid of Collembola (Also Known As Snow Fleas, Springtails and Ectoparasites)

If you’ve never heard of Collembola, you’re not alone. Until recent years, these land-bearing creatures were thought to be essentially harmless. Even doctors flatly denied that springtails were likely to contaminate human hair and skin. People who suffered from chronic itching, biting and crawling sensations were often thought of as delusional, but that mindset is slowly changing. Growing evidence shows that these tiny parasites can be surprisingly invasive.

Thanks to the persistence of people like Dr. Frans Janssens and his colleague, Dr. Kenneth A. Christiansen, the scientific community is beginning to recognize that springtails can pose a very real threat to human comfort when present in large numbers. The two researchers collected dozens of reports from homeowners, doctors and pest control operators in many countries, including many parts of the United States. Within the gray areas between anecdotal testimony, scientific observation, and concrete medical documentation, a startling picture emerged. Collembola are everywhere and it is not impossible to get attached to humans and animals.

As inhabitants of fertile soil, springtails are likely to be found almost anywhere. The more you water and fertilize the lawn, the happier they will be. They are considered the most abundant arthropods on earth. Since prehistoric times, they have survived cold winters and very hot summers, but their numbers decline exponentially under dry conditions.

Pet owners are particularly vulnerable to Collembola infestation. Dogs and cats that step on damp soil or wet grass can pick up the tails and carry them home. However, it is not likely that springtails will remain attached to pets like fleas unless an animal’s immune system is compromised (for example, if there is a fungal skin infection.) Springtails are easily transferred between humans and animals. Close contact is not necessary. These acrobatic creatures can jump three to four feet. You may not always notice them being launched into the air. They can be smaller than the head of a pin.

If the thought of some springs in your home makes you paranoid, relax. Their ability to divide and conquer will depend heavily on environmental factors. Do you enjoy growing potted plants indoors? Does your basement tend to flood after a good rain? Can you smell mold behind the bathroom wall? Still waiting for a plumber to fix that leaky pipe under the kitchen sink? Who was president the last time you cleaned your airways? A damp, musty environment is like Disneyland in a queue.

Getting rid of an advanced collembola infestation can be difficult because springtails are not classified as insects. They are defined as hexapods, primitive ancestors of modern bugs. According to biological scientist David Glassel, chemical pesticides have no effect on the hexapod. Only natural insecticides will do the trick and the best remedy is cedar oil.

Step-by-step guide to eliminating Collembola infestation:

1.) Treat yourself and your pets with a topical cedar oil insecticide approved for use on humans and animals. Avoid cosmetic or aromatherapy grade cedar oil. It is not pure and usually comes from certain forms of cypress trees. Cedar oil formulated for home protection will kill ALL TYPES of pests on contact, including springtails, lice and all forms of mites. If you’re tempted to use an over-the-counter lice control kit, don’t bother. It won’t work, it’s not enough to cover large areas and it’s just not good for you. Such products contain Lindane, a chemical banned from use on animals by the Environmental Protection Agency.

2.) Spray sofas, beds and carpets with a fine cedar mist. A proper home formula will be very light and pure. In other words, it will not stain the fabric.

3.) Use a cedar oil mist machine to penetrate invisible cracks and crevices in the home. Normally, fog machines are considered optional, but advanced tail attacks require aggressive measures. If you think your infestation is severe, or if you have actually SEEN large groups of springtails moving across floors and walls, do not interfere.

4.) Use the fog machine to treat air ducts or hire a professional air duct cleaning company. Many people are shocked to discover that they have mold in their air ducts. It is not uncommon for mold to grow in your heating and cooling system from condensation in your air conditioner. Springtails feed on mold and thrive in moist conditions. Mold can also aggravate asthma and allergies. Airway processing addresses all of these difficulties.

5.) Buy the highest quality furnace filters available at your local store. Filters designed to remove allergens and dust mites are best. Change filters often.

6.) Hunt for places where moisture accumulates. Repair leaky roofs and pipes. Seal cracks around basement windows. Pay special attention to the bathroom walls and the cabinets under the sinks.

7.) Remove houseplants, especially ornamental trees that sit in large potted containers filled with soil. Remember that springtails can be brought directly into your home via bags of potting soil.

8.) Take aggressive measures to control animal populations on your property. Double bag trash and don’t leave open trash cans sitting around. Animal feed stored outdoors should be kept in airtight containers. Use traps or repellents to control rodent, raccoon and squirrel populations. Resist the urge to pet stray dogs and cats. Report any sightings of feral cats to your local animal control center.

9.) Beware of extremely rich potting soil and wooden landscaping materials. Based on calls made to the pest control business from around the country, pintail populations are often brought into the home when truckloads of new mulch or soil have been dumped on properties that previously had minimal landscaping. (Coating traps moisture and promotes mold growth.) Seal any cracks around basement windows before spreading natural landscaping materials around the perimeter of the home. If you are concerned about collembolla populations outdoors, there are extremely strong cedar concentrates designed to repel mosquitoes and kill insect populations in grass and soil. Pet breeders, ranchers and ranchers use cedar concentrates to control all types of pests in barns, corrals and pastures. A generous treatment in early spring or summer will do much to destroy eggs and control multiple insect populations before they explode. Vet bills are EXPENSIVE. Destroy the vermin before they destroy you!

10.) Last but not least, avoid chemical pesticides. In February 2011, USA Today published an article titled “In utero pesticide exposure linked to learning disabilities.” The study focused on permethrin, a chemical commonly used to control household pests. As alarming as this may sound, the issue is nothing new. Dozens of scientific studies have linked chemical pesticides to neurological disorders, breast cancer and birth defects in children who live near farms where the chemicals are sprayed. In a nationally broadcast ABC World News investigation, flea and tick medications caused 44,000 serious reactions in one year, including multiple deaths.

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