Springtail vs Flea: Which One Do I Have?

Whether you find a springtail vs flea, they are very different creatures in looks and behavior. It can be challenging to determine which one you are dealing with, but this article will outline all the differences.

Springtails and fleas can get into your home, but a flea is a parasite, whereas a springtail is not. Springtails are awesome little creatures that deserve more attention than they actually get!

While fleas and springtails may look similar due to their size, the similarities stop there. Even though both springtails and fleas can jump in the air, they use different mechanisms to accomplish the jump.

To determine which pest you are dealing with, it is essential to know what each one looks like, their behavior, and how to identify them.

Flea vs Springtail Pictures

In order to better understand the difference between fleas and springtails, let’s take a look at some pictures. Since springtails are on our list of “bugs that look like fleas,” looking at photos will help you to get a general idea of what each one of these tiny creatures looks like. 

Springtail vs Flea Pictures

A springtail is in the class Collembola (they are not insects), and this class of springtails is further broken down into four orders: Symphypleona, Entomobryomorpha, Poduromorpha, and Neelipleona. Springtails come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Whereas fleas will always look the same.

A flea is in the class Insecta, precisely the order Siphonaptera.

springtail vs flea - photos
Not to Scale

Now that you know what each insect looks like let’s take a closer look at the critical differences between a springtail and a flea.

Size (Springtail vs Flea)

springtail captured from a window sill magnified

What is the actual size of fleas?

Adult fleas are between 1.5 mm and 3.2 mm long, depending on how much blood they ingest.

What is the actual size of springtails? 

Springtails range in size from 1.5 mm to 10 mm. Some species of springtails can be up to 10 mm in size, but more commonly, they are under 2 mm.

springtails true size on a window sill

Are Springtails or Fleas Dangerous?

Springtails: Are They Dangerous?

According to Andy Murray, photographer and biologist from the site – A Chaos of Delight, a springtail is not dangerous, and “springtails are benign and nearly always beneficial.”

You do not need to worry about doing any pest control treatment for springtails. They are a normal part of the outside world, and if you see them inside, you probably have an issue with moisture and dampness in your home. 

Work on reducing the moisture (here are some excellent disposable moisture absorber boxes) around your foundation and your walls; you’ll see the springtails go away. The dehumidifier below is a lifesaver for reducing moisture and preventing mold buildup.

Gocheer Upgraded Dehumidifier for Home,Up to 680 Sq.ft Dehumidifiers for Bedroom Bathroom Small Quiet Portable Air Dehumidifiers with 2000ml(68oz) Water Tank
  • High-Efficiency Dehumidifier: Equipped with a 2000ml water tank, it can quickly and effectively remove up to 1000ml (temperature: 86°F, humidity: 80%RH) of moisture from air per day. Improve the environmental quality and make your home more comfortable and healthier every moment.
  • Compact & Portable: Lightweight and portable, our home dehumidifier is suitable for different rooms (Recommended 107 ft² - 650 ft² ). You can easily put the portable dehumidifier to any place wherever you want to. It is perfect for high humidity areas like your bathroom, small basement, closet, kitchen, living room. Say goodbye to moist.
  • Easily Quiet Operation: When in operation, the dehumidifier produces less than 40dB of noise without loud or annoying noise. In addition, One-button switch design helps you easily operate the bedroom dehumidifier.
  • Automatic Shut Off: This mini portable dehumidifier will automatically shut down when the water tank is full of water to prevent the water tank from overflowing. The indicator light will turn red when the water tank needs to be emptied. It is very easy to remove the water tank and put it back in the dehumidifier.
  • Energy-Saving Dehumidifier: The electric dehumidifier is effective and energy-saving, with a power of only 48W/hour, which means that it only consumes 1.15kW of electricity after 24 hours of operation. Compared with traditional large compressors or desiccant dehumidifiers, it is environmentally friendly and cheaper.

Fleas: Are They Dangerous?

Fleas are tiny parasites that thrive on the blood of mammals and birds. They can be a severe nuisance to people and pets and even transmit diseases and tapeworms.

While most flea bites cause nothing more than mild irritation, some people may experience more severe reactions. In rare cases, fleas can also transmit diseases to humans.

Life Cycle

Flea Lifecycle

The flea has four life stages that go from the egg – larvae – pupae – adult. The flea larvae hatch from the eggs and begin munching on adult flea excrement before entering a cocoon (pupae) and emerging as an adult.

Springtail Lifecycle

A springtail has a simple metamorphosis, like a bed bug. They both have three stages: eggs – nymphs – adults. The babies will look just like the adults, only smaller. Furthermore, the nymphs will molt six to eight times before becoming adult springtails.

According to Sciencing Magazine, One distinguishing feature is that the adult will continue to grow and molt throughout their lifetime. Hence one Springtail can molt up to 50 times.

Springtail vs Flea: Do They Both Jump?

A springtail uses its tail-like, spring-loaded furcula to propel it into the air. The furcula is usually tucked under the abdomen and helps the springtail escape danger. Check out the video below to see the remarkable feat of a springtail jump.

A flea uses a pad of protein called resilin in its back legs to propel it into the air. With the help of their strong back legs and this elastic protein, resilin, a flea is a powerful jumper. Check out the video below to see the extraordinary jump of a flea up close!

Color: Flea VS Springtail

Fleas are amber-reddish brown and remain the same color since they only eat blood. A flea’s color will not vary with only one primary food source.

Springtails have a wide range of colors like brown, grey, yellow, red, black, and variegated. The color depends on what species they are and where they live.

What Do They Eat? (Springtail vs Flea)

What Do Fleas Eat?

Adult fleas eat the blood of their host, whereas the larvae will feast on non-viable flea eggs and the feces of other fleas and animals. It’s mainly the larvae of the flea that will feed on things other than blood.

Adult fleas have a siphon that sucks up blood. They feed solely on blood, whereas the flea larvae have chewing mouthparts and eat a wide range of things.

What Do Springtails Eat?

They’ll feed on various microorganisms, fungi, yeasts, mildew, and molds.

springtails true size - found on a window sill that had a leak
These springtails were found on a NYC window sill that had a leak behind the wall.

Bites of Fleas vs Springtails

Fleas bites can transmit diseases like The Plague, Typhus, or Cat Scratch Fever. Also, fleas can transmit other parasites like tapeworms to you and your pet. On the other hand, springtails do not bite.

Flea Bites vs Springtail Bites

Flea bites usually cause red, itchy bumps on the skin, often below the knees. These bumps are often in groups of three or four and may become infected if scratched. Since fleas will bite humans and pets, you need to eradicate them.

Springtail Bites vs Flea Bites

Springtails do not have an external mouth, so they cannot give us a bite. Instead, they have internal mouth organs that allow them to gain nutrients from the mold, mildew, microorganisms, and yeast they ingest.

The internal mouth is not visible outside, differentiating the Springtail from actual insects.

How Do They Travel?

Flea vs. Springtail: Travel

Fleas do not have wings. Instead, they travel by walking and jumping. Their primary way to get around is to crawl/walk, and they occasionally jump when they get on or off a host.

Adult fleas will spend most of their life on a host traveling and living within their host’s fur, hairs, or feathers. Learn the answer to “do fleas fly?” and more here!

Springtail vs Flea: Travel

A Springtail can crawl and jump. They’ll often travel in groups and are social with each other working together. They’ll use aggregation pheromones to call other springtails to an area that is nice and damp! It makes sense why you may see some indoors in the rainy season if you have moisture coming in. 

How Long Do They Live? (Springtails vs Fleas)

Flea Lifespan

Many adult fleas will live for 2-3 months on a host, but many live a much shorter lifespan. However, according to the study by Michael K. Rust: on the biology of cat fleas, he found that the mean longevity of a flea on a host is 7.8 days. The short lifespan is due to the animal grooming the flea off its body.

However, fleas that are not on a host and are undisturbed can survive for months in the environment. According to Dr. RC Krecek, an adult flea that is on a cat or dog has the potential to survive 100 days on average.

Dr. RC Krecek also mentions that typical fleas can have lifespans of 1-2 years in environments suited to their longevity.

Springtail Lifespan 

An adult springtail will live for about three months outdoors. However, when they live indoors in more moderate climates, they can live up to a year.

Are They Active in the Daytime or Nighttime?

Fleas

Fleas tend to be crepuscular, according to the paper by Robert L. Bossard, Alberto B. Broce, and Michael W. Dryden that was published in the January 2000 issue of the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. What this means is that they are most active in the evening hours.

Furthermore, the scientist observed their respiration rates decreasing during nighttime and allowed the scientists to keep the fleas, conserving their energy.

Springtails

Springtails, just like fleas, are crepuscular and more active in the late afternoon/evening hours. However, you may see millions of springtails migrating anytime in very damp houses with leaks in the walls.

How Long Does It Take a Springtail vs Flea Eggs To Hatch?

Flea Eggs: How Long Does It Take for One To Hatch

According to Dr. Rebecca MacMillan, a flea egg will hatch in one to twelve days, depending on the environmental conditions. Fleas will lay up to 50 eggs per day. 

Remember that when dealing with other parasites like fleas vs bed bugs, you can become infested faster with fleas. The faster infestation rate is primarily because bed bugs only lay approximately 1 – 5 eggs daily.

Springtail Eggs: How Long Does It Take for One To Hatch

Depending on the environmental conditions, a springtail egg will hatch in as little as five days and as long as three weeks. The incubation period will depend on temperature conditions.

Treatment

Getting Rid of Fleas

Flea treatment involves treating the animal and the environment; if you find flea larvae on your bed, you most likely have an infestation on your hands. The pupae will be in cracks and crevices around the house, and you’ll need a way to kill the newly transformed adult fleas. 

Getting rid of fleas takes a comprehensive approach, including using a vacuum for fleas. It’s best to consult with a professional when dealing with fleas.

Getting Rid of Springtails

The primary way to get rid of springtails is to reduce mold, mildew, and moisture. A good dehumidifier will work wonders. Once you dry out the environment, the springtails will leave or dry up and die.

Gocheer Upgraded Dehumidifier for Home,Up to 680 Sq.ft Dehumidifiers for Bedroom Bathroom Small Quiet Portable Air Dehumidifiers with 2000ml(68oz) Water Tank
  • High-Efficiency Dehumidifier: Equipped with a 2000ml water tank, it can quickly and effectively remove up to 1000ml (temperature: 86°F, humidity: 80%RH) of moisture from air per day. Improve the environmental quality and make your home more comfortable and healthier every moment.
  • Compact & Portable: Lightweight and portable, our home dehumidifier is suitable for different rooms (Recommended 107 ft² - 650 ft² ). You can easily put the portable dehumidifier to any place wherever you want to. It is perfect for high humidity areas like your bathroom, small basement, closet, kitchen, living room. Say goodbye to moist.
  • Easily Quiet Operation: When in operation, the dehumidifier produces less than 40dB of noise without loud or annoying noise. In addition, One-button switch design helps you easily operate the bedroom dehumidifier.
  • Automatic Shut Off: This mini portable dehumidifier will automatically shut down when the water tank is full of water to prevent the water tank from overflowing. The indicator light will turn red when the water tank needs to be emptied. It is very easy to remove the water tank and put it back in the dehumidifier.
  • Energy-Saving Dehumidifier: The electric dehumidifier is effective and energy-saving, with a power of only 48W/hour, which means that it only consumes 1.15kW of electricity after 24 hours of operation. Compared with traditional large compressors or desiccant dehumidifiers, it is environmentally friendly and cheaper.

You don’t need pest control for springtails. More importantly, springtails are a beneficial soil insect, and you don’t want to place poison out for a springtail issue. The springtails won’t feel welcome if you declutter and dehumidify the home.

Final Thoughts on Springtail vs Flea 

Springtails and fleas are both tiny, six-legged creatures that can be upsetting if you don’t know much about them. Both are more active in the evening; springtails thrive in moist environments, while fleas thrive on blood. So, fleas and springtails jump, but they are very different creatures.

You can text us if you need help with an ID.