Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Information about the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

springtails infesting my . . . .

Mattress. Yes, you read that right. Is that possible? have you ever heard of such a thing. From what I've found on the internet, these are mostly soil/leaf liter critters that like moisture - can be found in basements. OK - great. I live in the mojave desert! "moisture" is not something I would typically find in my home. After an hour searching the web trying to ID my buggies, I'm now 99% sure they are springtails. And they have infested my mattress. Another night on the sofa! I doubt I could get a picture of one; they're tiny (1-

Possible, but...
My first question would be; are they on/in the matress, or more on the sheets? Second, do you have plants in your bedroom? Springtails can be very numerous in the soil of indoor plants. For example, I've found three different species in the soil of a plant in my laboratory, and I've count over ten specimens just in a pinch of soil. Thus, if they are on the sheet and that you have plants in your bedroom, I would suggest you to just move them. Springtails are harmless to your plants (and to you) and they generally don't survive long outside of a moist environment, so I don't think that you have to take more drastic measure.

springtails . . . con't
Thanks for the input. The springtails are definitely coming from the mattress - and no - no plants in the bedroom. I had stripped all the bedding from the mattress just hoping they were more in the bedding . . no such luck. I put the mattress outside on a 100+ F day in full sun for about 4 hours - bouncing up and down on occasion to pull hot air into it. Washed all the bedding. Brought the mattress in - and waited . . more buggies! Darn!! So I vacuumed the mattress 1-2 times at night for the past 3 days - fewer springtails each time, and will continue probably every other day for . . at least a couple weeks. I'll have to look up the life cycle of this bug so I know how long before all the eggs are hatched and I've vacuumed the last one!

It's curious . . . I've had this mattress for 2 years and never had a problem. I live in the desert - it's not a humid place! The springtails appeared about 2-3 weeks ago. As I had seen them on the bedding, I figured they had come in from outside (not knowing what they were at first) and didn't give them much thought; nights have been considerably warmer and windows and doors open more at night. But the numbers were increasing each night . . . and here I am!

thanks again for your help


Ok, that is a bite strange. I never heard anything like that, but in the same time, I'm not a springtails specialist. All I can add is that almost all species feed on small fungus or on decaying plant material. If they breed in the mattress, it means they have something to eat, maybe try to look for that.
I know that some species from arid regions (such as desert) are able to go in a kind of dormancy when condition go to harsh for them, so putting the mattress in a hot and dry condition is maybe useless (as your experience seems to demonstrate). Furthermore, springtails generally have a fast life cycle with multiple generations cohabiting, so waiting for all eggs to hatch would not be possible I think.

yeah . ..
" . . . so waiting for all eggs to hatch would not be possible I think."
that is not encouraging! hmmmm . .

well, it seems I may have been dealing with immature individuals until now . . last night on mattress patrol before bed, I found a much larger (still small but 3-4x larger than the others) individual; black. I vacuumed it up too fast before I realized I could have photographed that one! this one was maybe 7-9 mm; very similar, but again, I didn't look closely.

yeah - the whole fungus thing doesnt' make sense either - it's not like the mattress has been wet or anything. Although the bedroom did experience a leak in the ceiling (water pipe broke) - which got walls and floor (concrete slab; replaced carpet and pad) wet, but that was 6 years ago before I bought the house and there has never been any indication of mold/fungus (love that desert heat now!!).

I don't get it . .

thanks again


Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.