The following question was sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here at Purdue University:

Springtails

Question: There appears to be a black dust gathering at the windows and doors of my house (located in a very shaded yard that is right next to the woods). On closer examination the dust was jumping up and down like little fleas, and I noticed that the toys and lawn furniture were also covered with them. What are these insects? Do I need to be concerned about this insect? Do they get inside structures? Do they bite or cause damage in any way?

Answer: The insects you noted were probably springtails. Springtails will not damage homes or bite people. Indoors, springtails are sometimes found in damp places such as cork insulation, bathrooms, around drains, and around window moldings. Springtails feed on algae, fungi, and decaying vegetable matter. The best means of obtaining control indoors is to institute measures which will lower the humidity, condensate, or other moisture availability.

**(Springtails rarely damage plants in and around yards. Thus, no need for alarm here!)

-Corey Gerber