Why Are My Springtails Dying? {They Can Be Revived!}

Are you having trouble keeping your springtails alive? Why are my springtails dying?

Are there any tell-tale signs to notice that your springtails are unhealthy? What are some tips that may help you to maintain a healthy and active springtail population in your terrarium?

In this article, we will discuss why your springtails are dying and what we can do to keep them alive longer.

Why Are My Springtails Dying?

The number one cause of springtail death is movement of the charcoal or cultures during transit or changes to your terrarium. It’s best to add several layers of charcoal to your culture container.

You may need to start over again by pouring purified water into a container about half an inch to 1 inch. After this you can introduce your starter springtails with a pinch of yeast.

Do Springtails Die Easy?

Yes. Here some possible reasons why springtails die:

  1. Springtails do not have a tough outer body the way that fleas do. This makes it easy for springtails to be crushed accidentally.
  2. Springtails die easily during transit. Moving their culture or not having enough charcoal layers is a problem. They are rolling inside, make it easy for them to die when there’s too much shifting and moving around.
  3. In other cases there are types of fungi that can prey on springtails. These fungi end up digesting springtails and moving along the nutritional value to your plants and roots.
  4. Springtails can also die from a lack of moisture, and infestation of gnats or lack of oxygen.
  5. A terrarium that is too clean will allow be detrimental for springtails who require mold to feast on.

Why Are My Springtails Not Moving?

It could be alarming to see your springtails motionless. In some cases the culture could be rotting. There could be too much CO2 as a result.

Opening your container and seeing your springtails not moving could mean that they are dead, but there is a chance to revive them.

Leave the culture open by creating a gap of air between the container and the lid. You may also remove the lid altogether.

A lot of fresh air to enter the terrarium for about half an hour maximum. In this time, you may notice some springtails springing back to life. An excess of CO2 is now being dispersed while oxygen is flowing into the terrarium.

This simple step can help to revive a population of springtails that has not yet died. It is up to us to notice inactivity in springtails and react accordingly to save them before it’s too late.

How Long Does It Take for Springtails to Die?

Springtails can die in one to two days. Active springtails that are noticed around our properties can turn into an invasion or infestation that we do not wish to welcome.

If you are keeping springtails in captivity in the terrarium for example, they can die easily when you are moving or shifting things around inside it.

It’s important to have layers of charcoal and a healthy culture that starts from brewer’s yeast for example.

Springtails that you are keeping a your terrarium can die overnight, If there is a buildup of CO2, not enough moisture or an infestation of predatory gnats. treating an infestation of springtails around your property could take anywhere between a day or two to 3 to 6 weeks.

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Do Springtails Die Without Water?

Springtails need water and will die without it. The way they get water is by absorbing it through the air. Water and oxygen is able to flow through pores in their bodies to keep them hydrated.

During this time springtails also ingest:

  • mold
  • bacteria
  • algae
  • fungi

They enjoy controlling the outbreak of unwanted bacteria, mold and fungi in your terrarium and this is why they are an important part of the ecosystem that you’re managing.

Always keep in mind that moisture is a good friend to springtails. Without moisture, their bodies will dry up and they will not be able to receive the water that they need. All terrariums must have a healthy balance of moisture and humidity.

Sometimes we need to open the terrarium in order for CO2 to escape and 15 to 30 minutes of fresh oxygen may help to revive your springtails who may have been dehydrating during this time.

Do Springtails Need Oxygen and Light?

Springtails don’t have a respiratory system, but they still need oxygen in order to survive. Springtails do not need light to reproduce. They are active during the dark and the light hitting them usually causes springtails to scatter looking for shelter or a place to hide.

When it comes to oxygen, springtails are able to allow their bodies to absorb it through their skin or soft shell. Since springtails are only grow to 2 mm in length, they do not need a steady supply of oxygen.

Most terrariums have a higher balance of CO2 gases. As long as the moisture levels continue to remain balanced with CO2, there should be enough oxygen for springtails to absorb through the air and water.

How Do I Know if my Springtails are Dying?

Springtails need a steady supply of mold from your terrarium. There are many possible reasons why your springtails are dying. We would like to list a few of them below:

  • Sometimes your terrarium is too clean. They need mold to survive. 
  • The volume of air is too small inside the terrarium.
  • The proportion of CO2 to oxygen is varying too much between the day and night.
  • Springtails are receiving too much light.
  • There is too much hydrogen sulfide in the terrarium because of excess moisture. This causes the
  • terrarium to smell like rotten eggs.
  • Your springtails are not receiving enough food. Add moist fish flakes or raisins.
  • Consider not using a completely sealed terrarium. Your springtails might need more air.

Your springtails may not be dead but only hiding and dormant when the lid is closed for too long.


It is up to us to maintain the moisture to allow enough mold to grow for springtails to eat. We must also balance the amount of CO2 to oxygen in order for springtails to be revived if they are lying dormant for too long.

If you are moving your culture to a larger container, gnats can get into it. You may have to get rid of this nuisance pest who could feed on your springtails. They also compete with springtails for available food.

Not enough mold in a very clean terrarium can cause springtails to die easily. Be careful when moving your springtails from one location to another as this is usually the main cause of their death.


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Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable