Springtails

Description Very small - 1 to 2 mm. in length. Color ranges from whitish to a dark gray. Can crawl or "hop" with the use of an appendage called a "furcula" that folds from the insect's abdomen tip underneath to the front. When disturbed the furcula is released propelling the springtail into the air away from danger.    
Habits Feed off certain types of fungus, generally. Do not bite and are attracted to light. Often occur in very rich, moist soil.    
Lifespan/Reproduction In Southern California, springtails will generally breed and live during the cooler winter months in areas with fairly constant shade, moisture, and nutrients for fungus. They cannot live indoors long because of rapid body moisture loss.    
Problems Encountered Springtails can occur in large numbers, becoming more of a nuisance than a health hazard. They generally do not pose a great threat to food or the environment.    
Tips for Prevention Trimming vegetation and allowing the area that is the source of the springtail infestation to dry will help in killing these pests faster. Reducing the amount of mulch can also help in preventing future infestations. Generally the problem lasts until the area has dried sufficiently to eliminate the population of springtails.