Shipping Springtails - A Rant

Gail

Arachnopixie
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
552
OK, so I am getting to be at my wits end with trying to get springtails. I have recently expanded my isopod bins, although 'expanded' may not be the word for it. I've more than doubled my enclosures as I prepare to split out colonies and continue to work on isolating color morphs. I like to get new culture bins well started with springtails, preferably before adding the isopods. I don't have enough springtails across my other bins to heavily seed all of my new bins. No big deal, I'll order them online. Right..?

So first set of two16 oz cultures that were touted as supposedly thousands of springtails in each was sent on clay and was about the best of what I have received so far - meaning that hundreds of them were still alive - but the clay shifted around in transit and literally suffocated thousands. But fine, there were still a lot, enough for one enclosure to be seeded.

Decide to try again, with someone who looked by their pictures would be sending on a lightweight substrate instead of clay. This second set of three was from one of those too good to be true deals... and it was, so shame on me. Got three deli cups full of mite infested dirt with a few nematodes and 11 springtails total (I looked... long and hard with a lighted 10x magnifier lamp). So got a refund on those and moved on.

Figuring the third time is going to be a charm, added two cultures to an order from another vendor along with two isopod cultures I was getting. They are often slow to respond and ship, as many have mentioned, but I have always had good quality bugs from them. Order arrived today and the 'pods came in beautifully healthy, just as I expected. The two cultures of springtails... not so much. Tropical pinks were mostly OK, but the substrate they shipped on was bark chunks and several dozen were smashed. No big deal though, there were plenty to seed a single culture. But the standard white springtails - a 1000 count - nearly all dead. A very generous guess is less than 100 alive. I guess whomever was packing the order didn't take note that the paper towels they put in the cup to ship them in were way over saturated. In fact, there was like half an inch of water in the deli cup and only three balled up paper towels for the bugs to climb on. Because everything was so wet, the towels collapsed onto themselves into a big mushy ball of wet goop, suffocated the springtails within the towels and the rest drowned in the water. I emailed them, they are usually good about fixing problems so I'm not too worried, but still... I am hella short on what I need to heavily seed dozens of new bins...

I am waiting on a shipment from one more vendor - placed after order #2 and as a backup to order #3 order in case they ran into troubles shipping on time. This one is from an Etsy vendor - because they said 'Cultures on cocofiber and spaghnum to make shipping easier on them '. I have four large cultures coming which I hope - if they are as described and alive - will let me seed at least another 8 bins. If I can do that, I will be able to rob Peter to pay Paul from my established bins to seed the rest of the new bins enough to not need to wait weeks for springtail explosions. As long as I can have at least 10 bins ready to use within the next week, the rest can take the time to naturally build up the springtails.

So the point of this whole rant is this - what IS the best way to ship springtails so that they are not crushed, suffocated, or drowned? I mean come on, there must be a way, and I hope it is The Etsy vendor's way. Have I just been terribly unlucky in the cultures I have ordered?

<shuffles off grumbling to herself and trying to figure out if I have room for another bin rack since I just found another color morph in my main A. vulgare culture... bins, need more bins>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

moricollins

Arachno search engine
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 15, 2003
Messages
3,395
I've only shipped springtails a few times but I've had success using two methods (I will note that I don't sell springtail cultures I sometimes include a small culture of springtails when I sell Isopods).

I've shipped them three ways:
1. Springtails in a cup with a load of shredded leaves and a light mist of water; the leaves provide stability for the springtails
2. Fill a container almost all the way up with coco fibre, add springtails, ship. The lack of space to move around helps keep the springtails from being squished.
3. Fill a cup with shredded coco fibre (from a coco fibre mat), mist and add springtails. The shredded coco fibre sheet will provide climbing spaces and stability for the springtails.

Anyways, that's how I ship mine when I do ship them.

If you want pictures of what I mean for the 3rd way I can take some tomorrow
 

inky joyfuls

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
1
i just got a shipment. apologies for the terrible quality pictures. they know what's up, jar full of healthy active springtails. 20210417_075038.jpg 20210417_075022.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dry Desert

Arachnodemon
Active Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
734
OK, so I am getting to be at my wits end with trying to get springtails. I have recently expanded my isopod bins, although 'expanded' may not be the word for it. I've more than doubled my enclosures as I prepare to split out colonies and continue to work on isolating color morphs. I like to get new culture bins well started with springtails, preferably before adding the isopods. I don't have enough springtails across my other bins to heavily seed all of my new bins. No big deal, I'll order them online. Right..?

So first set of two16 oz cultures that were touted as supposedly thousands of springtails in each was sent on clay and was about the best of what I have received so far - meaning that hundreds of them were still alive - but the clay shifted around in transit and literally suffocated thousands. But fine, there were still a lot, enough for one enclosure to be seeded.

Decide to try again, with someone who looked by their pictures would be sending on a lightweight substrate instead of clay. This second set of three was from one of those too good to be true deals... and it was, so shame on me. Got three deli cups full of mite infested dirt with a few nematodes and 11 springtails total (I looked... long and hard with a lighted 10x magnifier lamp). So got a refund on those and moved on.

Figuring the third time is going to be a charm, added two cultures to an order from another vendor along with two isopod cultures I was getting. They are often slow to respond and ship, as many have mentioned, but I have always had good quality bugs from them. Order arrived today and the 'pods came in beautifully healthy, just as I expected. The two cultures of springtails... not so much. Tropical pinks were mostly OK, but the substrate they shipped on was bark chunks and several dozen were smashed. No big deal though, there were plenty to seed a single culture. But the standard white springtails - a 1000 count - nearly all dead. A very generous guess is less than 100 alive. I guess whomever was packing the order didn't take note that the paper towels they put in the cup to ship them in were way over saturated. In fact, there was like half an inch of water in the deli cup and only three balled up paper towels for the bugs to climb on. Because everything was so wet, the towels collapsed onto themselves into a big mushy ball of wet goop, suffocated the springtails within the towels and the rest drowned in the water. I emailed them, they are usually good about fixing problems so I'm not too worried, but still... I am hella short on what I need to heavily seed dozens of new bins...

I am waiting on a shipment from one more vendor - placed after order #2 and as a backup to order #3 order in case they ran into troubles shipping on time. This one is from an Etsy vendor - because they said 'Cultures on cocofiber and spaghnum to make shipping easier on them '. I have four large cultures coming which I hope - if they are as described and alive - will let me seed at least another 8 bins. If I can do that, I will be able to rob Peter to pay Paul from my established bins to seed the rest of the new bins enough to not need to wait weeks for springtail explosions. As long as I can have at least 10 bins ready to use within the next week, the rest can take the time to naturally build up the springtails.

So the point of this whole rant is this - what IS the best way to ship springtails so that they are not crushed, suffocated, or drowned? I mean come on, there must be a way, and I hope it is The Etsy vendor's way. Have I just been terribly unlucky in the cultures I have ordered?

<shuffles off grumbling to herself and trying to figure out if I have room for another bin rack since I just found another color morph in my main A. vulgare culture... bins, need more bins>
I don't Know why people find the need to mist/spray inverts that are shiipped. I've even had desert species shipped with soaking wet tissue. For overnight, or even 2/3 days it's not necessary, as they shouldn't be sent if due to molt anyway, so really no need to send things soaking wet - if the temperature drops it causes more harm than good.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

moricollins

Arachno search engine
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 15, 2003
Messages
3,395
I don't Know why people find the need to mist/spray inverts that are shiipped. I've even had desert species shipped with soaking wet tissue. For overnight, or even 2/3 days it's not necessary, as they shouldn't be sent if due to molt anyway, so really no need to send things soaking wet - if the temperature drops it causes more harm than good.
Springtails require much more humidity than most other terrestrial invertebrates ... A dry culture of springtails is going to be a dead culture of springtails
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

Arachnodemon
Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
747
1. Springtails in a cup with a load of shredded leaves and a light mist of water; the leaves provide stability for the springtails
i received a batch of springtails that were packaged this way and it was a lively, happy mass of springtails indeed. Easy to seed multiple enclosures with, too - just transferred one or two of the leaves to each enclosure. Job done.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Gail

Arachnopixie
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
552
2. Fill a container almost all the way up with coco fibre, add springtails, ship. The lack of space to move around helps keep the springtails from being squished.
This is how they were shipped from the Etsy vendor - got them today and FINALLY - four containers bursting with thousands of springtails that are very much alive and healthy. The substrate was not too wet, but not too dry and not compacted - perfect Goldilocks zone. I was able to seed the 8 enclosures I wanted heavily seeded.

i just got a shipment. apologies for the terrible quality pictures. they know what's up, jar full of healthy active springtails.
Ah that looks like they used smaller chunks of charcoal. In the past, when I've been sent springtails on charcoal the chunks were very large and smashed a bunch of them in transit. I must say I am surprised that smaller chunks didn't smash them more, but if it works, that is all that matters.

Springtails require much more humidity than most other terrestrial invertebrates ... A dry culture of springtails is going to be a dead culture of springtails
I totally agree that shipping springtails dry is not a good idea - but the culture I got was way too wet - I think it was just a mistake. Packing in a hurry and not noticing that too much water was added. To Dry Desert's point...

I don't Know why people find the need to mist/spray inverts that are shipped. I've even had desert species shipped with soaking wet tissue.
...I have to agree on this so far as most species of inverts are concerned. Especially with spiders, it can be more harmful than helpful to have a normally dry loving species shipped exceedingly wet.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

coolnweird

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Messages
87
I recently got a culture from the vendor mentioned above with the small charcoal pieces, and they arrived healthy and happy, same as the other poster!
 
Top