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Semi-Arid Springtail Care Guide
Some springtails that we consider semi-arid require slightly specialized care, but it is not much different than our normal Soil Care Guide. The only difference is that there is more ventilation and a small dry area.
--Soil (could be Springtail Soil, topsoil, coir, etc.)
--Sealed bin (We use the "Ziploc Deep Rectangle Containers")
--400 mesh: 35μm ultrafine mesh (Can be bought at Springtails US)
--Glue (We use hot glue)
-- Cross ventilation or a medium sized lid vent on the dry side is key for some semi-arid species, they need the added airflow it provides. We find that cross ventilation is superior to a lid vent for maintaining the low humidity on the dry side.
--Cut or drill your ventilation on the front 1/4 of the bin or lid and glue your mesh over the vents, the side that you ventilate will be your dry side. Unlike true arid springtails, semi-arid springtails only require a small amount of cross ventilation or a medium sized vent on the lid.
--Add 1-3 inches of soil to your container.
--The ventilation will slowly start to dry out the soil on it's end. Allow 25% of the soil to dry out and keep the other 75% wet. The semi-arid springtails this guide is recommended for will will benefit from having acess to a dry area which is lower in humidity.
Care and Harvesting:
--Other than having extra ventilation and a dry side the rest of their care is similar to other springtails. Just feed them springtail food every 3-7 days (make sure all food is eaten between feedings and not to feed so much that it rots or molds) and make sure the wet side stays wet.
--The easiest way to harvest from soil is to have bark, charcoal, or other hides in the culture for them to gather on. You can then pick these pieces up with tongs and tap them off wherever they are needed. You can also use an entomology aspirator to easily collect them directly off the soil.
--Lowered humidity and a proper dry side is very helpful for some semi-arid species. They also enjoy leaf litter and other clutter which creates micro-gradients in humidity that better allow them to regulate their needs. The air will be humid below the clutter and dry above.
--Semi-arid springtail bins will dry out faster than normal. Be sure that at least 1/2 of the soil is moist at all times.
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