Springtail infestation leaves tenant at her wits’ end

A close up of a springtail collembola.
A close up of a springtail collembola.

A Lisburn woman whose home was infested with ‘springtails’ has called on the Housing Executive to make urgent improvements to her property.

Georgina McClure said she was at her “wits’ end” after hundreds of the tiny insects took up residence in the kitchen and bathroom of her Drumard Drive bungalow.

There were hundreds of the tiny insects in Georgina McClure's kitchen cupboards.

There were hundreds of the tiny insects in Georgina McClure's kitchen cupboards.

Georgina, who has lived in the property since October 2016, says she initially thought her dogs had fleas, but eventually realised the problem was a springtail infestation.

“There were hundreds of them in my bathroom and in my kitchen cupboards. It was disgusting. I couldn’t even cook in the house or nothing,” she explained.

After receiving a complaint about the problem, the Housing Executive sent out a contractor to get rid of the creepy crawlies.

Speaking after the visit by the pest control expert on Wednesday, August 16, Georgina said: “The pest control guy said he’d never come across an infestation like it in his life; he said it was the worst one he’d ever seen.”

The kitchen and bathroom at Georgina McClure's Drumard Drive home were infested with springtails.

The kitchen and bathroom at Georgina McClure's Drumard Drive home were infested with springtails.

The 44-year-old, who is registered disabled and has a number of serious health problems, said the insect infestation was the latest in a long list of problems at the property.

Springtails are attracted to moisture and organic material such as decaying wood and mould, and Georgina believes their presence points to a serious damp problem.

“Mine is the only bungalow in whole estate that hasn’t been renovated,” she claimed. “The rest were completed over a year ago but mine wasn’t done because of an issue with the previous tenant.

“My house is falling apart and they won’t do anything for me. Why am I having to live with bugs, ceiling falling down, bits of wall falling off, black mould and damp - why do I have to live like this?

“The black, hairy mould is growing everywhere and all they ever do is send somebody out to give it a wipe. I could do that myself. They need to fix the cause of the problem, the damp.

“I just hope and pray they continue fixing the place up, because I can’t live like this.”

Responding to the tenant’s concerns about the condition of the property, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “We were first made aware of this complaint on Friday, August 11, and a maintenance manager visited the house on Monday, August 14, to assess the situation.

“A contractor treated the insect problem on Wednesday, August 16, and we will also be investigating if there are issues with damp in the property.”