Wait, Snow Fleas Are A Real Thing In New York State?
One nice thing about our crazy winters in Upstate New York, we don't generally deal with bugs. However, you might hear someone use the term "Snow Fleas" this year. Are they real bugs?
Before you panic, snow fleas are real and they usually don't go inside your home. You will find snow fleas in snow banks and the snow around the tree trunks in your yard. Here in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, many have spotted them n Madison County, and Oneida County.
According to Farmers Almanac, snow fleas are not actually fleas, they aren’t even classified as insects even though they do look like bugs:
These small wingless creatures are often referred to as “springtails,” but their scientific name is Hypogastrura harveyi or Hypogastrura nivicola, depending on the species. Snow fleas are classified as hexapods, which is a subtype of the arthropod family. Like insects, snow fleas have six legs but researchers say that they are more closely related to crustaceans."
Snow fleas are not parasitic, which means you and your pets are safe from bites. Again, they don't bite. In the summer time, they can be found on top of rich topsoil. You've probably missed them because they are so small and dark. During the winter, it's a little easier to spot them.
So why do snow fleas come out in the winter? Farmers Almanac says snow fleas produce their own type of antifreeze, a protein that is rich in the amino acid glycine.
Glycine prevents the formation and enlargement of ice crystals, enabling these creatures to keep on munching organic materials despite the bitter cold. You’ll see them on warmer days when the snow melts because snow fleas are rising to the surface of the snow in search of new food sources."
Have you ever seen snow fleas? Text us on our app and let us know.