Snow Fleas

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With the first major storm coming to the Albany NY region, let’s talk snow fleas. What, snow has fleas? Does something like this really exist? Yes! Most of us have never noticed snow fleas, unique little creatures that are really very common.

Where do snow fleas come from?

  • On a warm, sunny winter day, look at the base of a tree where the snow may have melted down to expose some leaves, or where the snow is shallow or hollowed out just a bit.
  • Snow fleas come out on warm, sunny days to eat decayed plant material or sap oozing from the tree.

What do snow fleas look like?

  • Look for a sprinkling of what looks like "pepper" or "ashes" on the surface of the snow. Each speck you see is a snow flea.
  • Two "tails" on their back end act as a catapult system tucked up underneath their belly, held in place by tiny "hooks."
  • When the springtail wants to move, they just release the spring-loaded "tails," which hit the snow and send them flying into the air.
  • Since snow fleas can't control their flight or direction, they frequently land in the same spot or only a few inches away.

Where do snow fleas get their name from?

  • They hop around acting like fleas and that's where they get their name, snow "fleas."
  • They're not fleas though, but actually an arthropod called Collembola or commonly called springtails which measure about 1/8 inch long

This weekend as you are playing in the snow, shoveling or snow blowing take a look around and see if you can spy springtails, commonly called "snow fleas." These moisture driven pests have a special protein which acts as anti-freeze, allowing them to survive winter temperatures. Springtails and snow fleas are harmless, but if you are concerned with pests in your home, contact Thomas Pest Services, your Albany pest control professional who can help!

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