What Are Snow Fleas And How To Control Them
People tend to either love or hate the winter season. You may think that at least during winter no bugs can survive, but this is not at all true.
You happen to spot black specks against the background of white snow and closer examination reveals that they jump. These creatures are snow fleas. If you don’t know what they are, here is a short article to tell you all about the snow fleas.
What Are Snowfleas?
Although called as Snow fleas, they are not actually a variety of fleas. They are from creatures from the Collembola order. These creatures have many different species of the type arthropod, Springtail. There are over 700 species of the Springtail in the North American continent and the most common snow flea variety is the Hypogastruna nivicola. Snow fleas are small and skinny. Their color can range from black to blue to dark grey to even yellow. Although they are unable to fly, they have an insanely high leaping capacity. They have a spring-like body part, Furcula which allows them to leap over 3 or 4 inches high.
During winter through to early spring, you could possibly spot over thousands of these creatures in the snow.
How Do Snow Fleas Survive?
Snow fleas have the capability to synthesize an antifreeze protein to protect their bodies from freezing. They produce these proteins as soon as the temperature is below a certain level. As the temperature increases this protein brakes down in the body and thus the snow flea stays alive no matter what the season. Snow fleas survive during winter without much food and are one of the toughest animals alive.
What Is Food For Snow Fleas?
Just like all other living creatures, Snow fleas also want food, water, and a mate. Snow fleas are an important part of the ecosystem because they feed on the bacteria, fungi, and algae that are present in and around their habitat. Since these fleas are sensitive to dry weather, they are attracted to moist places. They prevent dehydration by sucking on the moisture from various surfaces using a tube-like structure called Collophores.
Are Snow Fleas Dangerous?
No. They are quite harmless as they cannot bite or sting you. They do not damage food, plants, property, clothes or any other human property. They are good to the ecosystem, they feed on decaying organic matter and help to feed the garden plants. The presence of Snow fleas means a healthy soil.
Snow Flea Control
There is really not a good way to control these creatures. There is no need to worry about them as they are harmless. They are usually present all year round and are more noticeable in winter due to the stark contrast they present against the snow. So if you do spot these creatures in your backyard, there is nothing to panic about. No matter what you try to get rid of these creatures, they will always survive and come back to where ever there is wet grass, snow, or decaying plants.