Yes… Snow Fleas Are Real And In Illinois
Hopefully, this story doesn't make you feel too itchy, but I learned something new, and I don't want to be the only one who suffers from this knowledge.
Fun Fact: Snow fleas are a thing, and if it snows where you live, there is a chance you just might run into them. Good news though... they aren't nearly as bad as real fleas.
What Are Snow Fleas?
Snow fleas are not actually fleas — and officially, they aren’t classified as insects, either, 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.
While these things are not actually fleas, they happen to look a lot like fleas. During warmer periods in the winter, when the snow melts, these critters can be found dotting the snow. Snow fleas also have the same super-powered jumping ability that regular fleas have.
Thankfully snow fleas are also way less terrible than real fleas.
Snow Fleas Don’t Bite!
Thankfully snow fleas do not bite, and have a cool way of staying alive,
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.
Still, check for snow fleas when around trees and melting snow.