Yes… Snow Fleas Are Real And In Iowa
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?
According to iastate.edu, and other sources... "snow fleas" are not actually fleas. They also thrive in the winter.
Despite its name the snow flea is not a flea, it is part of a group of insects called springtails. Springtails are harmless insects found in damp areas where they feed on fungi and decaying organic matter. Springtails get their name form their ability to use a tail-like apparatus to jump
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. Still, I would not recommend rolling around with snow 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.