Attack of the killer snow bugs

Get your kid.

Take them outside.

Find a patch of snow, preferably around the base of a tree or by a ditch, usually in the shade. See those black dots there? No, not the dirt, that’s brownish and probably too big. The tiny black dots. Yeah, those.

Look closer.

Notice anything?

Yeah. They’re moving. That’s not dirt. Dirt doesn’t jump like that.

What are those things?

Those are snow fleas, or springtails. They are harmless, don’t worry. They don’t want to bite you or get into your house. They just hang around, eating leaf litter and other plant matter. They actually are around all year, we just notice them more in the early spring because they like to hang out on top of the snow where their color makes them more visible.* No one really knows why. Maybe they just need a little fresh air. Aren’t we all desperate for that these days?

Now you know.

Snow fleas.

*All of this information was learned during the research portion of my daughter’s science fair project from last year: Bugs in Winter. Please let me know if you’d like a copy of her executive summary.

Cherie Galyean

About Cherie Galyean

In a perfect world, Cherie Galyean would spend hours every day chasing her kids up hiking trails, pretending to garden, and baking things. Instead, she works full-time in the non-profit sector and fits those other things in-between loads of laundry in her free time. A Maine native with multiple hometowns, she currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and the best shelter mutt in the world.