Technical Papers

Springtails AKA Snow Fleas

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021 by Bill Cowley

 

Springtails AKA Snow Fleas - Image 1

 

Certain springtail species are referred to as "snow fleas" when found in winter, but they are not fleas at all. They are small hexapods that utilize a protein in their body that allows them to survive harsh winter temperatures. Springtails don't have wings, instead, they get around by jumping, using a unique catapult system, an action similar to that of fleas. Their jumping is especially noticeable in winter when they are contrasted against white snow. Although they do not bite like actual fleas, they are still a nuisance. 

 

With their ability to withstand almost all types of climates, springtails are found throughout the U.S. and are a nuisance all year round. They are very common around pools with nearby vegetation, air conditioning condensate drain lines, and other moist areas. They prefer damp soil, decaying logs, leaf mold, and fungi. In winter, snow fleas emerge on sunny days and gather in large numbers around bases of trees where snow has melted. Because of their small size, they look like flecks of pepper or ashes on the surface of the snow. Snow fleas do not cause any structural damage and are not a threat to family pets. Their sole diet consists of rotting plant food.