Michigan Snow Fleas—Say What?

There are certain bug species that we do not commonly associate with winter—and snow.  However, Michigan feels the need to be different and set apart from all the other states.

Imagine the scene—you are taking a walk on a sunny winter’s day, through the recently fallen snow—leaving your footprints in the white fluffy stuff.

At some time, you look down and see that there seems to be what appears to be tiny black bugs jumping around in your footprint–not just one or two of them, but what seems to be hundreds, maybe even thousands of them.

Image: YouTube

Your first thoughts go to fleas, but that couldn’t be right, as fleas are a warmer weather bug and not commonly seen or dealt with in the cold winter months.  After a little research, you find that they are fleas—Michigan snow fleas—which are also known to some by the name of springtails.

The official scientific name is Hypogastrura harveyi/nivivcola.  This flea species survive and thrive during the winter months, even in snow, as they take up residence around and inside of tree trunks and local foliage.

And the worst part is there are thousands of the calling your yard their winter wonderland.

Image: Whats That Bug?

There is a good side to all of this, in that although they look like and are referred to as fleas, they are nothing like your traditional fleas.

Although they admittedly bear a strong resemblance to the usual fleas that your pets may deal with, this species has no plans to enter your house or make your pets their main course.

No, what they prefer for their menu is the bacteria, decay, and fungus that is present in your yard or garden.

The best time to see them is on a warm day when they will rise to the top of the snow and got in search of a meal.  They are not looking for a warm home or a person or pet to bite. They just want to make the most of the meal that is your garden or yard.