Another Reason to Hate Minnesota Winters: Snow Fleas Are Here
"It's all lies!"
If you love winter because "It's cold, but that kills all the bugs," and you think all this new snow keeps you especially bug-free... you need to know something. It's all lies, Minnesota!
Sorry, There Are Winter Bugs In Minnesota
I could have gone my entire life not learning this, but since I know, you get to know. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we have snow Fleas.
That's right. Snow Fleas.
According to the University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology, "They have a somewhat plump body and have small compound eyes comprised of only eight facets in each. Snow fleas are wingless but can jump."
Well, that's great news...we have jumping snow fleas in Minnesota. Wheee! They jump using a "forked appendage held under their abdomen." The name of this fork-like appendage is great. I'm certain the discovering entomologists workshopped it really hard before calling the fork-like appendage a furcula.
Can You Spot Snow Fleas By Their Tiny Snow Shoes?
No. You cannot spot the snow fleas by their footwear. But you can find 'em "in the soil and leaf litter where they eat microscopic fungi, algae, and decaying organic matter. " In the winter they do well, and you might find them on top of big snow piles. Or near tree bases.
Do We Need to Worry About Snow Fleas in Minnesota?
No. Again, according to the U of M, they don't bite or take up space at a Taylor Swift concert...
Despite their name, snow fleas are harmless to people. They are beneficial because they help to break down organic matter, helping to enrich the soil. They are mostly a curiosity; people are surprised to see insects active on snow during winter.
Is there a but? Yes, there is almost always a big butt, and when it comes to snow fleas, the big but is...they love maple syrup (who doesn't?) and can be "pests in buckets of sap when it is being harvested."
Fun Fact: Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada have examined the anti-freeze protein that allows snow fleas to be active at colder temperatures. They believe that by better understanding these proteins, similar ones can be used to better store transplant organs and even make better ice cream!
Better ice cream? We're in! Bring on the fleas!
Speaking of fleas, dogs have been known to get fleas, so...
Check out these 50 fascinating facts about dogs:
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