With warm weather approaching this weekend (maybe 45 to 50 F), we may start to see snow fleas. The insect order Collembola, known by the common name springtails, appears on snow usually at the base of trees or other vegetation, where some areas have melted away to soil. Species of springtails needs a high level of humidity and feed on algae, fungi, and decomposing vegetable material. As we get toward march, children (or adults) playing in the snow on warmer days may see snow fleas in large numbers in those areas at the base of vegetation. The other common name for species of springtails, “snow fleas,” is applied to them when they appear on snow. The flea reference comes from the ability of this small gray wingless insect to jump suddenly by means of a forked appendage on the underside of the abdomen. Do not worry, this insect usually occurs outside only (or with extremely high humidity inside). This insect also cannot and will not bite people.
Pest management is not needed, but if necessary for control indoors, lowering the humidity will control most species of springtails.
For excellent information on snow fleas, look at this link from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, EEK! Website for kids.