One of the true joys of an Iowa winter is the lack of bugs. Thankfully, mosquitoes are nowhere to be seen in below zero temps. However, one pesky springtail is none to thrive in Iowa snowbanks and yards during the coldest time of the year.

It's a tiny insect that you've probably given little thought to, but depending on a few factors, they can spread quickly in and around Midwestern homes.

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According to the University of Minnesota's Department of Entomology, the snow flea is a type of springtail insect that is only about 1/10 of an inch long and is wingless but can jump at a fairly long distance, given their small size.

This tiny insect lives underneath leaves and in moist areas and is more resilient to the cold than most bugs.

Snow fleas are considered harmless to humans and don't bite, but they can be a nuisance, especially in the later winter months.

Snow fleas tend to congregate in large groups and feed on decaying organic matter in outdoors environments. However, when there is a lack of moisture, and decaying matter in their environment or too much moisture then the snow flea will travel indoors. Though snow fleas are harmless they can be considered a nuisance if found indoors due to their ability to damage paper or fabric products with their waste.

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Snow fleas normally aren't noticed until the end of winter, but if you want to make sure your home and yard are free of them, you can do a few simple things.

  1. Make sure to rake your yard of all the loose leaves and composite this fall
  2. Ensure your basement is relatively moisture-free this winter by investing in a dehumidifier.

The Snow Flea (Springtail) is abundant throughout the Midwest including in the state of Iowa. As the snow begins to pile up in Iowa yards during the winter months, these tiny bugs will make the snowbanks their home.

Story Sources: Farmers' Almanac WebsiteUniversity of Minnesota Department of Entomology Website

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