Well, the temperatures are certainly dropping. Our weather sure is fickle. Snow could begin to fly on any given day. Some of us have already experienced some hail. We don’t typically associate snow with bugs, but it is certainly possible! One pest that thrives during the winter is a springtail insect.
What is a springtail, and do they harm people?
A springtail insect, also referred to as a snow flea is generally harmless to humans and do minimal damage to plants. On some snowy day, you may be out for a walk, or doing some cross-country skiing. Just in front of you, just as each step is about to be taken, you may notice an image, a peppering of black spots disappearing right before your eyes. In your mind you’re wondering what is going on here?
It is probably a springtail. Many refer to them as snow fleas because they act like fleas with their movement, or rather jumping. Whenever they are disturbed, their tail-like appendage under the abdomen springs into action. It’s like a catapult system that flings them into the air over ten centimeters. That’s quite a feat for something that’s 1/16 of an inch! If something is so small, how can you see it? Well, their black color stands out against the white of snow and there are usually hundreds or thousands of them. They aren’t afraid of winter. They don’t have to be. These pests have a glycine-rich, antifreeze type of protein that binds to ice crystals and prevents these from growing larger. This adaptation is actually being researched by the medical profession for preserving human organs for transplantation.
Normally they live in damp soil and plant debris. Their home could be your summer flowerbeds, paving stones, landscape timbers, under logs and wood piles. Their population can be millions per acre, or thousands per cubic meter of soil. Usually you never even notice them.
They love moisture. In fact, they lose water through the surface of their bodies. If it gets hot and dry, they seek areas with more moisture. It is possible for them to go indoors. Especially if there are cracks for them to enter through and your home has any moist areas. Be sure to eliminate any mold or mildew anywhere within your home. That would be a perfect place for them to thrive! Now, even though they don’t really do any damage, having these tiny jumpers by the thousands wouldn’t exactly be a good thing!
Although they don’t do much damage and are harmless to people, pets and homes, they are quite a nuisance pest to have around. Its best to leave them alone in the outdoors but if they venture inside your home, calling a pest control service ca help. If you have springtails in your home, you may be attracting other pests as well. Hi-Tech Pest Control can help eradicate your pest problem. With over 30 years’ experience and knowledge, Hi-Tech Pest Control has been successfully exterminating bed bugs, pests, rodents and insects in homes and businesses throughout southeastern Michigan. Call us for a Free Pest and Bed Bug Inspection!