Yes, Snow Fleas Are Real and They Live Right Here in Colorado
According to a report from the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado Snow Fleas hang out between 7,500- and 12,000-feet above sea level in forested mountain slopes.
Learning About Colorado Snow Fleas
As a non-native to Colorado, I'm learning new things each and every day. Today, however, when I stumbled across the term "snow flea" I immediately thought, "no way!"
Just thinking about a bug sends chills down my spine, and I was certain that I'd be dealing with a lot fewer insects here in the midwest versus the south.
Apparently, I was wrong because Colorado State University reports that 80 different species of fleas live in Colorado, which is among the greatest number found in any state!
What Are Colorado Snow Fleas?
Since the initial shock has worn off, I can explain what a snow flea really is. A Colorado snow flea is in fact, not even a flea at all! Snow fleas are actually classified as hexapods and are more commonly referred to as Springtails.
These tiny creatures are only 2.5mm long and are, "black with a bronze iridescence, and they are covered in small white hairs that can only be seen with the aid of a microscope."
To make things even a bit more confusing, the Farmer's Almanac states that Springtails (snow fleas) are actually more closely related to crustaceans than insects.
How the snow flea has more in common with a lobster than an insect has my head spinning, but it is what it is.
Why Are They Called Colorado Snow Fleas If They Aren't Fleas?
Springtails, appear very similar to your average flea, and they even jump long distances like the average flea. However, Springtails actually have a tail that assists them in making these jumps, hence the name.
Are Colorado Snow Fleas Harmful?
Now the question that we all want the answer to - do those little crustacean suckers bite?
Thank goodness, the answer is no, Colorado snow fleas do not bite.
In fact, snow fleas are incredibly beneficial to our environment as they munch on and help decompose organic material. So, they may be ugly, but they have an important job to do in Colorado!