The warming sun is slowly melting the hard packed snow; and as it does there are left many small puddles. If you take a close look at these puddles you will see hundreds of tiny black specks around them and floating on them. These specks, on real close observation, move; some even jump. What you are seeing are snow fleas.

Not much is known about snow fleas except when the season is right to tap the maple trees for sap, out of nowhere come thousands of these tiny creatures. They gather in great numbers around a leaking tap that’s running sap down the trunk.

The snow fleas don’t seem to be harmful to anything. When I was young and first saw them and was told what they were, my reaction was to quit eating snow; and I haven’t eaten any since.

Under a microscope you will notice they have long slender bodies with segments conspicuously distinct. For some reason not all are equipped with a jumping ability.

It’s not known where they come from; but we know they disappear with the spring rains.

Except for being a pain to maple sap processors, they don’t seem to damage or hurt anything or anybody.

The good news is that after you spot them you know that warmer weather is on its way and if you look around you can spot spring coming. The willow trees will glow golden as the buds start growing. The maple trees put forth dots of reddish buds. Next to the foundation of your home, the spring flowers you planted last fall are sticking their heads up to welcome the heat from a warmer sun.

So, I guess, the only good thing about snow fleas is to this nature observer that they herald the coming of spring and the return of life to many things.

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