On a sunny, mild day in February, a friend and I strolled along the East-West Trail in the Bangor City Forest. Gradually it came to our attention that there were specks of black dotting the snow, like someone had vigorously shaken a pepper container, leaving pepper strewn about the trail.
A few feet on, a huge cluster of these dark specks were gathered in a sunken boot track. It looked like a splotch of black paint. As we paused, peering more closely, we noticed that some of the peppery dots were hopping. Springtails.
While still gazing at these dots, two walkers paused to see what we were looking at. Without hesitation, we simultaneously answered, “Snow fleas.” With a hint of anxiousness, the woman blurted out, “Do they bite?” Hastily we reassured her that these were springtails and not related to fleas. They do not bite. They are safe.