GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After the winter storm last week, you may have noticed what look like clumps of dirt on top of the snow. But if you look closer, that dirt may actually be bugs.
Snow fleas show up every year, but you may have never noticed them before. That's the case with Justine VanAlstine, a Plainfield Township resident who couldn't believe what she saw on her front porch.
It all started with a video she got from her husband.
"It just looked like dirt at first, and then he zoomed in, and they're just jumping everywhere," says VanAlstine.
At the time, she didn't know what a snow flea was.
"He's like, there's all sorts of weird bugs on the ground," says VanAlstine. "And I'm like, that's gross."
At first, there was concern they would get inside.
"They were just all along the door," she says. "And we just got a puppy a couple of weeks ago, so we've been in and out a lot."
But after some research, she feels a little better.
According to Michigan State University, snow fleas aren't like the fleas you would normally think of. They don't bite and are harmless to humans and pets, and thrive in freezing temperatures. Scientists even say they're an important part of a strong ecosystem, helping create healthy soil.
Even so, VanAlstine isn't ready to get cozy with them yet.
"I understand they're harmless, but I still don't want them in the house," she says.
Experts suggest the best way to keep them out of your house is to dry it out any way you can. This can be done with a dehumidifier or fixing leaky pipes.
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