It’s a known fact that most insects tend to disappear during the winter. But the question is where do they go? More importantly, will the cold weather exterminate them for a more pleasant spring? Can cold winter’s kill those pesky bugs? Here is what we know about the winter tendencies of our six legged friends. For us to know if cold weather can kill insects, we need to understand what insects usually do during the winter. There are three main paths bugs can take to survive.
Diapause is the insect equivalent of hibernation. Insects like beetles are excellent at stowing away in safe, warmer places to lie dormant until spring. They usually burrow into the ground, inside logs, under rocks, or in any crack they can find. Ants have tunnels that are already underground, which makes their survival an easy task, while bees stay in their safe hives for the winter. In addition, some insect
populations do not come from adults surviving the winter, but their eggs doing so in their place.
Some insects that cannot withstand harsh winters opt to relocate to warmer climates. Butterflies and dragonflies migrate south in large groups. However, the insects that return in the spring are not the same ones that fled during the winter. Once in warmer weather, insects reproduce and die, leaving their offspring to make the journey north when spring returns.
Insects that cannot survive under cold conditions but are not able to migrate or diapause tend to seek warmth wherever they can. In most cases, they find their way into homes and other places where people spend their time. Houses are a safe haven, providing everything an insect could want; warmth, shelter, and food. That is why it is important to be vigilant in looking for uninvited pest guests in your home
What kind of cold does it take?
So how cold does it have to be for insects to start dying off during the winter? The answer varies from species to species. Some insects have evolved and have the ability to super-cool or become frost resistant. For those who are not so lucky, when the weather drops below freezing, the chances of surviving are drastically lower. However, it is important to note how long the cold persists along with how cold the weather actually gets. Some insect species will die after a few hours, while others like termites can survive up to ten days in frigid weather.
The long-winded answer to our original question, can a cold winter kill bugs for the spring, is this. It depends on the species. Most insects during the winter are either in a state of diapause or have migrated away for the season. As for the insects left, it all
comes down to how cold it gets and how long it stays that way.
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