Gnats, flies, mosquitos, bees…we’re used to seeing and hearing them frequently in spring, summer, and sometimes fall. But they’re obviously not around when the weather starts to turn cold. So where do they go? What do they do? What do they eat? You’d think it’s so cold that they’d all die, yet every year they come back like clockwork.
You might be surprised to learn that the answers to these questions greatly depends on the type of insect. Here are a few of the main ways insects cope with cold weather, and why you might see them more in your own home.
Like birds, insects sometimes migrate to warmer climates in winter, sometimes moving thousands of miles. Monarch butterflies do this, along with certain types of moths, but unfortunately so do crop pests. This includes certain types of grasshoppers such as the destructive desert locust (luckily, that particular pest tends to stay in Africa and Asia). That said, migratory insects often play an important role in pollinating crops and other plants as they move south.
Overwintering is just a fancy way of saying that the insect finds a way to survive in winter. They can overwinter as eggs, larva (babies), nymphs (teens), pupa (when an insect cocoons), or even as adults. Insects that overwinter as larva will often find cozy places under leaves or fallen tree branches, such as the wooly brown caterpillar. Some will even be active in bodies of water, often living below a layer of ice. Others develop glycerol, a sort of anti-freeze for their bodies to protect them from freezing. Some will burrow into the ground, but stay active (vs. hibernate). Uniquely, honey bees shiver by vibrating their flight muscles while keeping their wings still to generate heat to keep the colony warm!
Like bears, some bugs like to take a long nap in winter. Some will do it as larvae (i.e. their juvenile stage), while others do it as full-grown adults. Some even will hibernate either as larva or as an adult. Beetles commonly hibernate, finding a cozy place under some loose tree bark. They might even burrow into the ground.
Colonizing Your Home!
Of course, the warmth of your home is very attractive for many insects. Stinkbugs and wasps, for example, love attics and wall voids; spiders, termites, and some beetles might even hide in firewood that’s been brought inside.
Call in the Pros
If you have a problem with holiday bugs, give us a call. We’re happy to get rid of these pests as cleanly and quickly as possible.