Do bugs hibernate in winter?
Here, we’re interested in finding out where bugs go in winter. You might have wondered about the whereabouts of these insects and how they emerge when the cold season is over.
This article is all about providing answers to vital questions.
This helps a lot in your pest control strategies.
What Happens To Bugs In The Winter?
The Winter season is known for extremely cold temperatures that alter the activities of humans and animals including bugs. For many people, this is the time of year when heating expenses increase the most as homes need to be kept warm.
Due to harsh or freezing weather conditions, bugs have to hibernate through the season.
Not All Bugs Are Pests
Whenever bugs are mentioned, people often have the mental idea of pests.
However, this is a misconception that needs to be debunked. There are pest bugs as well as beneficial bugs. So, if you’ve only seen bugs in the light that they’re the only pest, this information should be enlightening.
Beneficial bugs are insects that prey on pests. Also known as biological control agents, these bugs perform the key function of helping to keep your garden pest-free.
Examples include green lacewings, bees, lady beetles, assassin bugs, minute pirate bugs, praying mantises, syrphid flies, and ground beetles, etc.
Unlike beneficial bugs, pest bugs do a lot of damage and carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
Examples of these include roaches, bed bugs, flies, ants, termites, mosquitoes, and several others.
Do Bugs Hibernate in Winter?
We’ve had to deviate a bit from the topic to first clarify a misconception a lot of people have about bugs. With basic differences made, let’s get into details about where bugs go in winter.
No uniform explanation can be given for all types of bugs. This is mostly because they behave differently under harsh weather conditions.
Bugs we’ll be looking at are among the most common and include cockroaches, ticks, butterflies, ants, mosquitoes, and spiders. These have been deliberately chosen to include both beneficial and pest bugs.
So, without further delay, let’s begin.
i. Where Cockroaches Go in Winter
Although roaches love cool, damp environments, winter introduces temperature levels that are beyond their level of tolerance. This is why these bugs cannot survive outdoors as temperatures sometimes drop below 15 degrees F.
At such levels, roaches are unable to survive.
Their best chance of survival involves moving indoors. Areas such as your crawl spaces as well basements are easy targets for these bugs.
As they wait out the winter season by sheltering in your home, these bugs produce at a much slower rate.
This is mainly because conditions aren’t favorable.
Sometimes, roaches can go into hibernation also known as a diapauses state. This helps slow down development until temperature conditions improve.
Do All Roach Species go into Hiding in winter?
First off, roaches come in a variety of species.
While most of these species aren’t so tolerant of harsh weather conditions in winter, some can remain active in freezing temperatures.
One such species is the Yamato cockroach in Japan.
ii. Where Ticks go in Winter
Ticks are another category of bugs that are known for their parasitic feeding behavior.
They feed on blood and carry pathogens that spread or cause human diseases. However, that isn’t our focus. Where do ticks go in winter?
These pest bugs are known to go into dormancy or hibernation during winter.
This is a necessary action to help preserve their bodies from freezing temperatures. Glycerol is produced to help keep them from the cold.
Certain tick species like the “winter tick” live on their host for the entirety of their lifetime. Their preferred hosts are deer and moose.
iii. Where Butterflies Go in Winter
Unlike some of the bugs discussed above, butterflies behave quite differently in terms of where they go in winter.
These flying bugs migrate to warmer climates. However, not all butterflies do migrate. Some others will hibernate while still in their eggs.
Such eggs are mostly hidden from frost conditions in locations such as beneath tree barks and other areas with less freezing conditions.
The monarch butterfly species is one that’s known to migrate to places with warmer climatic conditions. Such areas include Southern California and Mexico.
Monarch butterflies will return in springtime when climatic conditions become more tolerable or less freezing.
This is a clear example of how weather conditions affect bug behavior.
iv. Where Ants Go in Winter
If you’re observant enough, you’ll notice that ants disappear in winter only to emerge when weather conditions become less harsh. So, where do these bugs go?
The answer is simple; to their colonies! Ants will take a recess under freezing weather conditions.
However, this isn’t always the case for some colonies as ants end up dying under extreme winter conditions.
Such may survive when conditions are mild. Some ant species such as the Argentine ant activate a survival instinct that makes them nest around loblolly trees.
What’s in these trees that make ants nest around them in winter? It’s simply due to the barks which absorb sunlight, thus keeping temperatures low enough to keep ants alive.
v. Where Mosquitoes Go in Winter
Mosquitoes are among the most dreaded bug problems to have.
These are notorious for their spread of diseases that can be deadly. During the winter season, these parasitic insects go into hibernation.
However, this isn’t true for all mosquitoes as female mosquitoes will overwinter in burrows, caves, storm drains and other likely spots that will keep them from freezing.
Mosquitoes will eventually emerge from their hideouts when temperature conditions improve. This is mostly seen in springtime.
vi. Where Spiders Go in Winter
Spiders are also bugs you don’t typically see around the usual outdoor locations during winter. Some species will migrate indoors to keep from freezing.
The black widow and brown recluse spiders are good examples of those that move to indoor shelters.
Now you have an idea of where bugs go in winter. Whether you only wish to satisfy your curiosity or seek to prevent their return, this information will serve all such needs.
For pest bugs, their absence during adverse weather conditions gives you much-needed relief, but not when they move indoors.