winter3Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Where do bugs go in the winter?” It is a common question that many kids and adults have during the winter when bugs are not commonly seen. Although it may seem like they have died off, many insects still live around us.

Each species of insect has its own strategy for survival. However, the wintering habits of insects can be divided into two general strategies of survival: freeze avoidance and freeze tolerance.

winter-1Freeze Avoidance: Like birds, many insects migrate to a warmer climate during the winter months. Although it is not a pest, the monarch butterfly is the most well known example of this. Monarchs travel in roosts to Mexico, California, and the Rocky Mountains to avoid freezing cold temperatures. When spring arrives, the butterflies travel back to their northern climates. Many crop pests follow this survival strategy.

Freeze Tolerant: Freeze tolerant insects have different survival strategies based on the stage of life they are in and their species.

winter2Immature Insects: Some insects spend the winter as larvae, nymphs, eggs, and pupae. Larvae bury themselves deep into the ground to avoid freezing temperatures.  Larvae are also capable of replacing the water in their bodies with glycol-like substance that acts as natural antifreeze, which allows them to remain active throughout the winter. Nymphs specifically are known to feed and grow throughout the winter under the ice of ponds and streams. Insects that overwinter as eggs and pupae are protected under many layers of leaves, or attached to plants.

Adult Insects: Many adult insects are still active during the winter months, but are rarely seen. This is because they are hibernating in and around our homes. Adult bugs burrow into logs and holes in the ground covered with leaves with others of their kind or hide in the eaves and under the siding of our homes. There are also bugs that prefer to not cohabitate with humans, but find their way into homes to stay warm.  They live in tight areas that are rarely disturbed such as attics and basements. These winter pests are predominantly seen as they are entering our homes in the fall, and leaving in the spring.

If you are having a cohabitation issue with a winter pest, give us a call at 1-800-524-8544. We would be happy to help you.