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Where Do Bugs Go in the Winter?

Every other season brings a bounty of bugs, but when the cold temperatures come to town, the bugs seem to disappear. So where do they go? Come to find out, it’s somewhat complicated. We have cars that can drive themselves, but we still have a lot to learn about how bugs survive frostbite.

From what we do know, there are three ways that bugs and spiders survive the winter. A small group of them are able to just keep doing their thing and somehow survive. Mites, some spiders, and snow fleas (or springtails) are hardy enough to survive outside, even in the snow. They simply crawl into warm pockets under leaves and deep inside grass and make do just fine.

A larger group of insects heads south to survive. These snowbirds include butterflies and dragonflies. North American monarch butterflies actually fly all the way to central Mexico each winter. For other bugs, south means straight down. Aquatic insects head to the bottom of the pond where they can survive even when the surface is frozen. Some bugs burrow deep in the soil to escape the frost.

The strangest way insects survive sounds like cryogenics—they remain dormant and frozen until they thaw out in the spring. Some insects are able to do this because there is a lot of glycerol in their blood, which acts like an antifreeze. Woolly bear caterpillars are especially impressive—they actually turn into solid ice and can survive at temperatures well below anything found on Earth.

Most insects, however, simply die off in the winter, leaving us with eggs that hatch into a new generation in the spring. If we have a winter that is warmer than usual, it means extra large populations as adults might not die but continue to produce offspring. Some species of mosquitoes are able to survive by hunkering down in sheltered places like under the eaves of your house or similar places.

There is still a lot we don’t understand about how the billions of insects around the world survive the winter. One thing we do understand is that nobody wants to find insects inside—whether they be alive and well or hibernating in your house. Call the professionals at Green Pest Control for help protecting your home today.