When the weather gets cold outside we have the luxury of being able to turn our heaters on to warm up our homes. Animals and insects do not have that same ability. Animals and insects that live outside all have to have a plan for the winter months. You may know of some animals, like bears, that hibernate for the winter. What do insects do? The answer to that question depends on the insect.
Some insects travel to a warmer climate for the winter. The monarch butterfly is known for their migration to warmer weather during the cold winter months. Monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains will migrate down to central Mexico. Those west of the Rocky Mountains fly to Santa Barbara, California. They make this trip each year and people truly love to watch them fly.
Some Ants & Bugs Hibernate
Other bugs and insects will hibernate for the winter similar to how a bear does. Yellow jackets, paper wasps, and some mosquitoes like to find a protected place to stay. They will become dormant in that space during the cold winter months. Other insects form a cocoon to hibernate in for the winter. Moths are known for making a cocoon to live in during the winter. Another type of hibernation is putting on weight before the cold weather comes. Ants are an example of this. Ants will eat more fattening food before winter hits. Then when their body temperatures drop they become sluggish. They will gather under warm spots under rocks or tree bark, huddle around the queen, and then their body will feet off the fats they consumed in the fall to keep them alive during the winter months.
Some Insects Die in the Winter
What about insects that don’t migrate or hibernate? There are a few different options for bugs and insects that do not hibernate for the winter. Some insects actually cannot survive the harsh winter temperatures. They lay eggs before they die and then their eggs hatch in the spring. Crickets do this. The female crickets lay between 150 and 400 eggs and then they die. In the spring the eggs hatch and you have crickets again.
Spiders Make Antifreeze Proteins to Survive
Similar to making it through the winter as eggs, other insects make it through winter as larvae. Caterpillars survive winter as larvae. They protect themselves with leaf litter or similar shelters. Some creatures such as spiders even replace the water in their bodies with glycerol. The glycerol acts as an antifreeze for these animals. Some insects burrow deep into the soil to avoid the cold so that they can survive the cold winter. Insects that can live in water will go to the very bottom of the pond or stream that they live in and survive the winter at the bottom of the water where it is warmer.
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Bugs and insects are quite resourceful when it comes to surviving the harsh winter temperatures. They will seek warmth wherever they can find it. If bugs and insects are able to make it in to your nice warm home for winter you may have a problem on your hands. A Five Star Termite and Pest Control can come out and help you take care of any bugs and insects that may have found their way into your home this winter.