When winter rolls around, where do bugs go? We know that many birds migrate south, bears go into hibernation and some humans tend to stay close to their warm cozy homes, at least until the weather becomes warm again. But where do bugs go in the winter?
Many people assume that bugs die off or go back into the ground during the cold months of winter. However, the truth is most insects find ways to survive just like us! Here is how some of the most common bugs survive the cold and dreary days of winter.
Most cockroaches cannot survive temperatures less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, these bugs will go indoors to damp and warm environments such as basements or small crawlspaces or seek shelter under warm blankets of leaf litter or mulch.
German and American cockroaches prefer indoor habitats during the winter and will seek shelter in homes, as well as larger buildings like restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals.
Ants are experts at overwintering. When winter finally arrives, an ant’s body temperature will drop drastically and their movements will become sluggish. Ants respond by sealing up their underground colonies and remaining inactive deep down in the soil, underneath rocks, beneath logs or mulch.
Once temperatures warm up in the springtime, ants are ready to come marching back into backyards and across kitchen counters in search of food.
Some spiders will remain outside during the winter and survive producing an antifreeze-like substance, similar to some insects. This substance helps lower the temperature at which they will freeze, enabling them to survive winter weather.
Spiders will find their homes for the winter in leaves, under tree bark, under rocks or other protected places. However, not all spiders enjoy the cold. Wolf spiders, a common household guest, do not care for the outdoors once the frost sets in. You will find these spiders, as well as other species such as jumping spiders, in your home during the winter months, hiding in undisturbed places like garages and basements.
Most butterflies that live in cold climates spend the winter as pupae. A pupa is the transition stage of a butterfly’s life cycle when the caterpillar becomes fully grown and stops eating, and develops into an adult butterfly.
Some butterflies are also known to migrate to warmer temperatures where they can find food. Monarch butterflies, for example, begin traveling south in the autumn to escape the wintry weather.
As you can see, bugs do not necessarily go away in winter. Although the winter can seem “bug-free” compared to summer days full of buzzing, these creatures have developed ways to survive the cold by either surviving outdoors or taking shelter in our own warm homes.