Winter Insect Woes
The arrival of Fall means that bugs will begin looking for places to spend the winter. Usually this means finding them inside your closet or in the trunk of your car. So, how exactly do insects survive the coldness of winter? There are four main ways that insects overwinter: migration, hibernation, activation, and invasion.
Insects have their own “snowbirds” that fly south for the winter and then return to the north when Spring comes. Butterflies are a great example of insects that do this. Unfortunately, just because they may leave for the winter, they also return to invade your lives when winter ends.
Most insects employ the invasion method, staying in one place all year round. Many will simply move in with humans, finding out of the way spots in peoples’ home such as attics or closets. Other insects find shelter in forest undergrowth and other warm and dark environments.
Some insects actually perk up and stay active during winter. Honeybees for example have been found to stay semi-active in hollow trees and their hive during winter. How do they do this? They consume roughly 30 pounds of stored honey. The oxidation of the honey produces heat, which is circulated by the fanning of the bees’ wings.
Finally, most northern insects choose to hibernate during winter. They enter a state called “diapause,” and their bodies adapt accordingly to the changes in the amount of sunlight and temperature, among other things.
Have you noticed insects using any of these methods to survive winter?