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Beware of Winter Bugs

Do I really need to worry about winter bugs?
Tree branches covered in snow

Winter is finally here!!  The trees have lost their leaves, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable!  But at least I don’t have to deal with bugs?  Or do I?

While it is true that cold weather will cause some bugs to hibernate or even migrate, most bugs will just slow down activity and wait for warmer temperatures to become active.  And for those of us that live in Southern Utah, that means that by most afternoons it is warm enough for bugs to become active.

Both freeze-tolerant and freeze-susceptible insects have a sort of built-in antifreeze that helps keep them alive in winter. Insects cannot continue any type of activity when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.

How do they do it?

Freeze-tolerant insects can survive freezing by using the anti-freeze chemical in their bodies to control where ice crystals form inside them. These creepy crawlers can prevent ice crystals from forming in their organs or cells, while the surrounding fluid still freezes with no harm done.

They find a warm place to wait out the winter and either hibernate as adults or overwinter as larvae, nymphs, pupae, or eggs. They spend the winter hidden away underground, in tree trunks, or under fallen leaves.

Insects like bees and wasps find shelter from the cold in trees, under logs, or in the eaves of homes and barns. They remain dormant in these areas until temperatures warm up in the spring.

Some pests, like spiders, are always around, but they hide out in cracks and crevices in the home and come out during the mating season.

Once the weather warms up, the ice crystals melt and the insect returns to normal activity. This method is used for insects found in extremely cold regions where freezing and below-freezing temperatures are a regular occurrence.

Ongoing pest control over the winter is a must.  Failure to treat over the winter can cause larger infestations in the spring and add hundreds of dollars in extra treatment.  Good luck and stay warm!!

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