Does Chilly Weather Kill Bugs?

Cold weather does kill some bugs, but many hibernate. Especially bugs like queens hibernate during cold weather and reemerge at the first sign of warm weather to form new colonies. Yellow-jacket males, on the other hand, die during the winter because the queen will birth new yellow jackets for the spring. Even if they don’t die, many bugs are inactive during the winter months. Some bugs hibernate under the soil, such as ants. Other insects survive in a semi-hibernation state known as diapause, in hiding areas like trees or wood stumps. Some can even convert the water in their bodies to glycerol which becomes a sort of antifreeze to keep them alive. Nymphs and eggs often survive winter and hatch in summer-like those of dragonflies or stoneflies. They remain at the bottom of lakes or rivers that do not completely freeze in the chilly weather. Most cockroaches, as resilient as they are, can’t survive at low temperatures. They often try to survive indoors by seeking refuge near the vents and heaters of buildings. Monarch butterflies migrate to warmer places before chilly weather comes.


Random spells of warmth may kill bugs in the winter if the weather suddenly becomes cold again. Warm spells in the winter may result in killing bugs when temperatures drop again suddenly. Although bugs aren’t as common in the winter, many are living year-round.


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