Winter bugs in your house – What you don’t know!

Do bugs come inside your house during winter?

Some of them do. When it comes to weather, bugs are like people. Most of them enjoy the summertime, love to be outdoors if it’s warm outside, and enjoy the sunlight. When temperatures start to drop to one-digit, freezing numbers, bugs have different strategies to cope with the winter threat.

Several bugs decide to seek shelter and most of those seeking shelter will do so anywhere they can – your house included. That’s not to say that all bugs will start rushing towards your house whenever the fall begins to turn into winter – but several bugs plan on it. Some of them are harmless, like ladybugs. Others are considered pests, like cockroaches.

Other common household pests, like ants, will decide to go underground when winter approaches. They will not try to seek shelter inside your house but in underground tunnels. That’s why you see fewer ants around the house when temperatures drop, not because they are dead, but because they left! Spiders, on the other hand, do not travel – not even during winter. If you see a spider around the house, it was there for a long time ago, summertime included.

Like you’ve read already, bugs are like people when it comes to weather. Several bugs seek shelter. Others, migrate someplace warm – as some animals do. A select few thrive during the winter. And most of those who cannot hide or escape from the freezing cold, die – but by the time they’ve died, eggs and larvae are waiting for the cold to end and to come out during the spring.

How do you keep bugs away from your house during winter?

how to protect your house from bugs and insects

There are three strategies you can employ whenever you are facing bugs trying to take over your home. The first one is prevention, the second one is reaction, and the third one is asking for help.

Prevention.

If you want to be one step ahead of most bugs, you need to reinforce your house. Take care of every single point of entry bugs can use, like windows and doors. When it comes to windows, you need to install window screens. And you need to seal the doors that face the outside. Bugs may also slip through the cracks, so you should seal any cracks on your walls.

Most bugs love moisture and easy-access food. Check for leaking pipes or anywhere that is creating moisture around your house – especially your bathroom. When you’re done, head to the kitchen and make sure everything is clean. Food containers need to be properly sealed as well.

When you are done with your house interior, it’s time to check the exterior. Clean up your backyard, trim your trees, and deal with fruit trees. Take care of anything that might attract or sustain bugs.

Finally, make sure you check what’s coming into your house. Bugs can easily travel inside plants, packages, and even your boots. Double-check what’s coming inside so no surprises tag along.

Reaction.

If you have made a bug-free fort out of your house, that’s great! But you might have missed something entirely and bugs might be living in already. Don’t worry, it can happen to the best of us. You know need to take a more active approach towards getting rid of bugs. They are mostly hiding in dark, secluded, and moist places. Check behind books, desks, and toilets. Inside kitchen cabinets as well.

If you find any bugs, try to use a vacuum to remove them. Several bugs are harmless but will secrete a terrible smell if you crush them. If you keep removing the same bugs over and over again from the same place, it might be time to ask for help.

Asking for help.

If you are past prevention and reaction, there’s not much that you can do – but others can. It’s best to contact professional help to deal with whatever infestation you are facing because it’s gotten serious. There’s probably a low chance that you’ll have to do this, but you’ll know when you are at this stage. If you have sealed any bugs’ point of entry and tried to deal with bugs inside your house to no avail, it’s time to let the people who deal with pests for a living finish the job.

Where do all the bugs go during winter?

There are several places bugs can go during the winter. As you know, most of them will seek shelter in or around your house. Cockroaches, ladybugs, beetles, flies, and other bugs are in that group.

A second group will seek shelter, but not inside man-made structures. They rather trust their own tunnels and hiding spots. Several types of ants do this. Keep in mind there are a lot of different ants with different behavior – some ants go underground, others become inactive during winter, and entire colonies die altogether as well.

A third group will seek a distant place on the wilderness and start hibernating as bears might do. Trees, high places, attics, and many other places are great for this. Wasps, beetles, and butterflies do this.

Those who can escape from the cold. Several bugs emigrate from the cold and into warmer places. Only a select few can pull it off, like certain types of butterflies.

Several bugs do not need to hide from cold, because they live on a warm host. Some parasitic bugs, like ticks, do not change their schedule because winter hit. Some of them will reduce their activity levels and remain in their host. Others decide to go for their blood-related meal regardless of temperatures.

A few bugs do not change locations because they don’t have to. Several arachnids and other insects love dark, secluded places – far away from people and cold temperatures. Most spiders don’t need to go inside your house to escape from winter, because they are already there.

Finally, most of them die. Reality is harsh for most bugs and insects all year round, especially during winter. Most insects are exothermic, they cannot produce heat on their own as mammals do. If they cannot escape the cold, they simply die. And yet, even if a large percentage of the bug population is decimated by low temperatures, by the time spring comes around bugs reappear as flowers do.

If most bugs die during the winter, how come they are still here in the spring?

Remember, most bugs who die during the winter are those who couldn’t hide from the cold. But even if all of the living bugs died during winter, there’s something you still need to consider: eggs and larvae. By the time fall ends and winter starts, several bugs have finished their main purpose: reproduction.

Surviving in these early stages (eggs, larvae, and nymphs) during winter is not likely, but bear in mind insects reproduce in high numbers – some of them will definitely make it. If you take into consideration this, all those insects who successfully found shelter, and those who hibernate and emigrate – the insect population is safe for another year.

How do bugs prepare for winter?

Only bugs who will hibernate prepare for winter. Most of them will act as they usually do until temperatures fall significantly and they’ll either seek shelter or emigrate. But those who hibernate will act similarly to animals who do the same. They will look for excess nutrients during fall, get fat in preparation for winter, and slowly cease activities until it’s time to become dormant.

The Mourning Cloak Butterflies will stop their activities altogether, hide somewhere in a tree, and start producing glycerol. Several bugs during their hibernation process will accumulate glycerol, as it acts as an anti-freeze.

Other bugs seek warmth in numbers. Ladybird beetles will get together in large numbers and seek somewhere high to hide in and wait out the winter. Honey bees act similarly as well, they stay within their hive during the winter and form a cluster if temperatures get rough.

Lastly, several bugs will not seek a hideout place to hibernate but instead will create one of their own. Moths will cocoon during late-stage fall and spend the entire winter in that way.

Do spiders die in the winter?

Most spiders do not die during the winter. Even though most spiders are exothermic (they cannot produce heat by themselves), they are usually well hidden when winter starts. That’s because spiders tend to thrive in obscure, far away places: hidden corners, behind big structures like bookshelves, in attics and similar places. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer – they are already there.

That’s not to say that spiders won’t die if they run out of luck and find themselves in the wild during winter. Spiders who are far away from their comfort zone will probably freeze to death.

Do bed bugs die in the winter?

Most of them will find shelter soon before the winter – this means they will probably survive another cold season. Bed bugs are quick to look for a home to settle in, whether it’s winter or not.

Even though they can be found in the wilderness like any other insects, most bed bugs are a pest – quick to find a home and create trouble for those living there. And the thing is, bed bugs are incredibly resistant too. They can normally live in temperatures as cold as 44F, and can probably hold on during colder temperatures as well.

For a bed bug to die during winter, there must be freezing temperatures. Otherwise, bed bugs will survive long enough to infest a house where temperatures are no longer a problem.

Do ants die in the winter?

It depends on what kind of ant you are talking about. Most ant colonies are filled with crafty insects who will find a way to shelter themselves from the cold without changing locations. For example, some ants will build their colony under a large structure (like a rock), that way they can trap heat under it with no effort. Others will dig underground tunnels and use the dirt to keep the heat in and have no trouble during winter.

Other colonies will hibernate or become mostly dormant during winter, and avoid freezing temperatures altogether. Other types of colonies will die entirely and leave their larvae to re-build the colony.

Do cockroaches die in the winter?

Cockroaches will most likely survive the winter. As you probably know, cockroaches are extremely resilient – and the winter is not going to be the thing that kills them. All types of cockroaches can survive cold temperatures down to 15F. Even if they can survive rather cold temperatures, most of the time they don’t have to: they rely on hiding and seeking shelter all year round. If there’s water and a nutrition source near them, they can make that place a home.

It would take an extremely cold winter to kill a cockroach. And that same cockroach needs to be extremely unlucky to find itself in the middle of winter with nowhere to hide. It’s highly unlikely that cockroaches will die during the winter.

What kinds of insects come out during the winter?

Not too many insects go out during winter. Most of them will hide until temperatures start to rise. Honeyflees are somewhat active during winter. Dragonflies, stoneflies, and other similar insects will live beneath the ice and actively seek food under it when they are at their nymph stage.

Are there any bugs that thrive during the winter?

There are a few bugs that thrive during the winter. When most of their species will die, a select few will use the cold temperatures to their advantage. One of these special bugs is the banded woolly bear caterpillar. It’s no surprise they can survive winter, as they need close to 10 years to fulfill their destiny and become a moth. This bug has a cryoprotectant inside their tissue making winter an no problem for it.

Another incredible insect that survives the winter is the hemlock woody adelgid – who goes in the complete opposite direction to most insects. This bug will hibernate during summer. It will be most active, eating food and laying eggs, during the winter.

Sources:

https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/winter
https://sciencing.com/cockroaches-die-winter-10005027.html

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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