As the cold weather settles in, the world as we know it goes into survival mode. Human beings turn on the heat to prepare for the cold months ahead. Some mammals hibernate, while other fly south for the winter.
But what about those little creepy crawlies and flying pests we see so much during the spring and summer? Where do insects go in winter?
Where Do Insects Live?
Understanding where insects live will help us determine where insects come from – and where they go in winter.
Mosquitoes rest in tall grasses, brush and weeds, but they breed in shallow pools of stagnant water.
Midges are a bit more resilient and can breed in just about any body of water.
Black flies lay eggs in running water and the larvae attach to rocks before emerging as flying adults.
As you can see, insects are everywhere – and between mosquitoes, midges and black flies, no body of water is free from being used as a breeding ground.
Where Do Insects Come From?
Getting to the heart of the matter, and gaining a true understanding about the lives of insects, it’s important to understand their origin. Mosquitoes, midges, and black flies – or their eggs or larvae – are always around. Even in the winter when we don’t see them swarming through the air, eggs are attached to vegetation in very slow-moving streams, lakes and similar bodies of water.
When it’s cold, only the top layer of water freezes. Beneath the layer of ice, eggs survive. When the temperature increases as spring arrives, they resume their progress from egg to insect.
How Do Insects Cope with the Cold Winter Months?
There are a few different ways that different insects cope with the cold. Some butterflies, for example, migrate to warmer temperatures. Honey bees keep warm by swarming together in communal living. But let’s take a look at how mosquitoes, midges and black flies survive the cold months.
– Diapause. A suspended period of development, diapause allows midge and black fly larvae to slow their metabolism in order to cope with the decrease in temperature.
– Antifreezing protection. Also called “overwintering”, a natural antifreezing protection enables insects to survive freezing temperatures through biochemical processes. Water in the mosquitoes’ bodies are replaced by glycerol, which allows them to remain unharmed by the cold temperatures. The glycerol acts as an antifreeze.
– Natural shelter. Some insects, female mosquitoes included, use diapause in conjunction with natural shelters to survive the cold. Animal burrows, hollow logs and other protected areas can act as natural shelters for insects during the winter months.
Defeating Resilient Insects
Now that we’ve discussed where insects come from, where they live, and how they withstand the cold winter months, it’s time to dig into what’s really important: protecting ourselves. Since you can’t hope for winter weather to actually decrease the mosquito, black fly or midge populations, get prepared to combat these pests once again in the spring and summer.
Mosquito Magnet® offers a variety of options for reducing mosquitoes and other biting insects. Utilizing Counterflow Technology™, Mosquito Magnet® traps drastically reduce the number of these resilient insects. Because mosquitoes, midges and black flies do indeed survive through the winter months, it’s important to be vigilant in your upkeep of protecting yourself, your family, and your pets from their bites as they swarm to your property during the active phases of their lifespans.
Besides the annoyance associated with an insect bite, there are some real dangers. Malaria, West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis and Chikungunya come with severe and sometimes potentially fatal side effects.
As you weigh your options for protection from biting insects, it is wise to consider an option that comes with proven results. Our battle against biting insects may rest a bit during the winter months, but it is not over.
Temperatures drop and ice forms – but mosquitos, midges and black fly eggs are waiting beneath a protective layer of ice. When the spring brings with it its usual thaw, these insects will surely swarm again.
If you have questions about protecting yourself from midges, mosquitoes or black flies, contact us today.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.