You may have heard someone say, “Well, we need a good freeze to kill all the bugs”. But, is that really true? Not according to most scientists who study bugs.
Most insects, they say, can survive temperatures that are well below freezing.
Many bugs burrow under tree bark or bury themselves in the ground to survive the winter months and colder weather. Others hideout in piles of leaves or in the cracks and other hiding spots of buildings. Some insects produce something like antifreeze in their bodies to survive the freezing temperatures of winter.
Bees stay inside their hives and keep warm by huddling together and softly ‘buzzing’ their wings.
Ants seal off their colonies and also cluster together when the temperature drops. Wasps typically burrow deep in the ground, so the cold doesn’t usually bother them.
Bugs, it seems, have all kinds of ways to survive freezing temperatures.
Fleas and ticks are the most susceptible to the cold.
They tend to stay above the ground during the winter months.
Still, the temperature must be below freezing for at least 5 days before their numbers are reduced.
A quick few days below freezing probably won’t do the trick.
Also, that means both day and night temperatures below freezing.
One interesting note: fleas and ticks have a much harder time surviving a dry, very cold winter.
A snowy, wet and relatively mild winter can actually help increase their populations.
Flies and mosquitoes don’t appear to be affected at all by the cold.
When it comes to killing off the bugs with cold weather, the general thinking is that it takes a temperature of between -20 and -30 degrees Fahrenheit to have a significant impact on the insect population. And that can’t happen for just a night. To have a significant impact, the cold must linger.
The week ahead will bring the coldest stretch of weather we’ve had this season.
But if you’re hoping the cold weather will kill the bugs off, you’ll probably be disappointed this spring when they return.