It is a common misconception that pests such as ants, spiders, mosquitoes, etc. “die out” during the winter months. So what actually happens to these pests?
Well, Insects have a few ways to deal with cold weather. Some simply migrate. Some are freeze-tolerant thanks to compounds in their bodies called “cryoprotectants”, which is similar to antifreeze. Heavy snowfall on the ground acting as an insulation layer might even be better for these insects, since it can help them survive the harsh winter,
Many insects overwinter by entering a state of either diapause or hibernation. During this period, their metabolism slows and they run off stored food/energy reserves in their bodies until temperatures rise, usually above 50 degrees and they become active again.
It is also known that as the days get shorter, many pests receive this as a winter signal which lets their bodies know that it is time to hibernate. So how do certain pests react to the weather getting cooler?
Ants: Ants eat large amounts of food leading up to the winter months to prepare for hibernation. As the temperatures begin to cool, ants will try to stay in warmer places such as, under soil, in trees and you guessed it inside of your home especially around water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry/utility rooms.
Wasps, Yellowjackets and hornets: out of the millions of wasps, yellowjackets and hornets that cover the planet, only the queens will survive winter. During winter they will hibernate also in warm areas such as tree stumps, attics, inside of walls even. And as the weather starts to warm up they will emerge and look for places to nest relatively quickly.
Roaches: Roaches do not develop or reproduce when the temperature outside is 45 degrees or less. As with ants, and wasps, roaches also seek warm areas including your home to survive the winter months. Roaches that remain outside in temperatures below 15 degrees will die. They do go through a hibernation phase as well, as long as they find warm shelter they will still be able to reproduce, just not at the same rates they do in a normal environment. This is why we still receive many german roach infestation calls throughout the winter months at Preferred Pest Management.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes also hibernate during winter months, usually when temperatures are consistently below 45-50 degrees. They prefer to hibernate in hollow logs. Mosquito larvae can survive the winter months in wet areas such as small ponds over winter also which contributes to the initial boom in the population of mosquitoes we see during the early months of summer.
Conclusion: in conclusion, a lot of pest activity dies down in the winter due to hibernation practices. Pests do not simply die off in the winter time as commonly misconstrued by the general public. This is a big reason why at Preferred Pest Management, we complete our pest control services every 3 months throughout the entire year. We understand, especially in north Texas, that while we have cold days, there are still plenty of warm days that can cause a swarm of ants, roaches, etc. which will try to enter your home, if they aren’t already trying to use your home as their hibernation site. If you have any questions regarding pest control services, feel free to contact DFW’s pest experts, Preferred Pest Management any time.
Author: Griffin Thomas, Owner, Preferred Pest Management