What Do Bugs Do In the Winter?

ladybug on a holly plant in snow

It’s not uncommon for us humans to be well aware of what common yard animals such as squirrels, deer, and even bears do during the colder months, but have you ever wondered what bugs do during the winter? The behavior of different bugs ranges widely during this season, and it helps to be aware of their cold weather habits so you can prepare your home accordingly.

Cockroaches During the Winter

Most cockroach species can't withstand temperatures under 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, these unwanted pests may end up retreating to different spaces in your home in pursuit of warmth. They most frequently inhabit dark spaces like basements or crawl spaces. The good news about these bugs during the winter, though, is that their development rate stalls. That means that they reproduce more slowly, and are thus easier to extinguish from your home.

To prevent them from entering in the first place, seal any openings from the outside of your house that would allow them easy access. If you find any roaches in your home, eradicate them by making your own natural bait. Mix three parts boric acid with one part confectioners or powdered sugar. Once they’re lured into the sweet smelling mixture, the boric acid will make short work of them. Sprinkle this mixture wherever you suspect these roaches may gather, and soon your infestation will be a non-issue. Importantly, this mixture is not toxic to kids or pets.

Spiders During the Winter

Overall, spiders are less active and present during the winter months. For instance, brown recluse spiders tend to be inactive once temperatures dip below 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Other spider species, like adult black widows, tend to seek shelter for the winter months. This means that these spiders may make their way into your home. A good way to rid your home of spiders during the winter is to thoroughly vacuum your space to get rid of all cobwebs.

mosquito on snow

Mosquitoes During the Winter

One of the most irksome parts of summer in many areas of the country is the presence of mosquitoes. Not only are their bites irritating, these bugs can carry dangerous viruses and diseases. The good news about winter is that these tiny vampires typically retreat during the colder weather. During this time, they cease blood feeding and increase their fat reserves. These bugs will live in burrows, storm drains, or other underground areas over the winter.

Ants During the Winter

Ants frequently plague homes during warmer months, but they struggle to survive in the cold temperatures—many ant colonies perish during this season. Some species, such as fire ants, tunnel underground in the cold to avoid the plunging temperatures. Others, such as the Argentine Ant, become inactive during this season, hibernating in loblolly pine trees, the bark of which absorbs sunlight, providing enough warmth for these ants to wait out the frost.

Bees During the Winter

Honeybees are a hot topic in regards to Earth and its environment, so that may prompt you to wonder where these insects go during the winter. After temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, honeybees retreat to their hive. Inside the hive, they gather in a central area, forming a “winter cluster.” The queen bee sits at the center, with all the surrounding bees working to keep her safe and warm for the duration of the season. The bees flutter their wings and shiver, using their constant motion to warm the inside of the hive, even as temperatures outside plummet.

butterflies in winter on a white flower

Butterflies During the Winter

Perhaps the most picturesque species of insects, butterflies tend to migrate to warmer temperatures during the winter. Monarch butterflies make their way to the highlands of Michoacán in Mexico for the season. Other species of butterflies simply enter a state of dormancy during this season. They can do so in a variety of ways—as eggs, larva, or in a chrysalis. Most become dormant in a larval state. This is important as it keeps butterflies warm during the winter and allows for their awakening once food is available to them.

Luckily, bugs don’t present much of a worry to your home during the winter months. Other winter pests are something to think about, though.