How do insects survive in the chilling weather?

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In hot months of the year or say summer, you find insects everywhere. You can easily see butterflies flying, bees floating, mosquitoes and flies buzzing, grasshoppers hopping in the summer. But have you ever wondered where the insects go in the winters?

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As soon as the temperature goes down, all these start disappearing. Some may find a place in some warm corners while others change their body chemistry to survive. Few of them also die, leaving the place for their new generations. Still, many of them tend to survive and reappear in the next summer. It is because evolution has pragmatists’ effect, and they have learned to survive in cold weather conditions. The climatic change is making winters milder, and insects find it easy to survive in the cold nowadays.

In the following points, you will know about the survival strategies of the insects. You will also get an answer to the question of where do insects go in the winter?


If the habitat gets too cold in the winters, some of the insects migrate to warmer places. You can take the example of the monarch butterfly in the case of migration as a survival strategy. These butterflies, along with their millions of other companions, fly each year from the eastern U.S. and Canada to Mexico and California. They fly for almost 2000 miles to spend their winters at a warm place. The insects’ waves on the air currents for covering vast distances.


Diapause is one another well-known survival strategies of the insects. Many insects in the winters enter a diapause that is a type inactive state similar to hibernation. In this state, all the activities of the insects come to a pause in a semi-frozen state. The emerald ash borer, an invasive insect, is a perfect fit, for example, of insects that enter diapause. The emerald ash borer insect enters diapause in winters and doesn’t do anything at all. They only sit under the tree barks and wait for the winters to pass.


Some insects in the winter create their antifreeze chemical to survive. When the temperature falls, many insects produce cryoprotectants to keep their bodies warm. This antifreeze helps the insects to survive even in the temperatures below the freezing point. Woolly bear caterpillars and Alaska Upis are examples of the insects who use this method to withstand chilling temperatures in the winters.

Laying eggs

Unfortunately, some insects do not survive in the winters. But, they make sure that before they die, they lay eggs. These eggs hatch in the spring, and new offspring come into existence. Crickets, bugs, praying mantises, grasshoppers and katydids are all examples of insects that lay eggs in winters and then die. Spiders also have the same criterion, although they do not fall into the category of insects. They also lay their eggs in the cold weather, and die, and the spiderlings are born in spring. 


Some insects find warm corners to hide in the winters. You can take the example of cockroaches, Asian lady beetles, and brown marmorated stink bugs in this case. They hide and at warm and dry places and come out when the weather gets warmer.

So by now, you might have understood where do insects go in the winter? Insects follow different survival strategies to stay alive in the cold months and come out when the weather is pleasant for them.

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