Where Do Bugs Spend the Winter? There are many things people look forward to as the temperatures drop, like fuzzy sweaters, mugs of hot chocolate, snowy mornings and holiday spirits. But another bonus of the winter season is that we all see fewer bugs. (If you’re still seeing bugs on or in your house, read about bugs’ cool-weather preparations here).

This lovely absence might beg the question: where do all those insects go in the winter months in the Carolinas?

Different insects have different plans for making it through the winter months. Here are some of the survival methods that bugs use in winter:

Babies Dig Deep. The larvae (early life stage) of some insects survive the cold by borrowing deep into the ground, often under piles of leaves, to stay warm. The woolly worm caterpillar, a favorite of Carolina children, is one such larval that will overwinter underground. In the spring, these larvae will emerge from the ground and start their transformation and growth into adult insects. (Some people even think the woolly worm – or woolly bear – can predict winter’s temperature.)


Underground Eggs. A few insects will lay their eggs underground to wait out the winter. Locally, this is most familiar for praying mantis.


Wrap Up to Wait It Out. Some insects will stall out winter in their pupal stage. One example is silkworm moths (family Saturniidae), which become dark brown pupae wrapped in tan, paper-like cocoons that you can spot on tree branches or in piles of leaves or the crevices of rocks.


Move South. Like humans, many bugs just want to flee colder temperatures. Monarch butterflies and other winged insects will fly to warmer locals, often quite far away. Thankfully, the pests that eat garden and food crops usually take their leave in winter too.


Sleep Through It. Many species of insects hibernate through the winter. They find warm, protected areas to sleep out of winter’s way. Some can even turn part of their body water into a substance that works like antifreeze. Honey bees and Japanese lady beetles (a.k.a. lady bugs) will each huddle together with their own kind in large groups to keep warm.


Unfortunately, hibernating adult insects will often realize that your house is the warmest, safest place in town. They will move in as temperatures drop in fall, and then settle in for the winter. Protect your home from winter invaders by sealing doors frames and cracks in your siding. A trained exterminator also knows where to look for hibernating insects in order to get rid of them before they wake up in the warmer temperatures. Contact Thompson Brothers today if you’re concerned about bugs overwintering in your house.

Family-owned in the Carolinas since 1957

Thompson Brothers helps businesses and families with a wide array of services, from basement leaks, to invasive bugs, to termite services for new home sales.

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Sharon P, Waterproofing & Repair

We had extensive water intrusion that our inspector did not see. Thompson Brothers had to engage in grading, extensive digging, reinstallation of French drains, and install a new drainage field. The work was excellent. All personnel is polite, on time, and very professional. Highly recommend.

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