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blackbird in london garden in winter

How Cold Weather Affects Winter Insects

Cold weather affects all organisms. This includes insects. But how does the cold affect Winter insects? There are several ways temperature has an impact.

When it starts getting frosty outside, most people spend their time indoors. Preferably in front of a fire. Insects are exactly the same way. As the weather changes and it gets colder, the majority of insects try to find a place to shelter. And a lot of the time this place is your home.

Hibernate or migrate?

Do you notice that many insects seem to disappear during Winter? There are severa reasons why this happens. The first is that many Winter insects actually migrate to warmer climates. In the UK this includes several species of butterflies, moths, and also ladybirds.

insects on wood

Other insects prefer to hibernate. During the Winter these insects find a warm place to stay until it’s Summer again. They are able to slow their metabolic processes and survive for many months without food. This includes insects such as bees, hibernating wasps, and some spiders.

Insects that do not migrate or hibernate will simply slow down. This includes most types of insects. They move slowly and expend as little energy as possible. This allows them to survive during Winter. These insects also find sheltered places to live and will rarely move from them.

Wintering in your home

In fact, survival during Winter is something built into the life cycles of most insects. They are naturally adapted to get through the Winter. For example, many insects actually lay their eggs at the start of Autumn. The eggs spend Winter developing and once it warms up the young insects emerge and start to feed.

winter insect in snow

Obviously this is a problem for homeowners. Insects will enter your home at the start of Autumn, lay eggs, and once it’s Spring or Summer these eggs will hatch. This means you could quickly face an infestation as heat also impacts insects and their behaviour.

The easiest way to prevent these Winter insects is to seal off your home. Do not let them get inside in the first place. Also prevent them from hiding in your home. Clean up piles of clutter and other places where they may shelter. Finally, do not provide them with easy sources of food or water. Clean your kitchen and home thoroughly so they do not have anything to eat during Winter. This should go along way to preparing your home for Spring insects too, as your handiwork will stop the next batch coming indoors when the warmer weather arrives.


Sally has been writing on the subject of pest control for 4 years. She always carries out extensive and in depth research and always tries to bring you the most up to date, interesting topics.

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