Where Do Bugs Go When the Temperature Drops?


The cold of winter brings a lot of changes with it in the animal kingdom. Birds migrate south. Bears hibernate. But what about bugs? Where do those pesky cockroaches go? What about the butterflies?

Their cold-blooded nature makes insects more vulnerable to colder temperatures, but they each have their own method of survival. Here’s a look at some of the ways bugs manage to survive the cold and come back every spring. 


Particular stages in many bugs’ life cycles allow them to overwinter during the colder months. The overwinter process varies based on the bug. Some, like grubs and the wooly bear caterpillar, overwinter as larvae. Dragonflies, stoneflies, and mayflies overwinter as nymphs, living underneath layers of ice in ponds and streams. Even others overwinter as pupae, such as moths in the silkworm family. 

Over the course of the winter, these bugs will feed and grow into their adult life stages come springtime. 

Winter Migration

Like birds, some bugs migrate to warmer climates during the winter. For example, the monarch butterfly makes a southern journey every year. Crop pests will also head to warmer temperatures. Once the temperatures rise in the spring, the insects head back to where they came from. 


Quite a few species of insects are able to hibernate during the winter months, but only once they’ve reached their adult life stage. For example, certain species of wasps, lady bird beetles, mourning cloak butterflies, and outdoor cockroaches all hibernate. A particularly fascinating example is honey bees. Honey bees are able to hibernate in their hives during the winter by forming heat-generating clusters as a sort of shelter from the cold. 

Cold Weather’s Effect on Bug Life Cycles and Behavior 

As you can see, just because the weather reaches freezing temperatures in the winter doesn’t mean there won’t still be a lot of bugs when the warmer months come. Even having snow, a rare occurrence here in Alabama, doesn’t mean the insects won’t be back. Surprisingly enough, snow on the ground is actually beneficial for bugs. It insulates the ground and maintains constant temperatures. Insects are most capable of surviving the winter months if the temperature is constant.

Just because you don’t see any bugs in your home during the winter doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Many species survive the winter by seeking shelter indoors, leading to infestations in the spring. Termites can even cause damage to your home during the winter months without you even knowing. 

Vulcan Termite Protects Your Home 

Many people think that because they don’t see bugs in their homes they don’t need to hire an exterminator during the winter. Your home is the perfect place for bugs, specifically termites, to survive the winter. That’s where we come in. Vulcan Termite has been performing expert preventative pest treatment since 1965; we know what works. Contact Vulcan Termite today and have peace of mind knowing your home is protected.