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The name overwintering tells you a lot about this specific classification of insect. You don’t likely have to be an insect genius to figure surmise that overwintering pests are nothing more than mere insects that hibernate. While this might be the case, it certainly does not reveal everything that is needed. As a matter of fact, overwintering insects are more difficult than most pests to eliminate. The main reason for this is because you are not just dealing with one simple bug. If it were just one bug, things would be simple. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all when it comes to overwintering insects. With overwintering insects, one must worry about a whole variety of troubling species.
Understanding Insect Hibernation
To say that specific insects hibernate would be a bit of a stretch. In fact, when it comes to insects and hibernation, things can get a bit tricky. According to the foremost experts, insects and hibernation aren’t as straightforward as many of us would like. There is no question that there are specific classes of bugs that enter nearby properties, seeking refuge during the winter months. However, to say they go into a hibernation state stretches things.
Hibernation is a much different state for insects than mammals. When mammas hibernation, all activity is suspended. They literally enter a coma-like state, where they do not even wake from sleep for months at a time. For the insect, they enter a dormant-like state where there is no development. This is oftentimes technically referred to as dispause. When mammas hibernate, they might not be active, but their bodies are still developing. They are developing tissue and growing during the process. This is so much true for the insect. Everything is suspended.
Insect hibernation usually consists of finding shelter when the bug can hunker down and ride out the cold. Unfortunately, the most appetizing place for this is usually the home or nearby structures. The bugs remain mostly inactive to conserve energy. There are some species like bees that will gather to survive the cold temperatures, while there are others that will vibrate their wings to generate heat. Some adult insects are even clever enough to reduce their water intake and replace it with glycerol. This is a substance that acts as a natural anti-freeze. Here are some common places you’ll find insects hibernation during the winter months:
Heated Home (Usually in the attics and wall voids)
The Two Main Overwintering Insects
When it comes right down to it, there are a variety of bugs that overwinter. We could go on and on and list the species here. However, the equate can even be broken down further. There are actually two types of main overwintering insects. These would be the freeze avoidant insects and the freeze-tolerant insects. These insects can usually be determined by location. For instance, freeze-avoidant insects will be found in the Northern Hemisphere. This has to do with the weather patterns being more predictable in these regions. Winters tend to generally last months and months at a time.
Freeze tolerant insects, on the other hand, are ones you find scattered throughout the Southern Hemisphere. It has been said on some occasions that these insects have adapted to the greater climate and weather variability of the southern regions. These bugs must contend with both extreme cold snaps and unseasonably warm days. You’ve heard the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, it’ll change.” This applies to most southern locations.
Freeze Avoidant Insects
Freeze avoidant insects are the ones that stand to die when their body fluids freeze. During the winter, these insects must keep their bodily fluids liquid. There are several different methods by which they can do this. Most species will take advantage of natural substances like cryoprotectants and antifreeze.
Most insects fall into this classification, as there are only a few species that can survive after their bodily fluids have begun to crystallize. Most ants, most beetles, and Monarch Butterflies fall into this classification.
Freeze Tolerant Insects
The freeze-tolerant insects are truly unique, as they’ve learned to adapt their tissues and bodily fluids so they can control where and when the crystallization begins within the body. Most of these insects accomplish this by removing water from their cells. The perfect examples of these insects would be the alpine cockroaches, flightless midges, and woolly bear moths.
It honestly doesn’t matter what type of overwinter pest you end up dealing with. They’re all going to be a nuisance and a hassle. Therefore, it is best to get our highly trained and qualified agents on the line at the first sighting of any insect in the home as the winter months approach. We’ll get someone out to the property to properly evaluate it and give you a complete rundown.
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