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Does a Hot Summer Mean More Bugs in the Winter?

Does a Hot Summer Mean More Bugs in the Winter?

Summer 2022 saw record-breaking temperatures across the US. Here, in the South, we definitely had our fair share of sweltering summer days. However, we aren’t the only ones who felt the hot, humid days. Insects were also affected by the heat which caused a ripple effect through the winter months. What exactly were the effects and how does this hot summer affect bugs in the winter? Our professional exterminators break down what winter bug behavior will be.

Normal Bug Behavior in the Winter

Luckily for entomologists and professional exterminators alike, bugs are creatures of habit. They are easy to study and predict patterns for. With this being said, insect populations will typically slow in the colder winter months with some types of bugs even going into hibernation. Insects such as ants, butterflies, and ticks prefer to stay relatively dormant in cooler months. Hibernation is a long-time habit of bugs in the winter because their food sources become limited. Normal bug behavior in the winter months is usually to a lesser degree than in the spring or summer. 

Warmer Winters Change Bug Behavior 

When we see warmer winter months, insect activity is typically more active. With warmer temperatures, fewer bugs tend to go into hibernation as their food sources are more abundant. You might even see bugs moving around more and start their preparation for spring sooner. But if a warmer winter means more insect activity, does a hot summer mean more bugs in the winter? Well, that depends on how hot. 

How Temperature Affects Insects

When the temperature rises, it affects more than the UV index. The daily temperatures help regulate insects’ bodily functions. With hotter temperatures, physical activities in bugs also tend to increase which leads to increased metabolism. Due to the increase in metabolism, these insects will eat more and grow bigger. The bigger mosquitoes get the more they tend to grow in number. This growth in size allows insects to reproduce and multiply at much faster rates than in normal conditions. A few obvious signs of a bigger population could be higher than normal crop damage and infestations.

Fewer Threats

Similar to insects, temperature increases can affect larger predators. High temperatures will disrupt the growth patterns of larger predators which leads to shorter life spans. However, the metabolism of birds will decrease when temperatures rise which causes them to hunt less. If larger predators, like birds, begin to hunt less it will lead to more insects. Fewer predators lead to more pests. 

Warning Signs

With all of this being said, there may be more bugs this winter but it depends on the type of bug. While this isn’t an absolute fact, we have reason to believe that insect behaviors is still active. With our unusually hot summer last summer and the hot winter months we’ve had in the Carolinas, our insect friends are still out and about. While it’s inconvenient to experience a few bug bites here and there in the winter, winter bugs typically don’t pose a huge threat. However, if you find signs of an infestation, there will be a problem. Webs in dusty corners, groupings of insects in warmer places, or the most obvious, dead bug carcasses spread around your home are a few key signs to look for. 

Winter Time Pest Control 

Wintertime pest control does not seem to be the most obvious time to get your pest control in check, however, starting early can prevent many future headaches for you and your home. There are a few pest control items you can do yourself to help. Start by keeping a clean and tidy home and reduce unnecessary clutter. Next step should be ensuring all cracks, doors, and windows are completely sealed and that all high moisture areas remain dry. These are places like your bathroom, under the sink, etc. If you are still seeing one too many insect friends, contact your local pest control. Professional pest control will be the most effective method in wintertime pest control. Better yet, you are able to form a relationship with pest control professionals before mosquito and insect season are in full swing. Our team at Palmetto Exterminator would be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have. Please contact us today for your free pest inspection!