Five Types of Insects that Live in Your Lawn During Winter
Winter can bring welcome relief for those who loathe the bugs that are such a prominent part of our warmer season. However, just because the bugs have vanished does not mean they are gone forever. Before long, warmer weather will signal their return in full force. How are they able to disappear almost entirely and yet come back in such tremendous numbers? It’s actually easier than you might think: they spend the winter months living in your lawn. Even if your grass goes dormant, it provides a great environment for a number of different bug species to continue to thrive or to hibernate through the winter while protected from the elements.
Here are five types of bug species that can be found living in your lawn during winter as well as some tips for how to treat for them during these months so you can reduce the impact these bugs might have when the weather starts to warm up again.
Ants are some of the most prominent lawn pests of the warm season, but they don’t completely die off or disappear during colder winter months. As cold-blooded organisms, ants are significantly impacted by the cold, and this dramatically reduces their activity during these months. Throughout the autumn months, ants will typically feast on fats, carbohydrates, and a number of other nutrients to “fatten” themselves up in preparation for winter. During the winter months, ants will dramatically slow their movements to the point where they become more or less dormant. In this state, so long as they don’t freeze to death, they can pretty much wait out the winter cold and resume their life in the spring.
Treating for ants during the winter months may not always appear the most effective, but treating for ants during fall or early winter, when colonies might still be active, can have a dramatic impact on ant populations throughout the next pest season. We strongly recommend treating anthills during your winter season.
Termites also live in colonies located underground, much the same way ants do. However, unlike ants, termites do not always go dormant for the winter months. With the right conditions, termites will typically remain active throughout the winter months, notably those that live in colonies underground. So long as the ground covering the colony doesn’t freeze over, most termite colonies will be protected from winter cold for a long period of time. And so long as the colony can still obtain a reliable source of food, life will continue more or less as normal. Therefore, we absolutely do not recommend discontinuing your termite protection measures during winter months.
Fleas do not hibernate during winter months. Instead, they spend much of their time looking for a host that they can use as both a food source and for warmth that keeps them alive. Until they can find such a host, fleas (and ticks as well) will generally live under the canopy in your lawn, where they are sheltered from sunlight and shielded from potential predators (as well as potentially cold and strong winds that can blow them away).
Flea eggs can continue to hatch throughout winter, particularly if they are laid in the fur of a warm host like a dog or cat. Therefore, do not discontinue your pet’s flea and tick prevention medications during the winter months. If you have a pet that lives primarily outside, be sure to refresh their flea and tick medications during this season as well so you can let them inside with peace of mind on nights where temperatures get too cold.
Spiders are an incredibly varied type of bug, and as such different species will have different behaviors during winter. Spiders that live longer than a year will generally hibernate by finding shelter in tree bark, under rocks, or any other form of cover they can find (some will even dig their own shelter into the ground). These spiders will wait out the winter and return to hunting in the spring when warmer weather causes eggs to hatch and greatly increases the available food supply.
Other types of spiders, such as the jumping spider, actually die as a result of the winter cold, but not before laying a sac of eggs in the fall. This egg sac actually hatches during winter months, but the young remain protected within the egg sac until the cold of winter has passed. Once the world defrosts, the spiders emerge from the egg sac and begin the process of maturing throughout the year. The next fall, when they have fully matured, they lay their own egg sac and the process starts all over again.
Beetles are another species of bug that quite literally does die off every winter, but returns in force during the spring. Beetles lay their eggs in the ground and larvae typically hatch and continue to burrow up to several inches into the soil. These larvae, known as grubs, will live like this for the entirety of winter, eating grass roots and other nutrients they can find underground (causing incredible damage to your lawn in the process). In the spring, the larvae have typically matured to adulthood, at which point they dig themselves back out of the ground and take flight.
As we said, grubs can cause tremendous damage to your lawn, particularly when it is in a vulnerable state like it is when it goes dormant during the winter months. Therefore, we recommend treating your lawn for grubs at the start of winter to try and prevent these bugs from ever maturing to adulthood.
Struggling with bugs? Contact the pros at Frame’s Pest Control!