Spotlight on Pests:
We’ve been getting questions about the early cold weather this winter, and whether we can expect fewer insects this growing season, because of it. The short answer is, we don’t know! So many variables affect insect populations, and the winter’s not over yet. However, we can tell you more about how insects adapt to the cold, and how winter and spring weather patterns can impact insect populations.
Insects have developed many different mechanisms for survival. They are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth, due to how quickly they reproduce and create new generations. However, insects are cold-blooded, meaning that they cannot produce their own heat. So, they need to find alternative methods for survival over the winter.
Many insects burrow underneath leaves or plant debris in gardens, lawns, or woodlots. The layer of organic matter on top of the insects acts as insulation and buffers the temperature changes throughout the winter months. Similarly, a fluffy blanket of snow can act as insulation. Wet or heavy snow doesn’t work quite as well to protect insects. Also, the period of cold makes a difference. A few days of single-digit temperatures have a larger impact on insect populations than a quick overnight dip into low temps.