Our mild winter is great for getting outdoors. But wait until June, when the insects return, and you might change your tune about Old Man Winter.
Obviously, the insects don't just 'disappear' and magically reappear the next year.
Insects, or "bugs" to most of us, have an amazing ability to winterize themselves. It has to get pretty cold to kill them.
The lady bug and the stink bug are smart and crawl into our homes when we lease expect it each fall.
Other insects, like the mosquito, replace some of the water in their body with glycerol which acts as an antifreeze. This allows them to stay alive even when the temperatures drop below freezing.
I asked Dr. Rachel Collins, Assistant Professor of Biology at Roanoke College a few questions about how winter weather impacts an insect's survival rate.
DOES A MILD WINTER MEAN MORE INSECTS IN THE SPRING?
If the winter is mild and stays consistently warm all season, insects DO have a better survival rate and we'll likely have more of them in the Spring.
HOW ABOUT THIS WINTER'S WEATHER?
We've had a lot of variability in temperatures this winter. Lots of ups and downs. This can often be more traumatic for insects than a consistently cold winter. The insects come out during the warm stretch of weather, then we get a drastic cool-down and they become caught off guard in the chilly conditions. A winter with lots of variability can often lead to less insects in the winter.
WHAT ABOUT A WINTER WITH LOTS OF SNOW?
Winters with lots of snow doesn't always mean bugs will die off. Snow can act as a blanket, protecting the insects underground from experiancing the frigid temperatures above the snow's surface.
WHAT'S THE WORST SCENARIO FOR AN INSECT?
The worst situation an insect can be in is an extremely cold, below average winter with little to no snow cover to keep him warm. This often leads to insects dying off at a more rapid rate.