Where do insects go in the winter?
When winter sets in, we think insects disappear by magic and only return come spring. However, just like us, those insects must face the peculiar conditions of our Canadian winters.
The strategy chosen by monarch butterflies is to migrate to a warmer place. They can travel close to 5,000 km to find shelter in more southern regions. Those insects fly through the United States to reach the forests of the Mexican region of Michoacan.
Reproduction before dying
Several insect species cannot survive the colder season. Females from species such as crickets, grasshoppers and some butterflies lay their eggs before dying.
However, those eggs must withstand the cold to hatch in the spring. That's why they are laid in places that protect them, such as in the ground, inside plants, under the bark of trees, etc. As soon as spring arrives, the larvae start to develop to become adult insects.
Forming groups to survive
Some insects, such as bees, choose to form groups to keep warm. They gather around the queen and move their wings to generate heat.
Overwintering is not the same thing as hibernation, which is specific to animals such as mammals. It is a state of diapause (dormancy), which means an animal's metabolic activity is slowed down, and sometimes nearly stopped. During that phase, ladybugs, mosquitoes, terrestrial beetles and staphylinids choose to hide under the bark of tree trunks, in basements, attics, garden sheds, etc.