GARDENING: Where do insects go in the winter?

As the temperatures begin to fall you may notice a decrease in pest populations. Although you may not see them out anymore, they are still present. Many insects overwinter by entering a state of diapause or hibernation. During this time their metabolism slows, and they run off stored food/energy reserves in their bodies until temperatures rise and they become active once more
When these insects overwinter, they are usually hiding safely on inactive plant tissue, many times burrowing into stems. They can get creative and hide in tree stumps, under debris, or inside attics and wall voids.
Some insects migrate when temperatures begin to fall. The most common example of insect migration is the monarch butterfly migration south to Mexico. Some insects even have a chemical in their bodies that are freeze tolerant called cryoprotectants, it functions similar to antifreeze.
Although you may not be noticing these small creatures they are around, the cold is just inhibiting their level of activity. But as temperatures begin to rise you will see the return of these small buzzing creatures.
For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland, email jeanette.castanon@ag.tamu.edu or visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu or westtexasgardening.org.