Where do the bugs go?

It has just occurred to me (after reading an article about insect antifreeze proteins) that bugs cannot, as I subconsciously assumed before, die out in the winter. If they did, there would be no bugs to procreate in the spring, which is so obviously not the case. So where do they go? Do they hibernate? Migrate? Construct magical secret underground empires?

Some do die in the winter. The eggs they lay before dying are dormant until spring. Other bugs hibernate. There have been some threads from annoyed people who have ladybugs hibernating in their houses. Apparantly one breed of ladybug will hibernate in mass numbers, which is very startling when you find them in a closet or storage building.

[li]Some insects continuously go from egg to larva to pupae to adult all the time, until it gets too cold. Less and less eggs survive the colder weather until they quit developing and just sit out the cold. Then in the spring, those that survived just start right up again.[/li]
This is why if there’s a mid-February thaw for a couple of days then back to freezing temps that the early spring will be relatively bug-free. The eggs started to develop during the thaw, then were killed in their more delicate condition by the return of cold weather.

[li]Some insects migrate, most notably the Monarch Butterfly. There’s a small forest spot in Mexico where they go, and it’s just amazing to see all the trees completely covered with butterflies. Sadly, this spot is being encroached upon by civilization.[/li]
[li]Some hibernate, then lay eggs in the spring.[/li]
[li]Some only live as adults for a single spring, lay their eggs, and die. The eggs hatch, the larva go to the ground, dig in, pupate, then hibernate for years.[/li]
There’s a cycle of 17-year cicadas in the DC/Baltimore area that’re due to emerge in Spring 2004. I was here for the 1987 scene; it was right out of a Hitchcock movie. With any luck, I’ll have either moved or be on vacation from April to June.

An interesting thing here: humans have done a number on the life cycle of some insects. Because we build houses, some insects find them and burrow in to make nests (carpenter ants, for instance). Then, because the house radiates heat, many of the eggs that wouldn’t hatch until spring hatch during the dead of winter. Not unlike the “false spring” described by AWB. I don’t think this has a negative impact on these insects, but I just find it interesting how we build structures to protect ourselves from the elements only to have one or more of those elements invade and make it worse.

By the way, if you ever see ants or anything in your house during the months when the temperature is regularly below freezing, call a pest control company. You have an infestation.