Insect world begins to awake from its winter slumber as spring nears

By Bianca Barr Tunno, AccuWeather staff writer

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Common spring pests might start pestering you soon, according to bug experts.

Insects have a lot of different ways to survive a winter. Some of them emerge from their winter slumber as adults, as eggs or in various other stages of bug development.

Depending on where you live in the United States, the insect world is starting to wake up or is already moving.

carpenter ants

(DianaLynne/iStock/Getty Images Plus)


After the thaw

Conditions for pests like ants and termites vary across the United States in early March because of soil temperature, according to Tim Husen, Ph.D., board certified entomologist and technical services manager with Orkin.

“Ants in northern climates right now aren’t even out from the soil yet. They are still down below because the ground is frozen,” said Husen. “They are below the frost line, overwintering in the soil. But as soon as that soil warms up, they are back up, crawling onto the surface.”

When the soil thaws, you may see the winged version of ants and termites once humidity and temperature picks up, Husen said. Those colonies have been underground all winter and they will be ready and strong enough to produce flights of winged termites or ants that can help spread the colony around.

If you live in areas of the country where the soil never freezes, ants or termites underneath your house or under a large concrete slab can be active all year.

“Termites and ants will be swarming when it is humid, just after a rain, on a warm spring morning, Husen told AccuWeather. “You will see that every time. Those are just the right environmental conditions for that one life event to happen.”

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Mosquitoes on the move

If you live in an area where the overnight low temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, expect to see mosquitoes. Experts say take special care at dawn and dusk to avoid mosquito bites.

“Adult mosquitoes just don’t fly unless the nighttime temperature is above 50 degrees. Warmer climates are going to see mosquitoes a lot earlier than cooler climates,” according to Husen.

Hiding in your home

Bugs that actually survive over winter by remaining dormant, like stink bugs or Asian lady beetles, may have found shelter in your home, but now, they want to get out. They want to find food, water, shelter and a mate.

You may see them emerge when days are longer and it’s warm and sunny.

“They want to get out of your house. They didn’t necessarily mean to come into your house – they were just looking for a warm, dry place,” Husen said.

Spring Pest Timeline



For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.

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