Spring is just around the corner, so where are all of those pests that will start invading homes in just a few months? Pests have developed a number of clever ways to wait out cold conditions. Some, such as carpenter ants, actually produce an antifreeze— glycerol —that allows them to survive at colder temperatures without their bodies freezing. Ants move deeper into the ground to escape colder temperatures. Many ant colonies move up and down in the soil daily throughout the year. They bring their ant larvae and pupae up to where the sun warms the top layers of the colony during the day, and then move them lower at night to keep them warmer. So, it is an easy matter for ants to move a little deeper during cold winter months. Some pests hide in protected places and go into a state of diapause where their body functions slow way down, allowing them to survive until conditions are better again.
For other pests, all the tender adults may die, and only a tougher life-stage survives. For instance, adult moths are easily killed by cold temperatures, but their eggs or pupae are much more weather-resistant and survive cold periods. These continue their development as soon as the weather warms. Of course, indoor pests like cockroaches, pantry pests, mice, and others continue to feed year-round in warm areas indoors. Before we know it, these pests, plus pests that wintered outdoors, will once again become more active and troublesome!