How Do Bugs Survive Winter?

How do bugs survive winter?

Like all animals, including people, insects must deal with surviving in cold temperatures.  Insects thrive in warm temperatures, but many species have adapted to survive in cold temperatures.  For soil dwelling insects such as grubs and termites, the insects go deeper into the soil, often found just below the frost line, avoiding the cold.  Other insects, like Monarch butterflies, migrate to warmer climates to survive the winter.  Others produce alcohol from sugars or proteins to help them avoid freezing.  The majority also hunker down in sheltered areas or seek out shelter under rocks and logs to survive the approaching cold weather by minimizing exposure and entering diapause which slows down their body processes to preserve energy.  Follow this link to an article from the Smithsonian magazine illustrates how insects overwinter in inhospitable environments.

Meal Moths, Beetles, & Stored Product Pests

Stored product pests are any pests that infest food products.  These have complete metamorphosis, meaning the insect progress from egg, to larva, to pupa, then adult.  In each stage the insect is totally different.  The larval stage is like a worm or maggot and starts very small after hatching from the egg.  This tiny larva feeds its way through the stored product growing larger and larger until it can pupate into an adult.

The first sign of infestation is usually the adult emerging out and becoming a pest by crawling or flying around.  The adults will mate and the female will lay her eggs near or on the food source, sometimes after tasting it.  The most common is the adult meal moth, known as the Indian meal moth, the less common drugstore or cigarette beetle is often found in New England.

To control:  look for larva in any opened dry food product and discard or freeze it.  Common sources include flour, corn meal, cereal, tea, chocolate, potpourri, dog treats, pet food, bird seed, oatmeal, granola.  Think of undisturbed food product and check old expiration dates.  You can freeze the product in the case of pet food or bird seed if you don’t want to discard it.



 Drugstore beetle.

 Cigarette Beetle

 Meal Moth Larva

 Meal moth damage (note the webbing and frass in the product).

Rodents and Door Sweeps

Rats and mice are lazy enough to use the doors we provide.  The openings at the bottom of the door are the first areas to seal to the outside.  Replace or add a door sweep to the side of the door with the door stops (the inside of the jamb) so that air cannot easily leave with heat, or in the summer cool air, and accompanying smells to the outside.  A brush style sweep is the most efficient at dealing with different surfaces.  These photos illustrate vinyl door sweeps chewed open by rodents.  

Restaurant Fly Issues & Wet, Organic Matter


Keep your head down to try to solve fly issues.

When restaurants have flies, the management and staff spend time killing adults.  They will try to kill the adults with DDVP strips, sprays to kill adults, fly swatters.  Save your time, money and energy and look for wet, organic matter.  Adult flies pupate out of a pupa casing located in or just above where they spent their youth as a larva, in wet, organic matter.  Fly control starts by locating and cleaning or removing the wet, organic matter that is a food source for the fly larva.  These areas are usually hard to reach and even harder to clean.  They are usually under equipment, down drains, behind the icemaker or dishwasher.  Wet, organic matter is prevalent in restaurant environments.  The harder it is to locate, the more likely the location is a major source of fly activity.  The restaurants with the best success against flies make a team member the sanitation leader to look for wet, organic matter.

Under a table, onions that were there so long they sprouted.


Deer Protection


Over the winter deer can devastate ornamental plantings like arborvitae, rhododendron, boxwood and holly. We apply Deer Pro up to deer browsing height to make the plant tissue have a bitter taste. Deer tend to feed on preferred sources over and over so only light sampling will occur and the deer will feed on other, tastier, plants. The light green color at the bottom of the pictured arborvitae is the treated area. It lasts all winter, has anti-dessicant properties to protect the plant from winter burn as well and will weather off with the spring rains.