Where Do All the Bugs Go in the Winter?

Most of us are intimately familiar with the tale of The Ant and The Grasshopper by Aesop. As the story goes, the grasshopper spends the entire summer singing instead of preparing for winter, while the ant work the entire summer to build up food for the winter. When winter comes, the grasshopper is now hungry and has no food, so he goes to ask the ant to give him food. In the original Aesop tale, the grasshopper is turned away and told to go and dance the winter away. Aesop’s tale is meant to show the virtues of hard work, industriousness, and planning for the future. However, modern versions have softened this tale and allowed the ant to give the grasshopper food as a lesson in charity.

However, this story asks another question: just where do all the insects go for the winter. Do they prepare in the summer by storing up food? Earthwise Pest Management offers the best pest control services in Roseville. From termite control, spider control, and flea removal, Earthwise Pest Management can help you with all your residential and commercial exterminator needs. Continue reading below about where all the insects go in the winter, and then contact us for your quarterly pest control services!


Many of us love winter because it isn’t “buggy,” meaning we can be outdoors without having bugs flying around, landing on us, sucking our blood, or biting us in any other way, shape, or form. That’s because in the winter, many insects employ a variety of tactics to stay alive.


Many insects pack up and leave like other animals do, such as birds. They head to warmer climates where they are better able to regulate their body temperature and find food to survive. Many of us have heard of the famous migration of Monarch butterflies. These beautiful insects fly south to Mexico for the winter, sometimes up to 2,000 miles if they are coming from Canada, to winter. In fact, many butterflies and moths do the same thing. Some types of dragonflies, such as the common green darner, do so as well.

Surviving in packs

Many insects, which are normally solitary creatures unless they are colony insects, come together to survive the winter, relying on each other’s combined body heat. Honey bees are one that is well-known for this. Ants and termites do as well, and they tend to head deeper into the soil below the frost line where it’s warmer as well.

Indoor shelter

You are correct if you said that insects seek shelter inside homes and buildings during the winter where it’s warmer. From spiders and box elder bugs to stink bugs, lady beetles, and pill bugs, these little creatures will often hide out in dark corner or in little-used spaces such as your basement. If you notice an influx of unwanted guests this coming winter, give Earthwise Pest Management a call in Roseville. We can come to your home or business and give your unwanted squatters a reason to move elsewhere.


Torpor is a state of sleep for insects, much like hibernation is for some mammals, most notably bears. The insect basically doesn’t move, conserving energy. This is often something insects do that live in cold weather climates, such as in the mountains or near the earth’s poles. One interesting example of torpor is the New Zealand weta. These are giant crickets that are not all that cute and can be scary when you see them. Obviously living in the higher mountains in New Zealand, this type of cricket freezes solid at night and then dethaws when daylight hits it. It then resumes its insect live, happy and healthy as can be, only to repeat this process over and over again in the winter. Cryogenics in the insect world!


Surprisingly a modern word to etymologists, diapause was invented in the 19th century to describe this exact phenomenon observed in the insect world. It’s a combination of “dia” which means through in Greek and the English word “pause,” or something that is temporarily suspended in development. Hence, the literal meaning of the word means a delay in development.

Earthwise Pest Management in Roseville notes that diapause is a long-term state of suspension, as opposed to torpor, which is a temporary state of inactivity on the part of insects. Diapause is initiated by the environment, meaning it’s not something the insect consciously does, such as when winter comes. Furthermore, an insect’s metabolic rate is reduced, which reduces the insect’s need for food. We see diapause appear in many forms in the insect world:

  • Eggs. Many insects lay their eggs in the fall to hatch in the spring. This is considered diapause.
  • Some insects stay in their larvae environment, only to complete the metamorphosis process in the spring. The wooly bear caterpillar is just one insect that does this.
  • Some insects stay in the pupa stage, only to emerge into the final stage of metamorphosis, the adult stage) in the spring. The black swallowtail chooses this method of winter survival.
  • Others enter diapause in their adult stages. Mourning cloak butterflies hide out in trees during the long winter months.

Diapause is not an exclusive activity of the winter months. Many insects can enter diapause where there are other impactful environmental conditions, including drought, temperature extremes, and a reduction in food. Some insects in the tropics also undergo diapause for these unfavorable living condition reasons.


Before humans figured out how to make antifreeze, insects were doing it. When the cooler fall temperatures start to set in, insects begin to produce a substance called glycerol, which in essence protects the insect’s body when temperatures drop below zero. Glycerol helps to lower the freezing point of body liquids so no damage is done when winter hits.


As a fact of life, many insects die when winter hits. Earthwise Pest Management in Roseville notes that these insects normally lay their eggs in the fall before they die, leaving the future generations to carry on their torch. Examples include crickets and grasshoppers.

To answer our original question of do insects store up food for the winter as Aesop’s fable tells us? Colony insects do store up food for the long winter months, such as honey bees, ants, and termites.


While insects have their uses in terms of feeding other creatures we adore and that enrich our lives, such as song birds, it’s nice to get a break from them and enjoy our fall without swatting at flies.

Earthwise Pest Management offers commercial and residential pest control services in Roseville. We help you manage all sorts of bugs and insects, from termites to silverfish, so you can be less “buggy.” We are passionate about our use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, which emphasizes finding the source of your pest control problem so you don’t have to deal with a recurrence of infestations. We care about the environment and want to use as little pesticides as possible as we help you rid your home or business of pests. By focusing on long-term solutions to your pest control problems, we can help you and the environment.

One of the best ways to prevent pests is by investing in regular pest control maintenance with Earthwise Pest Management in Roseville. We can come to your location, residential or commercial, either on a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis in order to provide routine maintenance services. This will not only prevent a minor insect problem from becoming a full-blown infestation, but it will also allow us to learn more about your particular site and discover the long-term solutions you need for your home or business.

At your top-rated exterminator, Earthwise Pest Management can help eliminate your pests for good. Contact us today to get started!