Venice Pest Blog

The Official Blog of Venice Pest Control

The Truth about Lawn Pests and Cold Weather

We always seem more aware of lawn pests during the summer months. There are several reasons for this. First, most of us spend more time outside during the summer. Second, without freezing temperatures and a layer of frost or snow on the ground, insects are more actively visible. That doesn't mean that winter is a time to ignore pest control, however, because most insects have strategies to combat cold weather.

Red fire ants, for example, can burrow down so deeply into the soil that they're largely unaffected by cold weather. 

“They tend to be quite ‘insulated’, if you will, from the extreme temperature changes — unless there’s a very long sustained cold, which may slowly make its way down into the depths,” said [Erfan Vafaie, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist] (Texas A&M University).

Other insects winter in the ground as larvae or grubs, thus reducing their water content while simultaneously raising the amount of glycerol in their blood. Since glycerol acts as a natural antifreeze, this greatly increases their ability to survive the cold months. 

Other insects become freeze-tolerant by producing specialized proteins. The woolly bear, a moth larva, and goldenrod gall fly larvae are several examples of insects that produce such proteins, rendering them unaffected by winter's chill.

The upshot of these winter-survival mechanisms is that once spring rolls around, your yard will once again be teeming with lawn pests just waiting to attack your gardens, shrubs, trees, homes, and outbuildings. Your best plan of defense is to ensure that you've contacted a pest control professional before spring rolls around. 

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