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Insects in Winter

January 3, 2017

A listener asks: Where do all the insects go in winter?



How do insects survive winter? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scott Burger of Eastsound, Washington, wrote to ask where all the insects go in winter. We turned to entomologist Lou Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History. He says insects have many strategies: some butterflies migrate; some termites burrow deep underground; honeybees stay warm by sharing body heat; adult praying mantids die but their eggs survive; and some insects even go into suspended animation or produce a sort of antifreeze. Others, he says, are hiding from you.

LOU SORKIN (American Museum of Natural History):

Some insects may very well be very active under the snow, because there’s a layer of space under the snow to the ground and that could be an active highway for a lot of arthropods.


And if you have a science question, give us a call at 1-800-why-isit. That’s 1-800-949-4748. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.