With last year’s news of “murder hornets” and mosquito-borne illnesses, it’s natural to wonder if bugs are lurking around the 2021 corner just waiting to come back and pounce.
We recently answered the “Where do bugs go in the winter?” question here on the Bug Bite Thing blog, but now that we’re inching our way into the new year, we’re here for the more important question … when do bugs come back?!
Most years, it seems like insects magically reappear. It has more to do with science than fairy dust, of course. Some migrating insects return from the south, others turn off their own version of antifreeze from deep spaces in the soil (also known as overwintering), and even more are fresh from a new generation of eggs.
Unfortunately, we do not know an exact date for return, which varies from region to region. We can tell you when the temperature starts to rise, you can expect the number of bugs to increase. For most areas, this insect awakening begins around springtime and peaks in the summer with longer days and warmer weather.
Mosquitoes, for instance, often find shelter and remain dormant for winter, but their winter-hardy eggs are ready to hatch in March, April and May when the earth around them seems to come alive. Bees, ants and other colony insects stay close to their hive during the winter to protect their queens when the weather turns cold, but are ready to emerge once the outside air warms.
Also, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but though some of you experiencing frigid temperatures and snow may feel otherwise, our winters are getting warmer over the years—which means more pests, earlier. Because of the warmer winters, many of the insects that traditionally die off, do not. This can lead to invasive species, as well as even more from the non-invasive species than usual. An early spring can lead to a longer period of reproduction, which then creates higher insect populations in the summer … not ideal for mosquito magnets.
Those of us in areas with more climates like Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Mississippi often experience the effects of insects before spring hits. The bugs usually seem to take a break in December and January, but come February, beware. Here’s the good news: these pests’ predators usually become more active in these areas around the same time, which helps to keep them somewhat at bay.