Fun on Friday
Brr! What do Insects do in Winter?
Ant peeked out of his tunnel. Brrr! Snowflakes swirled in the cold air. Winter had arrived overnight. Ant raced back through the tunnel, put on her furry winter coat, warm knit cap, and her three pairs of mittens. After drinking a hot cup of tea, Ant was off for the day warm and cozy.
Is this true? Of course not! Insects don’t wear coats or mittens, or drink tea in the winter to keep themselves warm. What do they do to survive the cold?
Some insects migrate to a different place to avoid the cold. The most common migrating insect we know of is the Monarch butterfly. Other species of butterflies and moths also migrate.
Some insects enter a state similar to hibernation called diapause. Their body functions slow down. They don’t grow or develop during this time. Their bodies do just enough to stay alive.
Insects can survive the winter in diapause in a sheltered place that protects them from the changes in temperature. Some of them go underground, some burrow under the bark of trees or under the roof in your house or barn. Some of them even survive inside the stem of plants, forming a structure called a gall.
Another way insects survive winter is by changing the makeup of the liquid in their bodies. They produce more sugars which causes the liquid inside them to freeze at a lower temperature. A kind of antifreeze for insects. Pretty “cool”, right?!
The next time you go for a walk in the woods in winter, think about the hidden winter world of insects around you. Underneath the warm layer of snow or the protective covering of bark, insects are hunkered down until spring!
Enjoy the weekend!
All photographs courtesy of Pixabay.com