Fluctuating temperatures can impact certain bug populations

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Depending on the bug, up-and-down winter temperatures could kill a good portion of them

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – For a February day in northeast Ohio, Monday felt like a heatwave. But will warmer weather now mean more bugs come spring?

“A lot of insects will hide during the wintertime,” said Eric Barrett, with the Ohio State University Extension in Canfield. “In Ohio, that’s the most common thing insects do.”

It’s called diapause.

“Kind of like hibernation, where they slow their metabolic activity,” Barrett said.

These little creatures tend to hide anywhere — under leaves, in the soil or even in your house.

“A lot of bugs are going to be in your baseboards, they’re going to be in the corners, they’re going to be in your basement. It all depends on the type of bug it is,” said Matt Lloyd, a Grace Services technician.

We’ve seen winters that didn’t seem like they were ever going to end.

“It’s that low temperature for a certain amount of time. Then that insect isn’t going to survive the winter,” Barrett said.

For other bugs, a winter with extreme temperature changes could kill a lot of them off.

“That burns up those reserves that they’ve stored away for the winter to survive,” Barrett said. “So even though it’s not cold for a long, long period of time, they can be worn out by those changes in winter weather.”

One bug that does wake up during warm weather is the stink bug. Because of that, it has a higher chance of dying when the temperatures go from the teens to the 40s and back again.

Lloyd said one insect he’s noticed early on is the pavement ant.

“They winter outside but they forge inside. That’s one of the big pests we’re getting calls for now, which is pretty early this time of year.”

If you see an ant or any other pest, it’s best to call a professional before treating it yourself.

“There’s some form of ants that you could spray your own pesticide down on and kill them yourself. There’s other ones that will just make them scatter and you’ll have ants throughout your entire home,” Lloyd said.

Barrett said it’s still too early to know how bad the bugs will be in the spring. He said they’re still watching those temperatures closely.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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