Does Cold Weather Kill Bugs?

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Last week, Atlanta experienced the coldest temperatures in over a decade.  Being a life long Atlanta native, I can’t remember it being nearly so cold, for so long.  This abnormally cold blast has brought questions about what impact, if any, this arctic air has on pests. You might be surprised by the answer.

If you are like most people,  you would assume that extremely cold air kills bugs. In a very literal sense you would be right. Bugs, like all living animals, have tolerances for heat and cold. If exposed to either extreme for too long they will surely die. In fact, thermal application techniques are commonly used in modern pest management. A good example would be high heat (greater than 140F) to control bed bugs…but that’s another blog for another day.

So, if temperature extremes kill bugs…Atlanta should be bug free this spring, right? WRONG!!! Pests are survivalists. They don’t allow themselves to be exposed to the life threatening conditions. They take refuge in tree hollows, under logs, behind your home’s siding or roof shingles, in your attic or crawl space.

The list of places pests hide is almost limitless. In addition, most pests enter a state of suspension during the winter months. Think of it like hibernation for mammals. This means the pest does not need to emerge from hiding to find resources (food/water) to survive the winter months. This further reduces the likelihood of a deadly exposure.

Don’t worry Atlanta! Your warm months will still be full of bugs no matter how cold it might get. And by the way, If you need a hand with that…I do know someone. Thanks and try to stay warm. We’ll all be complaining about the heat and humidity soon enough.