Insects won't be affected by cold temperatures

Insects won't be affected by cold temperatures

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - You may have heard that cold weather kills bugs.

We took that belief to the experts at Auburn University and you may be surprised by what they had to say.

"There is a lot of optimism about it being extremely cold in the south or weeks on end and everyone is making the assumption that all the bugs are definitely dead, but that's a misconception," explains AU graduate student, Julian Golec.

"I'm so sorry I have to disappoint our general public at his moment, the story may change later on, but so far up to date, field data showed no difference at all," says Dr. Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Extension entomologist and Auburn University professor

Even though the southeast has seen its fair share of frigid weather this season, insects have great survival skills.

They have evolved strategies for withstanding freezing temperatures by entering diapause, hibernating or burrowing deep down into highly protective sites.

"When the temperatures warm up they become active and that is a way to waste energy," says Hu.

Fire ants, termites and the invasive kudzu bug are three types of insect that are prevalent in our area, but according to the experts, temperature is just one factor of their makeup and it will not put an dent in their populations.

"Insects have adapted to be able to survive harsh, cold conditions. In terms of this cold weather disrupting insect's lifecycles," says Golec, "I don't believe it will do much for populations, but if there is a cold snap further on when these insects are sort of more alive, then it could have an impact."

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