Nature

Will Our Cold Winter Put the Freeze on Pesky Bugs?

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With the freezing weather that Texas has seen in the past few weeks, many might be wondering if this arctic blast will help control spring and summertime bugs who buzz around our ears, cling onto our clothing, and sting us in bed, here in the Texas Hill Country. While scientists are cautiously optimistic that the frigid temps will help to suppress the tick populations, it’s uncertain if the cold weather will phase the scorpions or mosquitoes.

Tick Populations Might Have Suffered This Winter

tick

Photo: Flickr/John Tann

According to Popular Science, pesky bugs like mosquitoes and scorpions have different ways of dealing with the cold but one species you may see less of next summer due to the brutal cold are ticks. The ice and sub-zero temperatures up north may be enough to kill some of these pests off, however, scientists aren’t entirely sure just how big of an impact the cold weather will have because the possible reduction in tick population depends on where you live and how bad winter is in your area.

If there are snow and leaves on the ground, that means ticks are more likely to survive the cold snap, as they can burrow in and insulate themselves. Bare ground, however, could leave them vulnerable to the effects of extreme temperatures.

Mosquitoes Are Adaptable Little Suckers

mosquito

Photo: Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture

But, don’t hold your breath that you won’t see any mosquitos come spring or summer. Some species of mosquitoes are adept at weathering cold weather. After all, some of the most legendary mosquitoes swarm Alaska and other parts of the Arctic. Mosquitoes that can survive such locales have adapted to the cold, with eggs that can endure freezing temperatures and adults that add a biological antifreeze to their body.

Scorpions Can Survive Almost Anything

bugs

Photo: Flickr/homie00001

Scorpions have also proven to be able to endure even the most brutal of circumstances. According to National Geographic, Scorpions hibernate in times of extreme cold. You can find scorpions on every continent except Antarctica, and while they prefer temperatures between 68 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, they can handle a wider range. Many species do fine in extreme heat (up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit) – probably no big surprise there since so many scorpions live in deserts. Remember that deserts can get quite cold at night, and most scorpions can also handle that with no problem. In fact, in lab experiments in the 1980s, scorpions were frozen and thawed, and most survived. Some species can even survive being underwater for two days.