Insects in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the world survive the winter by taking on the temperature of the air around them. From Aliante to Henderson insects go into overwinter mode by manipulating their metabolism and biochemistry to avoid freezing to death.


All insects are ectothermic or coldblooded – during the winter they enter a resting stage called diapauses, known better as hibernation. Their metabolism slows down and normal activity decreases.


The decreasing amount of daylight in the fall triggers the changes that the insects go through. They migrate down from trees or plants to crevices between rocks and under or in rotting logs. Even in these spots more protection is usually necessary to avoid freezing.


Insects use two methods of protection during the winter months – freeze tolerant and freeze avoidant. For example the click beetle overwinters as larva under a log. The carpenter ants cluster in a log and produce glycerol to prevent ice crystals forming in their bodies. Freeze-avoidant insects go into supercooling mode by removing all food particles, dust and bacteria in their gut or inside their cells so the fluid in their bodies can’t solidify.


The insects that seek shelter from winter under or in a log often have company including spiders, snails and slugs – since they are in a state of suspended animation there is no fraternizing among them.


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