Will Insects Survive the Winter?


Brrrrr. It has been cold this winter. I was talking with Bob Bauernfeind recently. He has been getting some of the same questions people have been asking me…”Will the really cold temps this winter, reduce bug populations next spring and summer?”

Bob put it this way. “If one exposed grubs directly to the cold air, you would freeze/kill them. But they are in the soil! And being buried in the soil protects them all winter long.

Look at weather data from Mary Knapp at the K-State Weather Data Library http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/wdl/

Note the two coldest days in December and January:

Min. Air Avg. Soil
Date Temp. Temp.
Scandia 12/10 -16.3 33.1
Manhattan 12/10 -11.7 34.4
Scandia 1/9 -14.7 34.1
Manhattan 1/8 -10.7 32.9

So you can see by hiding in the soil, grubs can stay safe and protected. And if there is a layer of snow on top of the soil, the soil will be even more insulated. Bob did a little test in his backyard and buried a thermometer under the snow but on top of the grass. Then he placed a thermometer on a stake just above the snow surface. He measured 29 degrees under the snow and -4 degrees in the air. That is a 34-degree difference between the two thermometers separated only by a foot of snow.

Stay warm. Spring is just around the corner.

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