What Happens to Ladybugs in Winter?

So many insects just seem to disappear in the winter and then reappear again in the spring  like magic!  During winter time there is so much snow and it is just so cold.  I am cold all winter long and I have fur and live in my owner’s house.  But, ladybugs don’t have any fur or feathers, can’t put on a jacket, and don’t live in a house.  How do they do it?

 

bug ladybug larva

Ladybug larva are big eaters.

Well, ladybugs are different than most other insects because they live for a long time as adults.  Similar to many insects they transform from an egg to a larva to a pupa and finally to an adult.  This whole transformation takes them about one month.

Once they are adults they live for on average one year, but can live for a couple of years.  This means that they are somehow able to survive an entire season as an adult and have strategies to survive winter’s cold and summer’s heat.

Insects are cold-blooded, which means they get their body temperature from their surroundings.  As the temperature drops heading into winter their body temperature drops and they become less active.  Eventually, they go into a deep sleep, which is like a hibernation.

ladybug cluster

Cluster of ladybugs.

As winter is coming the ladybugs will gather into large clusters (this could be from just a few to thousands of them).  They do this in order to keep each other warmer during the cold winter months.  The clusters of ladybugs also will find hiding places to gather, such as under bark or leaves, inside hollow trees, or in crevices of trees and rocks.

If there are homes around, the ladybugs may find a way to get into part of the house to stay warm.  They may in attics or under roofs during the winter then go outside again in summer.

 

 

2 thoughts on “What Happens to Ladybugs in Winter?

  1. Jake,
    Would you be willing to share your photo of the hibernating lady bugs with us? We are a non-profit in VA and have an article in our newsletter about insects in winter. If so, you can email me and let me know. Thanks. 🙂

    • HI,

      Thanks for you inquiry, but I’m sorry I can’t share that photo. Some of the photos are mine, some are from Flickr, and others are ones I purchased through Shutterstock.

      There are a couple on Flickr that show a cluster of ladybugs.

      Good luck.

      Mark

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