Many are hoping that the frequent, harsh cold snaps Central Texas has seen this winter may mean less pests such as fire ants and mosquitoes once warmer temperatures arrive. But as it turns out, insects have developed innovative survival techniques to keep their populations strong.
Deep inside of ant hills, pesky fire ants dig deeper into the ground where temperatures are warmer.
Mosquitoes – still present but not visible – cozy up in any warm place they can find, just like people.
But some Central Texas pests have even cooler survival tricks – to stay warm.
“There are insects that can actually withstand freezing temperatures for short periods of time,” Wizzie Brown, an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said. “And then we have other ones that actually have kind of an antifreeze in their body that allow their bodies to completely freeze and then they will thaw out when the temperatures get warmer.”
Overall, Brown does not expect any change in this spring’s fire ant population – nor in the coming summer’s mosquito population.