Hey Heidi: Will this brutal winter affect the bug population?

ST. LOUIS - They are critters that make most people's skin crawl. Creatures we tend to swat or stomp, but not Ed Spevak, curator of invertebrates at the St. Louis Zoo.

"No what we usually try to do is catch it and feed it out because remember all of these animals have their place," Spevak points out.

Something to remember as we itch this summer because although we don't handle the cold all that well, most bugs do.

"A lot of species have evolved ways of dealing with this sort of cold whether it's producing proteins or other chemicals to allow themselves to freeze," Spevak explains.

Others like termites head for shelter.

"The species we have around here, the common subterranean, they'll utilize wood but most of their nest is underground. So as the cold increases they'll tend to move deeper and deeper," Spevak says.

The same is true for ants. Some species, however, will struggle more than others.

"For some of the exotic mosquitos like Asian tigers, it probably hit them hard too. Our native mosquitoes not so much," he goes on to say.

Cockroaches can survive just about anything.

"I've literally seen German cockroaches thaw out, out of a freezer and walk away," Spevak says.

The most we can hope for is to see some of our least favorite bugs later than usual.

"For some of these species it will either slow down their reemergence, it will cut back on their populations, but these are species which evolved over time to deal with whatever nature can throw at them," Spevak explains.

So plan on swatting, smacking and shooing away as usual.


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