How Do Ladybugs Survive in Winter?

Ladybugs are cold-blooded insects and depend on external weather to maintain their body temperature. Many people wonder how they tolerate the freezing weather in winter, as they are tiny and sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

How Do Ladybugs Survive in Winter? Ladybugs survive in winter using different strategies, such as hibernation, migration, supercooling, and antifreeze substances. They seek warm and damp places for shelter, aggregate in groups, change colors, and conserve energy by using the stored fat in their bodies. They usually hibernate for 4-5 months, while some species can go into a dormant state for around nine months.

All insects show delicate behavior regarding the changes in temperature around their habitat because many of them are cold-blooded. Thriving in different environmental situations is the evolutionary trait of many beetles, including ladybugs, because they are intelligent enough to use various techniques to protect themselves.

How do ladybugs survive in the winter?

Ladybugs are known to withstand cold weather in particular situations because they change their body temperature with variations in the surrounding temperature.


Ladybugs are known for hibernation in winter because they cannot maintain their body temperature when cold weather arrives.

They go into a dormant state, such as reducing their body activities and metabolic rate to minimize their energy expenditure and survive the freezing environment.

You often notice these beetles start disappearing as the fall season arrives, as they move towards their hibernating sites to sleep or hibernate.

The reduced metabolism maintains the energy levels and reduces the need to eat, which helps them survive low-temperature conditions. Moreover, selecting suitable hibernating sites reduced the risk of predation.


They usually hibernate around their habitats and do not move to long-distance places to thrive in cold weather.

Some species of ladybugs migrate to warmer areas in winter to survive, which reduces their chances of demise in extreme weather conditions.

For example, my friend told me that convergent lady beetles and Asian lady beetles are famous for migration in cold weather conditions.

However, he said they do not migrate to longer distances, like butterflies and many other animals and insects. They migrate to the local areas around their habitats to search for the warmer spots and survive winter.

They come back to their living and breeding sites when the temperature rises again or sometimes do not return if they find suitable places to live.

They live 3-4 months after migration to mate and lay a cluster of eggs, and some female beetles migrate after mating. However, unlike other flying insects, they do not migrate in large numbers.

Antifreeze substances or supercooling

Different ladybug species use various techniques to thrive in the low temperatures around their living sites. They produce chemicals called cryoprotectants that prevent the formation of ice crystals in their body and help them survive.

Moreover, one of my friends told me that some ladybug species use the phenomena of supercooling to remain alive and make it through winter.

Supercooling occurs when water freezes below 32 Fahrenheit without forming crystals because it needs contaminants or dust ions to form ice crystals.

They go into diapause, excrete excessive fluids from their bodies, and eat nothing, which helps the supercooling process and prevents the ice crystal formation. The species using supercooling to get through the winter prefer dry places, while others go for the moist and damp environment.

Seek warm and damp places

Ladybugs search for warm and moist places to hibernate and take shelter during the winter. In the wild, they can hibernate under leaf litter, tree barks, gaps in rocks, dense vegetation, rooting logs, and tree cavities to maintain their body temperature and stay warm.

Moreover, my neighbor told me they could enter the houses and find dark, hidden, and warm places to survive the extreme weather.

He said the temperature inside the tree cavities is 10-15 Fahrenheit warmer than the outside temperature, similar to the leaf litter due to decomposition reaction.

For example, he said they can hibernate in attics, unused dishwashers, vent pipes, wall voids, window gaps, and other hidden spots.

Selecting suitable sites for hibernation and warmth helps them survive longer and reduces the predation risk.

Gather in groups

They aggregate in large numbers to hibernate together in one place, which enhances their survival chances and reduces their predation risk.

My colleague has vast knowledge about how these beetles survive in low temperatures around their habitats, as he read many research papers on their adaptations.

He told me that they release pheromones to attract other ladybugs to the hibernating spots, and the clusters of ladybugs hibernate at one place to provide warmth and better opportunities to find mates afterward.

He shared his experience of observing hundreds of ladybugs hibernating in a colony in his attics because a window in the attic provided an entry route to these beetles.

Change color

Usually, they change their body color during hibernation or when winter arrives because the dark colors allow heat absorption.

It allows them to survive in the cold because they lose heat to their surroundings if the external temperature is low. For example, I observed a few ladybugs in my garden hibernating under the leaf litter, and I was surprised to see that they had changed their body color to absorb heat and prevent heat loss.

The color change can be due to the temperature drop or camouflaging because they use these strategies to protect themselves.

Conserve energy

Ladybugs do not eat when hibernating or when winter comes because they go into diapause or dormant state. They reduce their foraging activities and stay in one place to minimize energy consumption.

Moreover, my uncle told me they eat a lot before winter to build body mass and store the fats for hibernation, as they eat many soft-body insects around their habitats.

He said they use the stored body fat to reduce the energy and eating requirements during hibernation and ensure survival.

Why do ladybugs die in winter?

Ladybugs can die in winter because of many reasons, such as the environmental factors around their habitats and the temperature fluctuations.

They can die if the temperature drops significantly and they fail to maintain their body temperature. Moreover, the selection of hibernating sites also affects the survival rate, as the more exposed locations do not provide enough warmth, and they die.

One of my friends raised many ladybugs in captivity and in his garden, and he told me that the extreme cold weather for too long also causes them to die in hibernation.

He further explained that some ladybugs die if they do not eat enough before the winter and have less stored fat because they cannot live longer without eating or using stored fats.

What is too cold for ladybugs?

Ladybugs can tolerate temperatures around 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4-7.2 degrees Celsius) and die when the temperature reaches below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are adapted to tolerate varying temperature ranges, depending on the species and their ability to withstand the temperature variations.

They cannot find food in extreme weather and face challenges when taking flights. Therefore, they die when the temperature drops below a specific value.

How long do ladybugs hibernate?

They hibernate for a time according to the temperature fluctuations and the living conditions around their habitat.

For example, I studied their hibernation period and came to know that some ladybugs can hibernate for nine months, while they usually become dormant for 4-5 months.

My cousin also told me they undergo hibernation as the temperature changes from October to late spring or summer, such as March to July.

In addition, he told me that the locations where they hibernate also determine the time they stay dormant and different environmental factors in these places.

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