Fall is a transition time for insects and other invertebrates to acclimate to colder temperatures. Where do they go in the winter?
Fall is a transition time for insects and other invertebrates to acclimate to colder temperatures. Where do these insects go in the winter? Many stay right where they lived during the summer. They are less active.
The fallen leaves help protect insects and invertebrates during the winter months, and a campaign to “Leave the Leaves” is catching on as people are becoming more environmentally conscious.
“Leave the Leaves” doesn’t mean that you need to leave all the leaves scattered on your property. Instead of removing all fallen leaves from your property, consider piling leaves on garden beds, around tree bases, or other areas. The leaf litter layer will protect your plants and help keep the soil from drying out over the colder temperatures.
Think twice before you mow, rake, blow, or bag your leaves. Avoid shredding the leaves to keep them whole to protect the invertebrates and eggs already living there. Invertebrates rely on organic matter to provide food, habitat, and shelter during the winter months.
And when you decide to tidy up in the spring, wait until late spring to allow the invertebrates to emerge.
For more information, see the Xerces Society.
Mary Ann Boyer
Environmental Sustainability Consultant