A long, cold winter means less insects on your landscape plants the next year, right? Actually, there is no correlation.
Insects are pretty darned effective at protecting themselves during cold weather. They have been around a long time, and will be around long after the human race is gone.
Insects can create a type of antifreeze from the sugars they consume when dining on plants. This protective fluid keeps them safe even when temperatures dip well below record cold levels.
What makes for a “bad” insect year, is actually winters that fluctuate wildly between cold and warm, confusing insects into becoming active during warm periods and using up their stored sugars they use for antifreeze. So what really does reduce insect populations are on and off again warm spells throughout the winter.
What this means to a homeowner is keeping an eye on potential insect problems on your landscape plants before they become a problem. Many times insects do not harm plants, so never automatically assume it’s time to poison them before you research what kind of insect you have.