U of M Extension: News & Views


If you live in northern Minnesota, chances are that you have wondered how the cold affects the Emerald Ash Borer! How cold does it have to be before the overwintering emerald ash borer(EAB) larvae begin to die? Here's a brief overview of EAB winter physiology and results of some current research that should help to explain that our cold climate may help slow the rate of population expansion, but it won't be enough to stop the spread of EAB. Like many insects, overwintering EAB larvae are able to survive in climates with subzero winter temperatures using the strategy of supercooling, or the ability to cool a liquid below it's normal freezing point without ice formation. To avoid freezing of their internal fluids, different insects produce a variety of specialized sugars, alcohols, or antifreeze proteins during the winter months. These compounds allow insects to endure subzero body temperatures far below where their internal fluids would normally freeze. Once insects become seasonally acclimated to the cold, temperatures below this supercooling point are required before significant portions of a population begin to die.


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