Have you ever wondered where insects go when it rains? We have all seen a poor unfortunate spider washed down the plughole so we know how vulnerable they are to rushing water. Surely then, isn’t rain one of their worst enemies?
Sorry, but this is one of these “it depends” things. It depends on the volume of the rain and the insect. If rain is light to moderate, most insects will take this in their stride. Just like us, they will take shelter. You may find insects under leaves or rock crevices. If the rain is light enough they may be quite happy to stay out and even enjoy it a little.
If the rain is heavy then things can be quite different. Insects that frequent water more often, like mosquitoes and water skaters will negotiate rising, flooding and flowing water with more ease. Those insects that are more used to dry land will be the most affected. Larger insects will cling to whatever shelter they can find until they are eventually washed along by running water. Depending on the insect, they will configure themselves to float on the water whilst protecting themselves. In general is not common for insects to drown. Many will simply be displaced and find themselves in new surroundings. Some, though, will inevitably perish.
Small burrowing insects – like ants – are good at finding air pockets in underground burrows, even during flooding and flowing water. They require very little oxygen and can survive for weeks using air pockets that are always available even in densely flooded areas. Once the waters subside there will be a high rate of survival amongst small insects that have found these air pockets, though ants, for example, will probably go about finding a new drier nest at the earliest opportunity.
It is thought that insects can “sense” the onset of very wet weather and make plans before us humans do. It is often observed in monsoon and rainy areas, that prior to an onslaught of wet weather, some buildings are invaded by insects looking for shelter. Of course, your house or businesses is an ideal place for ants to invade should some inclement weather come along!