How do bugs regulate their temperature?


I know they’re ectothermic, but there have to be times when they’re too hot. How do they get cool without sweat glands or lungs? Or do they just go dormant/die like when it’s too cold? Or does heat just not affect them like it does warm-blooded animals?

In: Biology

Most insects do some sort of hibernation if it gets too cold. They do also seek warmer places as well as each other when it gets cold. So insects do not care if it gets too cold unless it is well bellow freezing. They just reduce their activity levels and even live much longer. On the other hand too hot can be an issue. They do seek to cold places as well as towards humidity in order to cool of as much as they can. However if it gets too hot the insects die.

Insects are a huge family of life and have many different adaptations. I can only speak with any authority on honey bees.

Honey bee bodies are adapted to work most efficiently at about 35C/95F, and they can generate some heat internally just like humans. Unlike humans, who will die if their internal temperature changes by more than about 5C, honey bees can survive internal temperature changes of 30C. When they’re very cold, they become slow and sluggish, and when they’re very warm they become quite fast and agitated. This is simply the effects of chemistry, cold temperatures slow down their internal chemistry and warm temperatures speed it up. Too cold and they freeze, to hot and they expend all their energy and die of starvation very quickly.

Honey bees have behavioural adaptations to deal with hot and cold. When it’s cold, they will shiver to warm up and if there’s several bees together than can form a group and shiver together to keep the whole group warm. When it’s hot, they will fan air through the hive and fan each other to cool down. A hot bee will also seek shade and water to drink. Though they don’t sweat, they do lose moisture in their breath and that can help to cool them too, which is very similar to how dogs cool themselves with “panting”.