Influence of soil moisture on the supercooling capacity and associated physiological parameters of overwintering larvae of the rice stem borer Chilo suppressalis was examined by exposing larvae to soil moistures of 25, 50, 75 and 100% of saturated soil water content (SSWC) at ambient temperature for 30 d from December 2007 to January 2008 in Beijing, China. At the end of the exposure, supercooling points (SCPs) varied significantly among the treatments, the lowest being in the larvae exposed to soil moisture of 25% SSWC. Fresh weight was significantly higher in the larvae exposed to soil moisture of 100% SSWC than in those kept at 25 and 50% SSWC. Dry weight and body water content (% fresh weight) were not different among the treatments. Glucose and trehalose contents were markedly lower, and glycerol content was significantly higher in the larvae confined to soil moisture of 25% SSWC than in those exposed to the other soil moisture treatments. It is suggested that variation in body water content (% fresh weight) contributes to the differences in SCPs of the overwintering C. suppressalis larvae in all treatments, but the influence of soil moisture treatments on supercooling capacity are caused through changes in glycerol content.