Ants in the Winter? You Bet! (Infographic)
January 26, 2015
We have seen an abnormally high call volume surrounding ants this winter, specifically carpenter ants. Many people assume ant activity only occurs during spring, summer and fall; it is easy to understand why they think this, because ants are seemingly few and far between during the winter. But where do ants go to survive the winter and why do some homes see ant problems in winter? Check out our infographic and continue reading to find out!
What do Ants do in Winter?
Most species of ants consume an excess amount of food during the summer and fall months allowing them to store up fat and go without much food during the winter. As the temperature drops so does their body temperatures, causing their movements to be very slow and sluggish. They conserve energy, remain dormant and feed off the stored nutrients they consumed during the previous season.
During the winter, most ants find warm places to hide out and spend the winter. Often these places are deep within the ground under an ant hill, in the trunk of a tree under the outer layers of bark, deep in the soil or under rocks.
To stay warm in their shelters ants use heat from one another and crowd tightly around the queen and use each other to protect themselves. Ants usually close up the exits of their nests and winter homes since they do not venture out of their shelter during the winter. They can then re-open the entrance when the warmer weather returns, and it is safe for them to return to their normal lifestyle.
But why have so many people seen late winter ant infestations? Because not all ants react this way! Carpenter ants have a very different winter lifestyle than their smaller relatives.
Where do Carpenter Ants go in Winter?
Carpenter ants, on the other hand, make themselves at home in warm, above ground cavities, such as the walls, ceilings, and floors of local homes. While they are in homes, they can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
As they build their nests and settle, these ants destroy the wood, insulation, sheathing and all other materials surrounding the area being used for a nest. Carpenter ants are more attracted to wood that is perpetually wet or has decayed. (This is one reason it is important to perform regular maintenance on your home and fix leaks and plumbing problems as quickly as possible.)
Why do I have Ants in the Winter?
When ants are found in homes during the summer they generally just made their way inside during their search for food. If carpenter ants are found within a home during the winter, this means they have built their nest within the walls or structure of the home. Carpenter ants are similar to other pests and are foragers, meaning they seek out food and water indoors instead of being self-sufficient and relying on the colony for their needs (like other ant species).
Ants can enter homes through cracks in the exterior walls or foundation. They are also able to enter through windows, doors, broken or loose screens, and improperly sealed access points.
Preferred Pest Control Takes Care of Ants All Year Round!
The first step in controlling an ant infestation is locating the nest. This is easier said than done but is critical for removing the ant population from the home. Preferred Pest Control is here to help with locating the nest and controlling the infestation.
Like most infestations, once the carpenter ants have found their way into a home they spread out quickly and can cause damage to areas outside their nest as well. For this reason, it is important to call for help as soon as you notice a problem. Schedule an appointment today for one of our experts to provide recommendations for preventing or controlling an ant infestation!