How Do Ants Prepare for the Winter
Ants are one of the most interesting and beloved insects and can be found in almost every corner of the world. They live together in colonies, eating a wide range of foods and working for their colony. Some ants even farm food! In winter, ants still work hard to keep their colony alive, despite it being cold outside. This is because they have adapted to survive all kinds of climates that vary from hot to cold or dry to wet. Ants can even create heat by moving around!
Many types of ants can be found in the winter. Some of these include carpenter ants, black pavement ants, and Argentine ants. Each one has its unique characteristics that help identify them from other species. Read on to learn about what they look like and where you are most likely to find them during the winter months!
Common Winter Ants In Idaho
Carpenter ants are generally black or brown and measure about 1/4 inch (6.25mm) long. Their thorax is wider than their head, giving them a bulky appearance. Carpenter ants do not bite humans; they only infest homes by tunneling into the wood to create galleries for feeding and laying eggs. Carpenter ants feed on sweets, meats, grease, paper products, fruits (especially overripe), all other types of indoor food, including pet food, dead insects, animal feces, and some nectar.
The carpenter ants are sometimes referred to as the common household pest. They are sometimes called so because of their seasonal habits of entering homes. Carpenter ants are usually seen during the summer months, but they can also be seen during the winter. It has been found that the common reasons for their appearance during the winter is due to temperature fluctuations in some areas.
Black Pavement Ants
Black pavement ants are a species found in North America. They are generally found in the eastern United States, but they can also be found further west. They are common in the midwestern area of the U.S., as well as California. Generally, these ants nest outdoors and forage on sidewalks, driveways, etc., during the day. They are called “black pavement ants” because their coloration is black, but they can sometimes have orange to red tints on their bodies closer to an anthill.
They can be distinguished from fire ants because their heads and thoraxes are black, but the abdomen is a darker red or brown than the rest of their body. Black pavement ants cannot sting and do not have gasters (the large backplate found on fire ant workers).
Black pavement ants are activated by the cold temperatures and begin foraging on the ground’s surface during the winters. However, this foraging behavior is extremely dangerous due to the ants’ exposure to harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, this foraging behavior is energetically costly and time-consuming. Therefore, when an ant finds a food source, it begins to recruit other ants using the chemical trails that it lays down. This is achieved through individual interactions with other ants in the colony.
The Argentine ants have several common names, including Pampas ant, Rasberry ant, and southern fire ant. The Argentine ants are not actually from Argentina; but instead, they originated in South America. The ant is considered a fire ant, but it is not as big and dangerous as the typical red ant.
The Argentine ants are known to form expansive colonies with multiple queens, which is similar to what you would find in typical ants. The nest has an interconnected network of tunnels where food is stored. The insects are found in desert areas, but they also thrive around human homes and buildings where food, water, shelter, and warmth can be found year-round.
The Argentine ants are well-adapted to survive the harsh winters. Then, they move into protected environments with stable temperatures to maintain their colony size and grow steadily all through spring.
Where Do Ants Go in the Winter?
Ants have different behaviors in colder climates. In colder regions of North America, ants use southern exposure rock surfaces to help warm themselves, and they also crowd together to share their body heat. They alternate between heading outside and coming back inside when it’s too cold outside. In extremely cold locations, ants will migrate south for the winter. Some ants will die because of the cold, but others migrate to warmer regions where they spend the winter. When spring comes back, they return northward (source).
Ants usually enter a sort of hibernation during the winter months. It is not as though ants die; they just become more inactive and live longer. They go into estivation when there is an extended period of drought, high temperatures, and a lack of food. In this state, they can survive for years without feeding or dying (source).
In some species during the summer, ants will begin producing winged platform individuals, which we commonly refer to as flying ants. These flying ants are either males or queens that have yet to mate. This is for reproduction, with the majority of queens dying in their first year. The males usually die after they have mated (source).
Ants are normally inactive during winter because it is too cold for them to function properly. Instead, they huddle together to keep warm and only come outside to forage when they are sure that the temperature is optimal.
How to Get Rid of Ants During Winter?
Ants migrate in winter, many people find themselves with an ant problem. They’re not just in their home anymore, but they’re crawling around on the ground and fighting for food!
If you have a home with a basement that has a window, you might have noticed some ants outside your window in the wintertime. This is because they are looking for warmth from the sun and entering your property through any cracks they can find. Here are some ways to stop them from coming indoors:
#1: Pour boiling water down cracks you see to kill them
#2: Use ant bait outside the entrance, which takes a few days to work but is very effective
#3: If you have pets, make sure they are unable to get into the poison.
#4: Seal up cracks and any entrances you can see. Again, there is a variety of sprays and sealants to do this with.
#5: Keep your property clean of debris that the ants might use to get into your home.
The ant population is expected to rise now that the winter is over, so it’s the best time to start applying these solutions before they move indoors. It’s recommended to hire a pest controller if you have a lot of ants. This will prevent them from entering your dwelling and save you money on multiple applications.