If you live in a place where the winters are cold, then the chances are high that you are not the only one suffering from low temperatures. Ants can also sometimes use your house as a shelter in order to stay alive. Ants’ activity usually decreases during the colder months and a lot of species become dormant. However, you still might find yourself having to deal with an ant infestation even when it’s freezing outside.
How to get rid of ants in the winter? Getting rid of ants in the winter can be done with ant baits. This method is really effective as you probably have an ant colony in your house that needs to be dealt with. Also, don’t forget that prevention is better than cure. Perform a deep clean in the fall and try to make your house less appealing to ants all year-round (store food in the fridge, clean up food spills, remove trash as often as you can, and so on).
Finding an ant nest can present some difficulties and not knowing how to properly eradicate it can make the problem even worse. This is why if these things don’t work, you might need to call a professional.
What exactly happens to ants in the winter? How to get rid of these insects in other specific rooms? What are the most common types of ants that you can come across during winter? Keep on reading to find out everything that you need to know about how to deal with ants during the winter. Let’s begin!
Ants in Winter | Information
Where Do Ants Go in the Winter?
Ants are cold-blooded. When it starts getting colder outside, ants begin searching for a warm place, and your house can become a perfect shelter for their colony. Another thing that attracts ants is food, and the chances are high that your house is full of things that they consider a food source. So, during the winter, a lot of ants invade houses and other properties.
What Do Ants Do in the Winter?
Different ant species choose their own methods of coping with the cold. Some ants prefer to live under a rock (this helps them “collect” heat from the sun). Others use decomposing leaves for the same reasons, while some species build mounds with a complicated system of tunnels.
What happens to ants in the winter? When winter comes, the behavior of ants changes. While some species use the strategies mentioned above, others hibernate.
Do Ants Die in the Winter?
You might already know that some species of ants have a relatively long lifespan. There are ants that can live up to 15 years. That means that ants, unlike a lot of some other insects, can survive the winter.
Of course, a drastic temperature drop will certainly kill them, but, in most cases, ants either go into hibernation mode or find ways to keep themselves warm. This is why houses are so attractive to them during the winter.
Do Ants Hibernate in the Winter?
A lot of ants hibernate in the winter. That’s one of the reasons why these insects are not as widespread during the colder months as they are in the summer. The body temperature of the ants falls greatly during the winter. They find a relatively warm place, where they can hibernate restlessly.
Because of the fact that the ants aren’t moving from one place to the other, the entrances to their nests get covered during winter and are extremely hard to find.
How Do Ants Survive Winter?
Ants need to find a way to keep themselves warm during winter. Building nests under leaves or rocks can help. Some of them go into hibernation mode, while others can use your house as a shelter that will help them survive the winter.
Is It Common to Have Ants in the Winter?
It is not common to see ants walking around your home during winter as is it is with other seasons. However, if there is a colony at your place, it will remain active even during the colder months. If you see flying ants during winter you are in real trouble as you have a serious infestation in your house and you should call professional pest exterminators right away.
Do Ants Store Food for Winter?
Most ants don’t store food but there is one ant species that is famously active during the winter and that does store seeds as food. This species of ants is called Messor aciculatus, they store plant seeds during fall and feed on them when winter arrives.
Other ant types do not store food and a lot of other insects prefer to eat more and put on fat, in order to survive the coldest season. There is also one other ant in the USA that is called a “winter ant” but they are not really dangerous and don’t infest homes.
Common Types of Ants to Encounter During Winter
There are some ant species that are more likely to invade your house during the winter.
Carpenter Ants in Winter – Black Ants
When the temperature drops, carpenter ants begin to hibernate. However, there are exceptions. What do carpenter ants do in the winter? If the temperature outside is not low enough, carpenter ants won’t go into hibernation mode.
In case they manage to build a nest in your house, they may remain active throughout the whole winter. By the way, their colony can also revive from the dormant state, for example, if you start using the fireplace and the temperature in the house rises they will become active.
Odorous House Ants in Winter
Odorous ants are more active during spring and summer. As soon as it gets cold, they prefer to settle in their nest. However, they might remain active under certain circumstances. Odorous house ants like to build their nests near heaters and inside insulated walls.
Pavement Ants in Winter
The pavement ants are one of the most common types that can be spotted during winter. These creatures often nest under driveways and sidewalks or beneath a heated concrete foundation. If these ants manage to keep themselves warm during winter, they will remain active.
Tiny Black Ants in Winter
You certainly may encounter tiny black ants in your house during winter. These insects may stay active or revive from the dormant state if something disturbs the nest. For example, water from the melting snow.
Fire Ants in Winter
During winter months, fire ants will choose to go deeper and deeper into their mound. Usually, these insects prefer to hibernate, but, just like with the other ant types, there can be some exceptions.
Small Brown Ants in House Winter
Small brown ants prey on insects and collect waste. They might enter your house in search of food, but in the absolute majority of cases, these ants live outdoors.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Winter: Instructions
Step 1: Cleanliness
As we already know, one of the main things that attract ants into your house is food. In order to prevent the infestation, keep your place clean. Seal all the pantry products in containers or plastic bags, store food in the refrigerator, clean the floors and counters regularly, do not leave pet food on the floor (except during mealtimes), take out trash cans as often as you can, and so on.
To go the extra mile, you can use a special mixture to wipe down the counters and the sink area (for example, vinegar and water).
Step 2: Resolving Entry Points
Ants enter your house through various cracks or over tree branches that are close to the exterior walls. Moreover, these insects can build a nest in your walls or floor. Make sure that there are no “entry points” that can be used by the ants to invade your house. They say that the best way to get rid of ants in the winter is during fall. In such a case, prevention really is better than cure.
Step 3: Insecticide
If you have spotted a few ants running around your rooms during winter, then an ant bait might be the best option to get rid of the annoying insects. The foragers will bring the poison back to the nest and kill the whole colony.
When it comes to ant baits that are good for the winter period we recommend TERRO T300B as it can be used for a number of different ant species.
- 12 bait stations included
- Kills all common household ants
- Pre-filled, ready-to-use bait stations
- Patented design prevents bait from drying out
- Attracts ants fast
Also, inviting a specialist to take care of the problem is always a good idea. So, if you haven’t managed to get rid of the insects on your own, call a professional.
Ants in Specific Rooms in the House during the Winter
Ants in Bathroom in Winter
The ants are attracted not only to food but also to water. That’s why ants like to build their nests close to the bathroom. By the way, during winter it’s usually warm in that part of the house, so the ants would definitely like that as well.
If you have such a problem, you would have to resolve any moisture problems in the bathroom. Take care of any water drainage issues and leaking faucets, for example. After you have had a shower or a bath, make sure to dry the floor, the sink, and other surfaces. Good ventilation is also key to success.
Ants in Basement During Winter
If there are ants in your basement during winter, the chances are high that they have built a nest there. Ants might be attracted by edibles that are located in your basement. Damp wood, leakages, cracks, and holes, as well as pet food and various pantry staples can become a reason for an ant invasion.
Ants in My Kitchen in Winter
Your kitchen is an oasis for ants. Especially in the winter when they can’t find a lot of food outside. So, seal up any access points, store your food the right way, and keep the kitchen clean. Also, use our recommended bait to get rid of the entire nearby ant colony.
During winter, the behavior of ants changes. These creatures either go into hibernation mode or look for ways to keep themselves warm. Your house can become the perfect shelter for these insects once it gets cold outside.
The great news is that you can use the same methods to get rid of ants in the winter as you would do during summer, spring, or fall. Keeping the house clean and getting rid of any cracks that can be used as an entry point is always a good idea. Using an ant bait will resolve your problem in most situations, but if you are having a bigger infestation, you should consider calling professional ant exterminators.
List of Sources
Lewis D., Carpenter Ants in the Winter, Iowa State University
Ants, Illinois Department of Public Health
Household Ant Invasions Are Determined by Weather, Stanford University
Insects Are Still Active In Winter, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service