Are Ants Attracted to Heat?

Ants are one of the most common insects around the world. Regardless of where you live, there’s no chance that you haven’t seen how the ant looks. Arguably, there are more than a few thousand types of ants (1200+) but as soon as you see one of them, you’ll recognize that in fact, you are seeing an ant. This is because they look very similar.

Now, ants are attracted to peoples’ houses for numerous reasons. Many people aren’t even aware of what attracts ants to their house and that in most cases it is their fault.

Are ants attracted to heat? Ants love the heat or more precisely warmth and they have nothing against living in a warm environment but they don’t like extreme temperatures. Heat isn’t the main reason why they are attracted to your house. However, when the winter comes, there are chances of them slipping into your house. Because, after all, they aren’t that resilient to very low temperatures. Still, the main reason why ants are entering our houses is their search for food and water supplies.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the ants and their affection to heat and as well we are going to examine the reasons why they infest your house. So, let’s begin!

Do Ants Prefer Hot or Cold Environmental Conditions?

Here’s a question for you – have you seen ants outside in late December or January? Chances are, you probably didn’t. Ants are cold-blooded species, which means that they need warm environments to survive. If your house is warm and cozy, they’ll not hesitate to enter it when the winter comes.

The trick is that many people fail to recognize signs of infestation. In fact, there are NO signs. Even if they’re in your house, they’re almost always hidden under the carpet, in the walls or floors. Only when they’re hungry, they’ll get out and start searching for food.

Since they usually feed on plants and grains, it’s logical why this happens. In the winter, these aren’t capable of growing, so they look in your house for some food alternatives.

To put it simply, ants prefer HOT weather and they seek shelter when the cold weather comes. On the flip side, they also love moist conditions more than the dry conditions, which we’re going to talk about in just a second.


What Are Ants Attracted to and How to Keep Them Out?

What Are Ants Attracted to and How to Keep Them Out

When you find ants in your house, you’re probably standing there, questioning the life decisions that brought you to this point. How to attract ants? Well, here are a few things that attract them the most:


1. Water and Moist

Ants will do everything to avoid freezing or burning alive when it’s too hot but they also need water. You shouldn’t let your house be moist because ants are attracted to that.

If you have some wet areas in your house, ants will probably be attracted to that area, if they’re in your vicinity. Spilling water or juice on the floor isn’t good, because it attracts ants faster than anything. To make things worse, this is what attracts them regardless of the weather outside.

When it’s too hot, for example, ants will need some water to survive. In the opposite case, when it’s -20 degrees Celsius (-4°F) outside, water freezes, hence they need it in a liquid form for surviving. So, what are the wet spaces in your house? Is it a kitchen or perhaps a bathroom?

We would say the second option – the bathroom. The bathroom is the place where you leave wet footprints after showering or throwing away the wet towel. Even being only slightly wet, it’s enough for ants to survive.

The thing is, ants aren’t attracted to water you can see. It’s quite the opposite. If ants are still invading your home, despite your best efforts to clean the wet floors and counters, you probably have a leak. These happen the most in your bathroom or the kitchen.

But, since your water pipe probably runs through the entire length of the house, the leak can appear virtually anywhere. All ants need water to survive but there’s a special type of ant called ‘moisture ant’. These ants are mostly attracted to moist environments and can usually be found near decaying, damp wood.


2. Pleasant Temperature

Ants function like people. How do you react when it’s too hot? You turn your air conditioner and make the room cold. How do you react when it’s too cold? You make the room warmer. Ants are similar but instead in search of pleasant temperatures they invade our home.

As we said, ants aren’t attracted to heat – they’re attracted to warmth. They love being warm and cozy, and when the summer comes, they don’t want to be burnt alive when it’s 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) outside. Also, they don’t like rain or snow, which is another reason they invade homes.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to change this fact. But, you can do something to make them stop entering your home.


3. Food

Despite having huge nests, ants don’t store food at their home. We are one of the few species with this habit instead of hunting for food when we’re hungry. Ants are very happy because of this since they can enter your home, grab what they need, and get the heck out.

Being very small insects, they don’t need a lot of food. If you were feeding a wolf, you’d need pounds upon pounds of meat. However, ants are stimulated even by your breadcrumbs on the floor or on the table. That’s why your parents often get angry when they see them under your chair.

Crumbs tend to fall wherever you’re eating in your house. Some people love walking around and eating sandwiches, which is a cardinal mistake. By doing that, you scatter the crumbs around, making it perfect for ants to catch up.

Another thing is that they aren’t very picky. They’ll eat breadcrumbs that are there for weeks, months or years. Furthermore, storing food properly is very important. Leaving a jar of strawberry jam opened for hours can also tempt ants into attacking it.

If you’re encountering ants, start by properly storing your food and vacuuming crumbs from your floors.

Related: What Do Ants Eat? | Ant Feeding Habits


4. Access Points

Ants are known as hard-working insects. However, they also love taking advantage of easy opportunities that they encounter. One of those is the access points in your house. Since they’re very small, these access points don’t have to be huge.

More often than not, ants get into your house through seams and cracks in your walls. If your house is older, the chances of having cracks are higher. Unfortunately, they can appear for numerous reasons, as well as the seams, that can start appearing as your house settles.

These cracks are often much bigger than ants, giving them easy access to your house. Also, if you live in rural areas, we don’t suggest opening windows too much. Or if you do, protect it with a net, so that no insect can get in.

If you have the money, it’s also recommended buying PVC doors and windows, and not the wooden ones. Why? Because wood tends to rot quickly and when it does, it starts deteriorating, leaving open space for the ants to enter.

Ants can burrow, unlike bed bugs, for example. Since wood is easy to burrow into, and it’s wet, this represents an ideal terrain for them to get into your house. Have no doubt that we’re talking about very smart insects here. That’s why they found a sure ride to your house through the utility lines.


Can You Prevent Ants From Entering Your Home by Changing the Temperature?

Can You Prevent Ants From Entering Your Home by Changing the Temperature

Theoretically, you can. As we said, ants often enter your home if it’s more pleasant than the outside. If the outside is very cold, they will seek shelter where it’s warmer – and vice versa. Now, how could you possibly prevent them from entering by changing the temperature?

If the outside is very cold, you would need to make your house less attractive to them by making it even colder and if it’s summer, you need to make it very hot but this method isn’t going to work. It is just impossible in practice even if there is a theoretical possibility. You cant live in these conditions and it is impossible to control the temperature in every part of your house

However, we’ve got an alternative. Here’s how to prevent ants from going indoors:

  • Don’t scatter around food or breadcrumbs
  • Put all your food in the fridge
  • Use sealable plastic boxes to store food
  • Don’t leave your sink wet
  • Wipe the floor in the bathroom after taking a shower
  • Feed your pet every day at the same time and clean after it

Summary

To summarize, ants aren’t necessarily attracted to heat. They’re attracted to a temperature that isn’t extreme. If it’s too cold, they’ll seek hotter environments and if it’s too hot, they’ll seek colder temperatures.

If you ask us, we would be concerned more about keeping our home clean. Ants are mainly attracted to food and water, so make sure that your food is in the fridge and that your home isn’t moist. Only then, you can expect to be less susceptible to the ant infestation. Best of luck!


List of Sources

Vail K., Managing Structure-Invading Ants, Agricultural Extension Service, The University of Tennessee

Angilletta, M. J., Jr, Wilson, R. S., Niehaus, A. C., Sears, M. W., Navas, C. A., & Ribeiro, P. L. (2007), Urban physiology: city ants possess high heat tolerance

Kadochová, S., & Frouz, J. (2013), Thermoregulation strategies in ants in comparison to other social insects, with a focus on red wood ants ( Formica rufa group), Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University

Shwartz M., Household ant invasions are determined by weather, not pesticide use, new study finds, Stanford University