As the temperature outside drops and we head towards winter, you’ve probably started to notice that the various insects that have bothered you all summer are finally going away. One bug that this happens to is the humble ant. During warmer months it seems like there are ants literally everywhere, but once winter sets in these tiny pests seem to disappear completely until spring comes back around. But where do they go? What happens to ants in the winter?
When it starts to get colder outside, ants do what a lot of animals do: they prepare to suffer through the winter. To do this, ants will shift their diets to a more carbohydrate-based one. These carbs help them store energy when their food sources dry up. Much like bears, squirrels and other outdoor animals, ants put on weight during this eating phase. The extra weight is their energy storage, which they will use to survive the winter. When winter properly sets in, ants will stop eating entirely, so the more energy they have stored by that time, the better.
As the temperature continues to decrease, the entire colony starts to move deeper underground, sealing off the entrances behind them. Even if the air outside gets below freezing, once you get a few feet down the temperature stays more or less consistent, and ants use this scientific fact to their advantage. This allows most ants to survive the winter, regardless of how cold it actually gets.
Once in place underground, ants then hunker down to ride out the winter.
Once winter truly sets in, ants stay underground, huddled together to share and conserve their warmth. Ants enter a phase called diapause, which is similar to a state of hibernation where their body activities slow down, virtually eliminating their need for food. During this phase, ants stay together, protecting each other.
Furthermore, these groups of ants will cluster around their queen to share their warmth with her and protect her from the cold. They will stay that way until the temperature outside finally starts to warm up.
Of course, some ants avoid the cold altogether by making their way inside your home. If you are noticing ants inside your house this winter, it might mean they’ve moved in to weather out the winter. If that’s the case, then it’s time to call in the experts. Contact us at ABC Exterminating today to take care of this or any other infestation problems you might be dealing with.