How Do Ants Live In The Winter?

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Winter is not a favorite season for ants’ bodies. They prefer summer or spring over the winter season. How do ants live in the winter? Most of the ants die in winter. They can’t handle the cold because of their physical makeup. The chilly environment also prevents them from utilizing their nests, thus they go to great lengths to avoid that.

Winters and ants have a love-hate relationship. You might see ants in winters also. But there is a specification with temperature and types of ants. Some of the ants perform their daily activities irrespective of the temperature.

Where do ants go in the winter?

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In the summer, we often see ants in large numbers. The whole ant colony works very hard to collect a large amount of food. They do this because they stock up on food. In addition, ants are cold-blooded insects.

Ant bodies don’t react well to cold temperatures. They lose their natural body temperature due to the cold climate. Low temperatures cause ants to be sluggish.

Since ants don’t survive in cold weather, they find warm places to survive through winters. Often, they find shelter in houses. They use the warm places inside the home to make their nest.

Winter is also a time for them to hibernate to keep warm. In addition, they stay close to one another in order to keep warm. During the winter, they seek shelter under tree bark or in burrows dug into the earth.

What do ants do in the winter?

During the winter months, ants tend to flee their nests. During the winter, they tend to stay inside. They come up with convenient strategies to survive the winters. They’ve come up with a few ways to keep warm and avoid the cold.

How do ants live in the winter

Some ant species are intelligent, and this includes the Argentine ant. They construct their nest in close proximity to a warm location. It assists them in finding a place to live and also offers warmth.

Aside from that, the other kinds of ants employ huge stones as a form of protection from the cold. They build their dwellings beneath large stones and use the heat emitted by the sun to heat their homes. In addition, certain insects use rotting leaves as a form of protection.

Alternatively, ants build mounds with the assistance of tunnels that provide heat. All of these strategies and locations assist colonies in surviving the winter and storing heat. In addition, ants require protein-rich meals, which is especially important during the winter.

So the worker ants hunt for food in the spring in large numbers. And when they find any place that has food, Worker ants call out to the other ants to collect along the same route. It helps them to have the food in abundance before winter. 

How do ants live in the winter?

In order to keep their nest warm, ants cluster together in the dead of winter. Ants also keep a barrier around their queen to keep predators at bay. The ants do their best to safeguard their offspring during the winter.

Also, ants hibernate to collect heat and stay warm during winters. Since the cold weather doesn’t allow ants to perform their routine activities, they usually close their nest entrance. In addition, some of the species of ants are very active during cold climates.

Ants in winter

In addition, they forage for food and construct their nests near warm areas. Alternatively, they look within the house’s walls or beneath the floorboards. Even some of the other ant species devour significant quantities of food during the spring season. Then, in order to survive the winter, they rely on this diet.

In addition, some ants overeat food to produce fat. It makes it easy for ants to survive in winter without eating much food. As soon as the temperature drops in winter, ants become very slow and enter a dormant stage. They live inside their nest, consuming all the stored protein, fats, and carbohydrates to live through the winters.

The body of ants in the dormant phase goes into the slower metabolic state known as diapause. Diapause makes ants very slow naturally. They just lay inside the nest and don’t participate in any activity, such as eating or laying eggs.

Some of the other animal’s slumber in the winter. But ants are very smart, as they escape inside the soil or ground to prevent cold weather.

Several ant species also have measures in place to protect themselves from the cold. Several species of ants use alcohol to transform their bodily fluids into glycerol.

The anti-freezing characteristics of this chemical help to maintain a healthy body temperature. Ice formation is prevented, and the ants’ bodies are damaged, causing them to feel chilly in the winter.

What temperature kills ants?

Ants require warmth in order to survive the cold. Ants are at their most vulnerable when temperatures are below freezing. Assume that the temperature in the region is less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, or 24 degrees Celsius.

The ants will then be able to become more active and enter their nest. In addition, the majority of the time, they die. Ants’ daily activity slows down as the temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Aside from that, the usual temperature range for ants to be very busy is between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In this climate, anything goes. Ants are able to live in warm weather, such as the spring or summer.

It is impossible to watch ants going about their everyday activities when the temperature is 0 °C. Instead, they experience a drop in body temperature and eventually die. Ants are frequently killed by low temperatures.

Do ants hibernate in the winter?

Yes, ants do hibernate in the winter. They hibernate in the walls or beneath the floors of houses, mostly as they find all the necessary items in them.

In winter, we often see some species of ant. But several ants hibernate in various other places too. They collect heat by hibernating and can sustain through winters. The places ants hibernate are as follows:

Large Stones:

Ants build nests beneath large stones to take up the sun’s heat directly. Stones are warm due to the sun’s rays. It makes ants warm and helps them live peacefully through the winter.

Tree bark:

In the winter, ants burrow through the bark of trees to find shelter. The bark of the trees protects them from the chilly temperature. Additionally, it serves to restrict the entry, allowing them to maintain a steady physical condition.

Holes in the ground:

Ants also build their nests on the ground by digging some holes. They hide under the ground to prevent colds.

Common Types of Ants to Encounter During Winter:

Many ants are unaffected by the change in weather conditions. They continue to go about their daily business as usual. Furthermore, they might be observed at your residence throughout the winter. The following are examples of ants that you could encounter throughout the winter:

Carpenter Ants:

They do get affected by cold temperatures. But few carpenter ants don’t go into hibernation. The minute they find warmth, they start their activity again. Sometimes, they build their nest inside the house and roam in winter.

Pavement Ants:

A common ant species that is very active in the winter season. It is because they find their shelter under driveways, sidewalks, or under any warm concrete foundation. In addition, pavement ants try to keep themselves warm during winters. Once they are warm, they roam in winters conveniently.

carpenter ants

Tiny Black Ants:

You may also witness some tiny black ants in your home in winters. These ant insects are pretty active in winters. Sometimes the uncertain situation forces them to leave their nest in winters.

Odorous House Ants:

These ant species are also similar to other ants. Odorous ants are super active in the summer and spring seasons. But just like carpenter ants, some exceptions of Odorous house ants can be seen in winters. They tend to build their nest around or near warm places such as heaters or insulated walls.


In the summer, ants ramp up their winter preparations. This is all they could manage to gather. In addition, they consume a lot to keep warm throughout the colder months. In the winter, several kinds of ants can still be found. Throughout the day, they engage in a wide range of activities. 

In the winter, ants hibernate, eat a lot, and establish nests in warm areas to survive. In addition, they employ their own defense systems to avoid the cold. Ants are notoriously bad at escaping from dwellings. Having ants in the house during the winter is a regular occurrence.

There are techniques to get rid of the ants in your home. If you don’t get rid of the ants, you’ll wind up with ant colonies in your kitchen. During the winter months, it is not uncommon to observe carpenter ants. In order to rid your home of ants, you must take steps.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.