Why Does Our House Have Ants in the Winter? All You Need to Know

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Winter is here, and so are the ants. But why does our house have ants in the winter? You’re looking for some warmth as you light up your fireplace. But you notice a colony of ants hiding out near your fireplace. Naturally, you think, “Why does our house have ants in the winter?

The answer is quite straightforward. You have ants in your house in the winter because ants are just as much in need of warmth and shelter as you are. I have talked about the motley of reasons why you have ants in your house and what you can and should do to keep your home from being infested by ants every winter season.

Why Does Our House Have Ants in The Winter?

Being cold-blooded creatures, ants tend to look for warm habitats when it gets cold outside. Cold-bloodedness means that these insects have to count on their environment to keep them warm since they cannot regulate their body temperatures.

why does our house have ants in the winter

Your house, if warm enough for them to live in till the cold subsides, is typically what ant colonies would choose as temporary accommodation. 

Furthermore, winter also brings weather conditions that are harsh for ants to survive in. Therefore, foraging for food and water becomes difficult.

Houses, however, have a plethora of food options to choose from. Put a warm habitat and the availability of food together, and you have the answer to why your house has ants in the winter

What Do Ants Typically Do in the Winter?

Nature, Ants, Wood, Macro, Ant, Closeup

Ants will typically load up on body fat by eating large amounts of food during the seasons, building up to winter. This exercise is performed to help them sustain their lives in cold temperatures when they pop off to hibernate.

As the temperature drops, ants begin to conserve their body energy by sleeping and reducing movement as much as possible.

Even in hibernation, ant colonies are often observed to help each other maintain a favorable body temperature as a collective unit. Their burrows will be cordoned off from the cold outside world until they wish to venture out again.

However, some species, like carpenter ants, don’t fit this behavioral pattern. Rather, this species of ant also stays surprisingly active in the winter season. They can even infest your home and damage its wooden structures by establishing ant colonies in the wood itself.

Do Ants Die in the Winter?

No, ants don’t die in the winter. Ants generally live for up to fifteen years. Therefore, they are well-equipped to deal with cold temperatures as long as the temperature variation is not too drastic.

Using techniques such as hibernation, ants protect themselves against low temperatures.

Is it common to see ants in your home in the winter?

Seeing ants roaming around your house during the winter is not as common as it is during other seasons.

However, if you have an ant colony that has already infested your home, it will continue to thrive even in the colder months. This is because these ants are already protected from the cold weather and have food readily available in your home. 

You might find carpenter ants hustling about your home in the winter months because this species does not need to hibernate. Bear in mind that if you discover flying ants in your home during the winter, you have a significant infestation and should contact expert pest exterminators right away.

Types of Ant Species That You Can Spot in The Winter

Here are some of the most common species of ants that you are likely to find in your house in the winters:

Black carpenter ants

Ant, Carpenter Ant, Ants, Insect, Nature

As I mentioned, carpenter ants don’t typically hibernate in the winter. Rather, they stay active and forage for food regardless of the temperature.

True to their name, Carpenter ants will also carve out space for themselves in your wooden furniture and will gradually create and settle an entire colony inside the wood itself. Therefore, it is certainly not uncommon to spot these black ants in winters in your home!

Odorous Ants

Even though odorous ants are active in warmer seasons, their presence in your house is likely due to the warm environment within its walls.

You should pay attention to inaccessible spaces near and around your walls and heating appliances. Due to the ready availability of heat, odorous ants will live comfortably even in cold temperatures.

Pavement ants

Much like odorous ants, even pavement ants will set up camp in your house in the winter because of the warmer and more pleasant habitat that it offers.

Additionally, your house is also likely a source of sustenance for them.

Fire ants

Fire Ants, Battle, Nature, Fire Ants

If you see fire ants wandering about your home, you can be pretty sure that your home is infested with fire ant colonies. And that is not a comfortable thought.

Typically, fire ants hibernate in cold temperatures. But if they have established colonies in the warmth of your house, they won’t mind stepping out and exploring it.

Black ants

You will find black ants in the late winter and early spring. The reason is that these ants only become active after hibernating when any external factor, such as melting snow, affects their colony nest.

In fact, black ants will almost exclusively be found when the temperatures start increasing.

Tips for Preventing Winter Ant Problems in Your House

Nobody wants ant infestations in their house that set up camp during the winter and then suddenly jolt into activity as the temperature goes up. Therefore, I have created a list of easy tips that you can implement to keep your house clear of ants.

  1. Unless you are eating any food or setting it out for your pet to eat, you should store it in tight containers inside a refrigerator. This way, you will prevent any access to them from lurking ants waiting to send word to their colonies.
  2. Fruits and other sugary items should also be stored safely in a manner that is not accessible to these pesky little insects.
  3. Keep your house, and specifically your cooking and eating areas, spick and span. Cleaning up after cooking and eating can do wonders in keeping your house clear of ants in the winter and for the rest of the year.
  4. If you do notice any ants in your house, take action promptly. Get rid of any ants that you see, and to be sure, call a professional pest control agency to search your house for any dormant infestations before you have a real one on your hands.

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.