What Happens to Carpenter Ants in Winter?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

Many think that household pests hibernate during the winter. While there are varieties that do, there are some types that remain active when the colder weather hits. Especially if they already have adequate shelter in your home or business.

Carpenter ants are one of these pest varieties. Just because you don’t see them entering and exiting your space as often in the winter months, doesn’t mean they haven’t already burrowed themselves into remote areas of your home. In this respect, it’s helpful to know what to look for from carpenter ants in the winter so an infestation isn’t given the chance to develop.

Carpenter Ant Winter Habits

Spring and summer are the prime seasons for carpenter ants to be out and about, but what happens to them during the winter? They don’t hibernate, but carpenter ants do tend to be more dormant in colder temperatures. This causes them to seek warmer shelter with easy access to water around this time of year.

Carpenter ants prefer to set up colonies in soft, damp wood. They can find this in your home or business if you have a water leak somewhere, excessive condensation near a window, or they can find a wood pile, decaying log, or tree near your space to set up shop. An ideal situation might be a main carpenter ant colony outside and a satellite colony inside your home so they can easily access food and water for both.

Either way, what’s frustrating about carpenter ants going more dormant in the winter is that you won’t see them traveling back and forth for food or water as much. Chances are if you see them around your home in winter, there’s a nest somewhere inside as opposed to outside, since the insulation and warmer temps will allow the carpenter ant to be more active. Keep an eye out in the kitchen, on window sills, or around sinks for any red or black ants with pinched waists and bent antennae.

How to Prevent Carpenter Ants

The number one thing carpenter ants look for is moist, soft wood. These conditions allow them to easily tunnel through and create shelter for their colony. If you want to avoid damp wood being available to carpenter ants in your home, regularly checking for signs of rot or excessive moisture near window sills, door jambs, floor boards, or in basement crawl spaces will go a long way. Occasionally running a dehumidifier in the winter can help if you continue struggling with moisture collecting in any particular areas.

The other staple for carpenter ant survival is a reliable food source. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they tunnel through—they enjoy sweet, fatty foods to munch on. Regularly wiping down counter tops and not leaving dirty dishes out for too long will help make your home less attractive to carpenter ants.

Cascade Pest Control has expert technicians with extensive knowledge of any pest or rodent control problem you may come across. If you need an inspection or any support determining whether carpenter ants are present in your home or business, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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