If you live somewhere in the Portland metro area and you see ants in your home as the weather gets colder, this can get you a little confused. Aren’t ants supposed to go into hibernation during the winter?
Well, the truth is that it rarely gets very, very cold in the Portland metro area. Temperature levels during the winter may drop to the 40s but this isn’t cold enough to force ants into hibernation. For this reason, you may actually need ant pest control in winter if you have observed ants seeking shelter in your home during these times.
Why ants are still around in the winter
By nature, ants thrive best in warm environments. That’s why we see lots of them in the home or yard during the summer. However, ants are cold-blooded creatures so their metabolism is dependent on the temperature of their surroundings. When the temperature drops during the colder months of the year, their metabolism may slow down and most of them enter a period of dormancy known as diapause. But if temperatures aren’t cold enough, ants have the natural tendency to seek shelter in warmer environments like the insides of your home.
Professional ant exterminators have observed that favorite ant spots would be behind appliances or next to heaters where temperatures are ideal to ramp up their metabolism so ants can continue foraging for food. Because of this, you might need to continue ant pest control in winter to prevent an infestation in the coming months.
How ants find their way into homes in winter
Besides seeking a warmer environment during the winter season, ants are in continuous search for moisture and sources of food, all of which they’ll find inside your home. When the weather is warmer, ants can easily find food outdoors. With colder temperatures, however, ants need to be more resourceful so they don’t go hungry.
The warmer environment plus access to a food source both make your home very attractive to ants during winter. That is why it is crucial not to let your guard down at this time as ants can form colonies inside your home without you knowing. I’ve seen so many people benefit from ant pest control in winter to keep their homes ant-free all year round.
Types of ants that make their way into homes in winter
Ants make their way indoors during the winter for the same reason you have them during spring, summer, or fall. If you’ve noticed a large number of ants inside your home or property during winter time, chances are they have started to take up residence in the warmer areas. In most cases, ants will build homes along wall voids, vents, crawl spaces or other similar spots that provide them with warmth and protection for the long winter ahead.
Ant species that enjoy the indoors and are more likely to get into homes during the winter include:
- Odorous house ants or sugar ants. These smelly ants are in constant search for food crumbs which they transport into their nests in wall voids. Chances of odorous ants nesting in wall voids are higher where termites have first compromised the wood.
- Argentine ants. This type of ant will build nests in insulation and wall voids and are likely to invade your kitchen in search of sweet foods which are on top of their preference list.
- Carpenter ants. This ant species love wood so they’re often mistaken for termites. You’ll find them in hollow locations such as crawl spaces and wall voids and they aren’t so choosy when it comes to food. They’ll take anything from sweets, fats, meat or fruit so there’s a great chance they’ll find a good food source inside your home.
- Crazy ants. Also known as raspberry ants, this ant species go on a feeding frenzy when they locate sweet or fatty foods in your home. Not only will you find them in wall voids like other ants—crazy ants also find residence in potted plants, carpets, and even your appliances and electronics.
- Pharaoh ants. These lovely looking ants are like bodybuilders in constant search for protein-rich food. They love humid conditions so you’ll find them within cavities in heated structures and near water sources.
How to keep ants away in winter
Ant pest control in winter doesn’t differ much from any other season of the year. Prevention is key to avoiding an ant problem, so here are a few things you can do to keep your home ant-free in the winter.
- Sweep floors regularly to make sure no crumbs or food particles are left for ants to feed on.
- Wipe spills on floors and counters immediately. For added protection, it is best to wash or mop off spills with water and a mild detergent.
- If you have pets, make sure you clean their food bowls regularly to remove food residue. Never leave bowls with remaining pet food out through the night.
- Take out the garbage at the end of each day. Ants may be attracted to crumbs, food particles and residue in the trash.
- Store all food items in air-tight containers. If you keep fresh fruits in a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, check on them regularly as ants may be attracted to them. Consider storing fruits in sealed containers as well if you can’t keep the ants away.
- Maintain your home perimeter and fix breaches with putty, caulk or plaster. Trim shrubs and tree branches so nothing touches the perimeter of your structure. Ants can find their way into your home via branches, utility lines, very small gaps, cracks and crevices.
- Look out for scout ants. This is a tactic every organic ant exterminator wants you to know. Scouts are lone ants sent out by the colony to search for food and water. If you see a lone ant wandering about, it’s probably a scout and you’d want to prevent it from telling the rest in the nest about what it may have found.
Ant pest control in winter
Ants know no season so you need to be vigilant about keeping them away from your home no matter what time of the year. If you think an ant problem in your home is getting out of hand, it is a good idea to contact a pest control expert to carry out ant pest control in winter.
Call on Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control in Beaverton, Oregon if you’re having problem with ants in your home this winter. Our safe, organic and eco-friendly pest control solutions are sure to keep your home ant-free all year round!