Yup. Carpenter ants can be active in the winter, if given the right conditions. What are the right conditions? Spring-like temperatures are one. If an indoor nest is near warm pipes, or some other heat source, carpenter ants will be happy to continue burrowing galleries in the wood of your house. But that kind of burrowing takes energy. This is when you’ll see them forming a line to get to your pets food dish, or scattered about the pantry picking up split grains of sugar or grain. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make the ants go back into hiding.

  • Clean your floors regularly. Crumbs and other spilled foods can draw ants out of hiding. If they find a food source, they will produce pheromones that other carpenter ants can follow, and soon you’ll have an army.
  • Put your pets food dish down during mealtime and then put it in the fridge. Your pet will get used to when mealtime is and won’t be bothered too much by the change. But this can have a significant effect on ant activity. if you can keep carpenter ants in a low energy state till spring, you’ll be saving yourself money.
  • Don’t leave food lying on plates, especially on the floor. If your teens are like my teens, it might take a “no food in your room” policy. I am continually amazed by the preferred habitat of teens–but I digress.
  • If you get ants on your counters, you might want to consider putting your dishes in soapy water rather than leaving them next to the sink in a dry stack.
  • If you’re getting ants in your pantry, look for the spills . Wash shelves and clean the floor good. Ants have a robust list of food they’ll partake in, and a pantry is their favorite place in the world.
  • Installing wire shelves in your pantry can actually go a long way to keeping ants from easily accessing your foods. You can also consider hard plastic containers. When you store your pantry food in plastic containers, you keep the smells in, and the bugs out.
  • Having a professional locate and eradicate indoor nests is also a good move. It has to be done anyway. Why not get it done before spring brings that nest to life?

Carpenter ants do not hibernate, but you can keep them from having the energy they need to chew holes in your house. Keep things clean, dry and well ventilated, and get a pest management company involved. Carpenter ants aren’t the only pests that want to damage your home. Getting a pest plan can make your family healthier and protect the equity of your home. You should look into it.