Carpenter Ants In The Winter

When winter gets here, and it will–it does every year–you might be tempted to think that you aren’t going to have to worry about carpenter ants for a while. We understand why you might think this. Ants usually disappear every fall and return in the spring. This is because the cold temperatures drive most ant colonies to seal things up until it warms back up. But carpenter ants aren’t like other ants. They don’t create nests deep in the ground, below the frost line. They make their nests in wood. In nature, they can be found establishing their colonies in stumps, logs, trees, tree roots, and more. But, when carpenter ants choose the wood of a human dwelling to create their home, something magical happens: they don’t have to take a break for the winter.

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Carpenter ants that create a nest in a log have to stop their activity in the winter. It is too cold to go out and forage for food, and it is too cold to stay active in their nests. Like other ants, they will start to slow down, eventually coming to a complete stop. This is called diapause. Not to be confused with hibernation. When an animal hibernates, they have a set period that they will lay dormant. Diapause is just a suspension of development. As soon as the temperatures rise, these ants resume their activity.

Carpenter ants that create a nest in a human dwelling often find an environment that is ideal for continued activity. Heat radiates through wood. And heat is all that is needed for carpenter ants to continue their tunneling and excavating.

The presence of food is another factor. If carpenter ants find a warm place that also has food resources, they will be able to not only remain active but cause a significant amount of damage all winter long. It doesn’t matter if there is a blizzard outside. It doesn’t matter if New Jersey gets hit with an ice storm of biblical proportions. Those carpenter ants will be entirely unaffected.

When carpenter ants establish a nest in an exterior wall that is not sufficiently warmed by the interior heat of the home, they may become dormant for a time. Carpenter ants prefer wood that is moist from water damage, and this wood often has holes from other insects and rodents chewing on it. This allows the cold to get in. And that cold will have an effect on how much activity those ants will have.

If you’re seeing evidence of carpenter ants in your home this winter, it is important to take immediate action. Don’t hope that those ants have established themselves somewhere cold. And, more than this, don’t think for a second that it will be cold enough outside to kill a colony that has taken root in your home.

Carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners millions of dollars annually. If they go untreated, they can do a lot of damage. And, with the right conditions, they are more than capable to damage your home all winter long.

There is one more thing to keep in mind when it comes to carpenter ants. Don’t assume that the number of ants you see crawling around in your home are an indication of the size of your infestation. Carpenter ants are nocturnal insects. That means they are feeding on foods in your home while you are sleeping. By the time you wake up, those ants will be back in their home enjoying the fruits of their labor. And, you would be startled at how many food sources are available inside your home. No matter what time of year it is it is always best to take immediate action to have carpenter ants treated by a professional.

If you’re in our New Jersey service area, call ChemTech and schedule a no cost, no obligation inspection for your home. We’ll figure out what pest pressures you’re dealing with, and give you effective options for arresting the issue.

Your home may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Protect your equity with trusted pest control support from the QualityPro Certified team here at ChemTech Pest Control.

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