What Happens to Ants during the Winter?

During the cold winter months, most outdoor-dwelling New Jersey ant species hibernate. As outdoor temperatures drop, ants become sluggish and their body temperatures fall. Nest entrances close over as traffic to and from the nest ceases. While many worker ants only live one year, dying at the end of the season; others, including the queen, survive for several years.

Living off stored fat, ants spend the winter inside their nests in a state of suspended animation. As the weather warms in the spring, ant activity heats up. Nest entrances are cleared as ants become active again. Activity is most noticeable in the spring; but these tiny insects remain active throughout the summer and early fall.

Many ant species build their nests deep underground below the frost line where ground temperatures remain a constant 45 to 50 degrees F. year-round. Some ant species even produce an antifreeze-like substance that helps them weather the cold.

In recent years, there have been a few surprising reports of indoor winter ant activity in Northeastern states. In a few cases, ants have been spotted climbing interior. Because insect body clocks are tuned to air temperature, it is possible that an unseasonably warm spell could trigger a spring-like burst of ant activity.

Just because you don’t see them crawling around during the winter doesn’t mean your Monmouth County NJ home is ant-free. Allison Pest Control’s home protection plan is the best way to keep ant populations in check year round.