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Why Ants In Winter Is A Serious Problem

Numerous homeowners celebrate winter by appreciating the absence of bugs. One bug, though, enters houses year-round with impunity. While most ants winter in warm underground tunnels, carpenter ants want to use your home as their base of operations. Wait, ants in winter? It’s too cold for that, right? Not really. Some pests are outdoor types. Carpenter ants are more like termites, seeking shelter in wood; the more damaged, damp, and decayed it is, the better. So what should you know about ants in winter?

What Happens To Ants In Winter?

Ants don’t die, nor do they hibernate per se. Ants do sleep during winter, but preparation for this sleep begins in summer and fall. Ants store up food in a second stomach which exists for just this reason. The fat put on during the summer and fall is meant to keep the ant alive during winter. When temperatures well below 75 degrees happen, the ant’s body will become slow and sluggish. While they don’t hibernate, they do stay very still, don’t work, and their metabolism slows. The group around the queen in their outdoor nests to wait out the winter. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, seek out damp, damaged wood in your home. If you have a leak in the walls, ceiling, or floors, the ants will find this structural damage. They’ll destroy the insulation and sheetrock surrounding the damaged wood as they nest. Since you won’t be able to see them, you’ll have to discover them another way. When most people see an ant, they step on it. They don’t usually lean down to sniff it but walk away. However, killing odorous house ants produces a scent like rotting food. If you smell this, call an exterminator in Suffolk.

How Ants Survive The Winter

Ants’ body temperatures drop as cold weather sets in. Their bodies become slow and sluggish. They won’t move. The openings to their anthills will be closed with sand or dirt. Their tunnels are around four feet beneath the surface, where the ice, snow, and cold won’t penetrate. Some ants winter beneath rocks or behind tree bark. Another way ants survive winter is by producing glycerol inside their bodies. This is a sugar and alcohol substance that prevents ice from being created in veins, thus destroying their bodies. Otherwise, ants live off the fats stored in their bodies during summer and fall. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, seek winter shelter in a place offering warmth, food, and water. They locate these things in wood showing structural damage inside a house. There, the colony will happily feed and destroy simultaneously until a pest control expert locates and destroys them.

Why You Should Call In The Professionals

Generally, homeowners don’t minutely examine their foundations, doors, windows, or cladding for cracks, holes, or other openings through which pests enter a home. They usually don’t know there’s a problem until they see something crawling on counters, floors, or window sills. When they see this, they call in the pros for exterminating on Long Island. Even indoors, homeowners aren’t always aware of what attracts ants in winter. In cupboards, it’s open containers of cereals, flour, sugar, and other soft food items. Not wiping up spills and water on counters and sinks offers ants the moisture they need for survival. Failure to sweep crumbs and other food debris off the floors is another offering for ants to exploit.


So why call in a professional exterminator in Nassau County? These Suffolk County extermination professionals use sealants on those outdoor cracks, holes, and other openings to prevent entry by ants in winter. They seal windows, doors, and other openings through which ants enter in winter. They place exterminating tools outside that catch as many ants as possible before they get a chance to get indoors. These tools include boric acid, a granular substance used in pest control. It tastes sweet, so when the ants ingest it, they carry it back to the colony where it poisons the other ants. Liquid bait containers are also placed around the outside of a house, much like those used to catch and kill termites.


Indoors is another story. The exterminator in Suffolk will seek out the bodies of dead ants, odorous house ants gathered in moist areas, under carpets, or behind wallpaper, as well as the “swarmers” of carpenter ants. The exterminator will be careful to distinguish whether the swarmers are ants or termites, and he will follow the trail of the swarmers to the entry point. This he will seal to prevent further infestation. Next comes the actual extermination. If the carpenter ant colony is behind a wall, the professional will have to drill tiny holes in the walls. Through these holes, he will apply dust that will reach the colony and wipe it out. Other infestations will be treated with granular or liquid pesticides. Professionals understand that once a pest finds acceptable lodgings, even if he’s threatened with extinction, he’ll keep coming back. Would you leave a comfortable home with food, water, and warmth? Neither will pests. Pest control professionals will return for treatment until all signs of pests are gone.

What It Means If You See Ants In Winter

It’s no secret that winter is cold. If it’s alive, it wants warmth and shelter. So it’s also no secret that Nassau County homeowners will see pests invading their home including carpenter ants. The snag to that is that ants will make a permanent home in your home. Cold weather isn’t the only reason ants come indoors. They’ll eat anything, which means that your food, whatever falls beneath or behind your appliances, and on floors or doorways is fair game. Food is an energy source, so ants will go where the food is. This means pet foods as well. Another facet of ants in your home in winter is the ease of discovery. They found a way to get into your home, and they stay in all their colonial glory because it’s easy to get to the food. Remember, they’re workers, so they’ll stay where the livin’ is easy. Additionally, the sighting of these ants actively working means homeowners should contact a building contractor right away. Rotting wood means tearing out walls to effect repairs, and the longer homeowners wait to do this, the more expensive the repairs get.

Why Seeing Ants In Your Home In Winter Could Mean Serious Problems

While ants making their colonies in damp or rotted wood don’t bore into the wood as termites do, they still dig into it in order to seat their colonies. This will leave wood shavings or sawdust behind. The trouble is that this all happens behind closed doors, so to speak, so homeowners won’t see the damage until it’s too late. Homeowners will sometimes find these shavings or sawdust in cabinets beneath the kitchen or bathroom sinks, around tubs and showers, or in the laundry room around the plumbing. While ants don’t need water as much as other pests do, they do need the damp wood found around the plumbing. Homeowners should trace their plumbing lines to look for piles of shavings or sawdust. Why does this mean serious problems for the homeowner? Number one: you’ve got water leaking somewhere. Number two: you’ll need to replace the damp and damaged wood. Number three: you’ll need exterminating on Long Island to rid the house of ants so they don’t return. All this is somewhat expensive, which can be a serious problem for some homeowners. Homeowners should also check their attics and roofs for cracks, open spaces, or poorly constructed flashing. Ants will get into these spaces, and if it’s damp, then they’ll set up shop. Not only that, but some of the colonies will break off in order to seek out other beneficial spots for a satellite colony. Or two, or three, and so on. This poses a serious problem for the homeowner in two ways. The first is that your whole roof, flashing and all, needs replacement. The second is that the underlayment and possibly the attic needs work if water has infiltrated it. It’s a matter of just the right exterminating tools to get rid of the ants, but the professional will need to search the house for those satellite colonies. Time is another factor in ant infestations. They wander about in search of permanent homes. The homeowner won’t know how many colonies are lodging in his walls over a period of years. This will make it somewhat more difficult to get rid of a Suffolk County infestation, which will take time and money. Pests are no fun. If you find you’re sharing your home with unwanted guests, then please call family-owned General Exterminating or fill out the form online today. We're standing by to help.

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