What Happens to Carpenter Ants in the Winter?

Spring and summer are prime times for ants in most of the United States. That's the warm part of year when they show up in your yard and even your home. However, carpenter ants are serious pests that can remain active from January to December, meaning they can do damage to your home no matter the season.

carpenter ants in winter

How badly can carpenter ants damage your home? It depends on the number of nests present on your property, and how long these industrious pests have been actively living in it.

Identifying carpenter ants and locating their colonies is one of the first steps to effectively controlling them.

Do carpenter ants die in winter?

Carpenter ants don’t die in winter, but colonies may remain dormant when temperatures drop. This depends on the situation and how much the temperature drops in their nesting area. However, if their nests stay warm enough due to mild outdoor temperatures, carpenter ants may skip their hibernation phase altogether. Indoor colonies may also remain active, or revive from their dormant state, once you begin using the furnace or fireplace during the winter months.

Why are there carpenter ants in my house?

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in damp or decayed wood. Ants living in your home are most likely coming from an outdoor parent colony working to establish satellite nests inside.


These ants will also seek out moist conditions indoors. They are most commonly attracted to areas around windows and doorways where condensation might collect, like in bathrooms, kitchens, drains, pipes and roof vents.

Carpenter ants may also enter your home during the winter months when they are foraging for food and/or water. Like many ants, they are omnivores that have a strong liking for proteins, fats and sugars. Anything from pet food to sweet spills (such as jelly or honey) can lure them into your home.

How do you control a carpenter ant infestation?

Occasionally, one or two ants will catch a ride on firewood you bring indoors, but these ants cannot establish indoor residency. However, if you notice individual carpenter ants in your house during the late fall or winter, there is likely a nest somewhere inside your home.

To control a carpenter ant infestation, it is not enough to simply dispose of the ants you see. Their nests, both satellite and primary, should be fully removed. Worker ants in a carpenter ant colony will continue to spawn and tunnel until you eliminate the queen(s). Because it can be tricky to locate the parent and all of the satellite nests around your home, your best bet is to contact a pest control professional to help you remove these pests.

The pest control professionals here at Terminix® know the effective measures needed to get rid of carpenter ants. We can help protect your home against this busy pest during the winter and all year-round. Contact Terminix today to get a free quote.



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