Ants in winter?
It's been bitterly, miserably cold out there. In true optimist form we tell ourselves that spring is on the way, we plan for our gardens, for opening the cottage and we rejoice that there is still (some) daylight at 6 pm! Unfortunately though, we aren't the only ones rejoicing.
Ants typically start moving about in February-March as the days lengthen. The photos here were snapped last week while temperatures hovered around -25°C. Pictured here are acrobat ants, named after their tendency to hold their abdomen (or rear section) above their head, especially when disturbed. If you're seeing small ants in the kitchen, try poking at them gently and see if they elevate their rumps as they scurry away. If you have acrobat ants inside now, you can expect their numbers to multiply throughout summer and fall.
Larger ants which appear all black are typically carpenter ants (in Ontario at least). Carpenter ants are very common structural invaders in cottage country and are the insect that has the highest potential to damage our homes, cottages and other buildings. They do this by chewing galleries for shelter and nesting, much like a comprehensive road network. Carpenter ants search for different types of food throughout the year and tend to become nocturnal in the 'dog days' of summer. This explains why they're around sometimes but then we don't see any for a long while. This is misleading because we think the problem has sorted itself out. In reality, a carpenter ant colony is usually in a structure for 3-4 years before a single ant is ever spotted. By this time, alarming damage could have occurred. Early warning signs you can watch for are piles of wood 'frass' which resemble pencil shavings.
If you're seeing ants inside, snap a photo and email it to us ecochoice.pestcontrol (at) gmail (dot) com. We can help you identify the species and put together a solution to get them out and keep them out, so all you have to worry about is keeping warm!