Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Are Ants More of a Problem in Cold or Warm Climates?

While hovering over a baseboard heater in Minnesota most people would not stop to think “well at least we don’t have fire ants.” While the nasty sting of a fire ant might distract a Minne-snow-tan from impending frostbite, the invasive critters are mostly found in the southern and western portions of the U.S. The same is true for Argentine ants which have driven out many native ant species from the Southern Atlantic states to the Golden State. In these areas where temperatures generally stay above freezing for most of the winter, the pesky ants remain active. But, that isn’t to say that ants aren’t a problem in the northern regions. Obviously, no one expects to see ants crawling around in the snow. But ants have developed survival techniques that allow them to live everywhere except Antarctica and the Arctic.

Ants are cold blooded and prefer warmth. When temperatures dip they duck into their nests and enter a state called diapause to survive the cold. During this state, resembling hibernation, the ants cease their housecleaning activities and the openings to their nests are naturally covered over by leaves and accumulated soil. When the weather warms, so do the ants, and their activities increase. On sunny late winter days in Minnesota, ants can emerge from warm wall spaces and engage in indoor mating swarms. While this might not be as bad as being attacked by fire ants in Texas, having ants flying around your living room like snowflakes is no fun.

Ants can be a problem in any state, from Florida to North Dakota. But ant activity and lifecycle is affected more by weather than geography. Warm weather means more ants and cold weather means less. Either way, temperature extremes drive ants into your home. When it’s hot and dry, ants trespass in search of water, food, and shade. When temperatures dip, they come in search of warmth and shelter. So unless you’re planning to move to the South Pole anytime soon, ants are going to be a part of your life as sure as the sun shines in July.