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Finding ants in your house in winter months may not be as uncommon a sight as you may think. They may be using your house as a shelter to stay alive during a particularly cold winter. While ant activity generally decreases during the colder months, there might be a few ant species that may remain active.
If you find an ant infestation in your home during winter, even when it’s freezing outside, it could indicate a bigger problem. Ants in your house in winters could mean that there’s an already established ant colony in your home. It could be in the walls, the attic, the basement, or even your kitchen pantry. Such a situation can be dangerous to your family as well as your property.
Apart from damaging your food, plants, and books, some species of ants such as carpenter ants can even cause structural damage to your home.
Why do ants enter the house during winters?
Ants frequent your house in search of better living conditions. These could mean food, moisture, shelter, or comfortable temperatures.
Ants generally hide in your yard, interior walls, inside door and window frames, concrete slabs, wooden flooring, kitchen cabinets, and sometimes even inside appliances.
The most common ant species that are active during the winter is the pavement ant. The small, red-brown, or black ant hides inside gaps in pavements, around plumbing pipes, or under baseboards. If they find a warm place (such as your home) to nest, they can remain active throughout the year.
Carpenter ants too conveniently make your home, their home. Typically, they build their colony inside the wood. But, unlike termites that use wood as a food source, these ants excavate tunnels through wooden structures to live in. This can cause serious structural damage to your home, your drywall, or wood fixtures.
How to get rid of ants in the house during winter?
Kitchen ants can be quite relentless – imposing themselves on your home regardless of the weather conditions outside. The first step toward controlling their infestation is to keep your place clean.
- Keep natural ant-repelling herbs and spices handy. These include black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, mint leaves, and basil.
- Sprinkle repellent powders such as talcum powder or diatomaceous earth or DE – a finely ground powder made from shells of ocean organisms.
- Use soapy water or a mix of vinegar and water to wipe floors and kitchen countertops.
- Seal any gaps, leaks, cracks, and holes with caulk. With their entry and exit points sealed, house ants have no chance of survival.
Read more: Why are there ants in my bathroom
When to call a professional
It is normally very difficult to remove ants after they have established themselves indoors, whether during the warm or colder months of the year. If you notice a large number of ants crawling or hunting for food, it’s best to contact your local pest control service. They’ll conduct a thorough inspection and design the most suitable ant control plan.
A pest management expert will identify the source of the pest problem and also eradicate the ant colonies. They’ll then seal all the gaps and entry points so that your property is protected against any pest infestation in the future.
Moreover, the pros will advise you on sanitation and ant exclusion methods. Another reason why seeking the advice of a professional pest control firm is important is that the swarm you see may be termites rather than ants. Now, that’s a scary situation to be in!
Read more: Termite inspection report before closing
Tips for preventing ant problems in the future
Keep in mind that nothing attracts ants more than food debris and dirt. And when it comes to ants in the house in winters, prevention is definitely better than cure.
- Perform a deep clean during the fall in addition to your spring cleaning.
- Always clear off any food spills or food crumbs on the floor, countertops, and oven.
- Make sure there’s no leftover food in your pet food dishes.
- Use plastic bags or airtight containers to store flour, cereal, and other pantry items.
- Refrigerate fruits and perishable food items.
- Vacuum and clean the floors on a regular basis.
- Use quality cleaning products to wipe down counters or areas where you observe ant trails.
- Dispose of trash every day.
Read more: Handy home maintenance calendar
Ants in the house can be a nuisance, particularly during cold weather when you’re already dealing with the freezing temperatures outside. Several winter ant species enter homes in search of food and a more hospitable environment. Finding ants crawling about during the winter months is a sure indicator that there’s a nest or ant colony nearby. Or, inside your home. It’s best to deal with such an issue as quickly as possible.
Read more: Household pests and diseases