Numerous species of ant pest invade homes throughout the state of New York, even during the winter season. Ants are not likely to wander indoors during long periods of single digit daytime temperatures. However, several ant pests, like Pharaoh ants and odorous house ants, are often encountered in upstate New York homes in large numbers during the fall and early winter seasons before heavy snowfall and consistently low temperatures render outdoor ants inactive. The most common ant pests encountered in upstate New York homes include: carpenter ants, pavement ants, cornfield ants, yellow ants, acrobat ants, thief ants and little black ants.
Carpenter ants and Pharaoh ants can remain indoors during the entire winter season in the northeast. Both of these ant pests, and more, are able to survive indoors during New York winters by establishing secondary nests in wall voids where temperatures remain warm enough to allow for their survival. While carpenter ants sometimes nest within moist structural wood, they establish nests within wall voids far more often. Like most ant pests, carpenter ants and Pharaoh ants need high-moisture and warm temperatures in order to thrive. Therefore, ant pests that are found indoors during the winter likely originate from nests in wall voids located near heating ducts and around bathroom tubs and kitchen dishwashers. This is why indoor ant pests are frequently found in bathroom and kitchen sinks during the early winter season.
Residents of ant infested homes should do their best to locate ant nests in order to determine if the pests can be excluded from indoor areas with simple household repairs. For example, caulking crevices, cracks and other entry points on a home’s exterior walls, repairing cracks in concrete floor, and eliminating sources of moisture may suffice to prevent ants from accessing homes. Keeping track of where ants go after consuming indoor foods can reveal nesting sites. During the winter, indoor ant nests are usually located between floors, beneath sub-flooring, in rotting wood, behind baseboards, and within wall voids. If a nest is located within a wall void, removing the wall and vacuuming the nest and nearby worker ants may eliminate an infestation. This method is most effective when ants become largely inactive during periods of below freezing weather during the winter.
Have you ever experienced ant pest issues in your home during the winter?