Where Do Ants Go in the Winter? {Do Ants Die in Winter?}

Every winter, I wonder if ants die out or hide out somewhere where I can’t see them. Where Do Ants Go in the Winter?

Do ants hibernate? What temperature is too cold for ants? If you still see ants in the winter, then you might also benefit from finding out what you can do to get rid of them.

Let’s do it. Let’s find out where do ants go in the winter and see what we can do to prevent them from coming back to our homes and properties.

Where Do Ants Go in the Winter?

Ants make preparations for the winter and hunker down. They look for somewhere warm like deep soil or under tree barks and rocks.

Overwintering for ants involves maintaining body heat by huddling together and making sure there are enough food reserves during this time to stay alive during a long period of lowered activity.

This period of dormancy is different from hibernation. Ants do not hibernate and do not die out in mass numbers over the winter. They simply nestle in and huddle up around their queen to protect her in order for the colony to continue forward next spring.

Do Ants Die in the Cold?

Ants are intelligent and well traveled enough to figure out that they need to find somewhere warm for the winter season.

Even though ants are tiny, they are resilient and capable of surviving about two winters in their average lifespans of 2 years.

Queen ants must survive for the colony to prosper. Without her, ant colonies will continue for a shortened period and will slowly die off without any new births.

What Temp Do Ants Die?

Temperatures below 50 Degrees Fahrenheit, will force ants to adjust their own body temperatures downwards and rely on dormancy and huddling up in groups.

They will make sure to have prepared for the winter with or without food reserves and will focus on keeping their queen warm. Ants fatten up just before the tempriuaurre drops and seeking out food is not their top concern when they are dormant.

Even under 75 degrees Fahrenheit, ants will be seen less often and operate under lessened activity if they have found a good place to hide. This is why ants work so hard the rest of the year building tunnel systems and comfortable nests.

What Month Do Ants Go Away?

Ants never just go away, but they will be seen less often in the winter months. There is no ant season, but once Fall temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, ants will decrease their activity and you may not see them as much.

They will look for warmth, coverage from rain, but will appreciate some moisture around them to remain. Ants will be forced to find food if their reserves are running out.

Many ant populations die, but as long as they reach their average potential lifespans of 2 years, they can survive 2 winters in dormancy. Some queen ants can survive up to 15 winters.

Where Ants Go in Winter

An active ant loves temperatures around 75-95°F (24 – 35°C). Once the temperatures dip below that, an ant needs to figure out where it will go over the winter. Thankfully for this ant, it doesn’t need to operate alone.

The strength in numbers for ants suggests that they huddle up and utilize each other’s body heat to stay warm. By the time the temps are under 50°F, ants have nestled in and are ready to hide out. They can go in:

  • Nests underground (At least 4 feet deep)
  • Hiding spaces in your home
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Do Ants Freeze to Death?

Ants who don’t nest deep under the ground can produce glycerol which acts as a type of antifreeze in their blood. It stops ice from forming in their veins.

Other pests such as snails can do the same thing to survive when we expect them to die. Ants are fiercely resilient and capable of surviving cold winters this way. Otherwise, they will seek to enter your warm home if they find an unsealed entryway.

Do Ants Hibernate In Winter?

No. Ants do not hibernate over the winter. They reach a state of dormancy to overwinter for these cold months. They can produce glycerol and block their veins from freezing. They will find any opportunity to slip inside your home and create a warmer nest if possible.

The sheer numbers of ant populations drop slightly over the winter and food reserves run out. The queen must remain warm and the worker ants will remain alert enough to huddle up and protect her.

Shelter and warmth comes, first. Food can be rationed or given up for lengths of time during this period of dormancy.

What Is Ant Diapause?

Diapause in ants refers to a slower metabolic rate. Ants will decrease their activity over cold months. They will eat less, drink less and lay fewer eggs. Ants will be lethargic and sluggish while slowing down their activity levels.

The only focus at this point is to keep the queen safe and warm. The shelter must be prepared before the winter starts or they will be left scrambling to find a new location with your warm house as a preferred option.

It’s always important to check your home for any cracks or gaps where ants can sneak in. Use sealant, weather stripping and caulking to make sure you do not provide them a home during this time.

What Happens To Ants In Spring?

Ants will re-emerge from their hiding spots and stretch out. The great awakening from a dormant state of diapause means that ants are ready to resume their heavy activity of hard work.

They will start to investigate multiple areas around your property to find food and seek out an even better shelter for next winter. New queens can also emerge as well who will have to build new colonies.

If a queen gets into the smallest gaps in your home, her impregnated body will soon deliver massive numbers of workers who will start to look for food around your house.

They will leave scent trails all over that we must get rid of. Try using a simple spray of a bottle that is equal parts water and vinegar. This will kill them on contact as well. You can add essential oils like peppermint to the mixture or a few drops of dish soap.

How to Get Rid of Ants in the House in Winter

In the winter, you may become the unlucky landlord of an ant population that wishes to use your house for their period of inactivity.

They will find a spot or you will have to beat them to it. Once you see where they are going, seal it with caulking or silicone or sprinkle the area with diatomaceous earth, boric acid or baking soda.

Look for ants:

  • inside walls
  • cabinets
  • door frames
  • window sills
  • baseboards
  • crawl spaces
  • attics
  • under floors
  • behind appliances

Ants are looking for food and protection with warm shelters that we have built for ourselves. They will crash our parties and become the uninvited guests that no one wanted there in the first place.

Use repellents like peppermint oil and water, vinegar and water, diatomaceous earth or baking soda to get them out of here.

Why Do Ants Come Into Homes?

Ants are looking for shelter, warmth and food. They will discover that your home has all of these factors combined and will leave a scent trail behind when they go back to their counterparts to spread the news.

These persistent ants will arrive in droves as they follow the secretions the first pioneers left behind. Soon, there will be countless ants in a single file or close to it. They will be headed to hiding spaces that offer them protection and keep them out of the way from you or your possible pets.

They will grow in numbers as long as the queen is warm and supplied with food the workers bring back to her. It’s important to clean our homes and floors regularly as we remove the scent trials that we cannot see or smell. Then, we can apply baking soda, diatomaceous earth or spray the area with 50/50 vinegar and water mixture to keep ants away.


Ants are overwintering arthropods who need a dormancy period referred to as diapause. They are cold-blooded and need to huddle up to create warmth around their queen during the long winter.

They would prefer to be indoors in your home and just when the weather gets colder is when you must make a careful inspection of entryways where they can get in.

Ants gain weight just before the winter. They will survive the harsh weather without needing to venture out and look for food. They are not hibernating or dying over the winter. Ants can live on average for 2 years and queens can survive for around 15 years. That’s a lot of winters!


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