Living With Indoor Ants

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

If ants are a problem that needs to be eliminated in a home, it helps to know a little biology. During an Indiana winter, many ants survive the sub-freezing temperatures by sheltering underground and living off stored food. They are not actively foraging, so are not seen indoors. If ants are seen indoors during sub-freezing temperatures, it is an indication that the nest is in the house itself, and not in the yard. Carpenter ants in the winter often signify wet wood that is being actively tunneled by the carpenter ants. Home owners should following the foraging ants to see where they go. This may indicate the general location of a nest. Closer inspection of the area can then be made.

Like many other animals, ants like convenience. An ant bait placed near to the nest will be more effective than one far away. Ants lay pheromone from a food source back to their nest, and recruit foragers to the food. Leave the surface between a bait and the nest uncleaned so the pheromone trail laid by the foragers from the bait to the nest will remain. Thoroughly clean surfaces near the paths taken by foragers that do not lead to the bait. This removes the pheromone trails leading to the those food sources so new foragers will only be directed toward the bait and not directed to alternative food sources.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Indoor Ants

  1. anastaciast says:

    Also, there are ants that likes sweets and ants that like savories, correct?

    Ok, here is our funny ant story. A number of years ago we visited the Shedd Aquarium. At the gift shop, they sold ant farms for kids. All of the ant farms that were put up on display were filled with dead ants! We laughed so much!

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