Like lines of marching soldiers, ants make their way across the pavement during the summer months. But, like all animals, these insects must find a way to make it through the cold winter months as well. Cold winters are tough on every species, and ants are no different. They have to find a way to make it through these trying times, just as they do during the summer. Where do ants go in the winter? Ants do not hibernate. They wither burrow deeper into the soil, or find a home or business to invade and find shelter.
Ants use different tactics depending upon their specific species. All ants are cold blooded, so when the cold sets in, they start to slow down, conserving energy. Many ants will forage heavily through the summer and fall in an attempt to build up enough fat to carry them through the winter. And many ants find a way into our homes and businesses, enjoying our heat and foraging through our these places for food.
We as humans offer many advantages to insects and animals that are brave enough and equipped to hide within our walls. Ants are very small and burrowers. If they can find a place to set up camp, they will. Not only do we often offer excellent harborage, often food and water are available as well. Kitchens, old food left under a bed, or pet foods can be a healthy treat for any colony. Your Oklahoma pest control company can help.
Sometimes ants will find a warm pipe to build a nest near, enjoying its heat. This kind of set up is especially good because often condensation on these pipes will also provide water. In cold weather situations, some ants will convert their bodily fluids into glycerol. This is the same ingredient found in antifreeze. This keeps them from freezing and suffering bodily damage.
BIOLOGY OF ANTS
Ants are a cold blooded insect. This means that their activity level is governed by temperature. The warmer they are, the more active, the colder, the less active. They go through four different stages in their lifecycle. They start as an egg, laid by the queen. These eggs are tended by the worker ants. Once the egg hatches, a larvae emerges, again attended by the workers. Once the larvae has grown sufficiently, it will enter a pupal stage. This stage can occur in a cocoon, or without one. Here they grow into adulthood. Finally, the adult stage will define the ants role in colony society.
Ants social structure is built on a caste system. At the bottom, are the workers. There are more worker ants than any other. These are sterile females that forage for food, tend to the young, and feed the young and queen. They feed the young through a process called trophallaxis. Soldiers protect the colony. Some species use workers for this. Finally reproductives mate and lay eggs, continuing the colony. Your Tulsa pest control company is a good place to start when dealing with ant issues.
Ants can be identified by their look. They have three sections, a head, thorax and abdomen. The separation between each body section has a small waist. If there isn’t a waist, then you are probably not looking at an ant. The head has the eyes, antenna and mouth parts. This should be self evident. The thorax is the mobility portion of the body. The legs protrude out of this body segment. The last segment, the abdomen, houses the vital organs and digestion.
There are often smaller sections between the thorax and the abdomen. These sections are called nodes. They often have barbs, or petioles on the top of them and there can be up to two of these sections. The number of them and whether or not they have barbs delineates them from other species. A good Oklahoma exterminator can identify the ants that you are dealing with.
TYPES OF ANTS
There are many types of ants. Here, I will name a few that are most common in homes and businesses. The carpenter ants get their name from the fact that they burrow into wood to create nests. The pharaoh ants are small ants that are often found in hospitals. They can be dangerous because they will try to feed on open wounds. Thief ants get their name from the fact that they like to house their colony close to a bigger ant, and steal their young for food.
Odorous house ants have a scent when they are crushed. They are often found in homes, especially in the winter. The acrobat ant gets its name from their habit of holding their abdomen over their thorax, especially when they have been injured or disturbed. This causes them to double over like an acrobat. Pavement ants love to find cracks in concrete to build their nests in.
GETTING RID OF ANTS
There are many over the counter pesticides for ants. Many of them are ineffective. It is important to identify what kind of ant that you are dealing with, and tailor your control method to them. Most people are not trained to identify ants and their species, so it is important that a trained professional be called in to help. If you are having issues with ants in your home or business, contact your Tulsa exterminator for help. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we can get you a free estimate. We service all of the Tulsa area including Broken Arrow, Bixby, Owasso, Coweta, Sapulpa, Jenks, Pratville, Sand Springs, Catoosa, Claremore and more. Contact us today! We are here to help!