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Black ants in the winter

Updated February 21, 2017

There are two species of household ants: black and carpenter. The carpenter ant is different than the black ant. Black ants, or black garden ants, are annoying and difficult to get rid of in your house once infested. Just one colony of black ants can have as many as 2,000 active ants. Black ants are nocturnal and diurnal. The favourite places for colony locations of the black ant are in houses and gardens, though one species of black ants prefers forests. They are found all over Europe and in parts of the United States.

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Nesting

Getting rid of black ants is difficult. The scientific name of the black ant is Lasius niger. The black ant is versatile, which makes them difficult to get rid of since they can easily adapt to their environment. Black ants outside live in trees, mulch, concrete cracks, under rocks anywhere the tiniest crawl space is located. Inside black ants live in woodwork, voids in walls, under carpets and in basement walls.

Food

Black ants will eat anything. They enjoy sugars, vegetables, protein, other insects, plants and even cooking grease. Honeydew from aphids and scales also is a food source of the black ant. Black ants follow the scent of food and drag it back to the nest for a feast for the whole colony. The black ant can pull 20 times its own body weight.

Spring

Black ants are very common in the spring since this is the time they come out of their nest foraging for new food. In the spring, it is difficult to tell if black ants are coming from the inside or outside of the home. However, they nest in moist soil, so if they are nesting inside the home, they are more likely to be in a large planter. Movement of black ants in the spring does not mean your house has a nest. If you are still finding black ants inside your home in later winter, then the assumption is accurate that there is a nest of black ants in your home. In the spring, black ants build new nests. To protect your home for the winter, you need to eliminate the black ants in the spring.

Winter

If you see black ants in the winter, there is probably a nest in your home. Of course a rogue ant brought in from outdoors is a possibility. Firewood is a way for black ants to find their way into your home during the winter. Worker black ants may become active in cold weather if the nest is not receiving enough warmth. Active black ants in winter forage for food at night when there is more moisture in the air. A common location for black ants to look for food in the winter is in cupboards, dishwashers, baths, toilet areas and other places where moisture collects. In the winter, a nest of black ants has a better chance of getting the heat and moisture needed on the northern outside wall of your home.

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About the Author

Tammy Bronson has been a freelance writer since 1994. As a writer for Thompson Gale Publishing she wrote autobiographies and legal reviews. With Remilon.com Bronson wrote innovative informative articles about colleges and universities nationwide. She lives in the Greater Boston Area and has a Master of Arts degree in literature and writing from the State University of New York.

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