Ants Hibernate – How Do Ants Prepare For Winter

Do ants hibernate in winter?

Ants hibernate during the winter. Underground temperatures are much warmer during the winter months, and ants can survive in their colonies during this time.

Ants work together to prepare for the hibernation period, just as they work together during the warm months. 

They collect food, store food in their stomachs and prepare their colonies for a long winter. During this time, they gather as much food as needed to keep the queen from starving and put back extra food for the workers. 

Ants are also equipped with a special place in their stomach called the crop, which allows them to store food throughout the winter.

Due to the limited food sources available, ants will conserve as much energy as they can during the winter. 

They don’t move much and tend to stick together to increase the amount of heat in the colony. They are able to work together to stay warm and keep the queen ant warm.

There are some ant species that are better equipped to live in cold temperatures than others. 

Ants that live in the lower parts of the United States usually don’t have to worry about sub-zero temperatures and only need to hibernate for a short period of time. 

Other ants that live in areas of New England and Canada have to withstand temperatures that drop below freezing. 

These ants are able to stay alive because their body produces a type of antifreeze that helps keep them warm.

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How and where do ants overwinter?

Preparation for wintering with ants – process that takes a long time. The main part of the work on preparing the colony for the cold is aimed at stocking up on the required amount of food: seeds, caterpillars, dry plants. In addition, there is a massive feeding of all remaining larvae, as well as checking the existing compartments for wintering and, if necessary, digging up new ones.

When the cold time comes, the ants spend it in their anthill, moving only to the deepest chambers.

This is necessary so that individuals do not freeze – a constant warm micro-environment is maintained in them all the time.

All the main exits from the colony are carefully blocked by clay, earth and dry plants. However, during thawing, some may temporarily open for ventilation.

If the top of the anthill gets wet during the winter period, a special team drags all the provisions into deeper compartments.

What do ants do in winter? 

Some species of ants sleep in the winter, but their organs function at a slower rate. The others continue to work, but their activity decreases significantly. 

The body of an ant can withstand temperatures as low as -50 degrees. This is achieved thanks to the accumulation of a large number of sugary substances.

Very often, during the cold season, ants move large numbers of aphids to their anthills to continue feeding on its secretions even during the winter. 

But insects are not enough for the whole winter: aphids die for lack of fresh food.

Ants spend the winter in their nest, moving into special deep chambers. This time they don’t sleep, but they minimize activity. 

The process of preparing for the cold includes storing, hatching the remaining larvae, and creating new wintering compartments.

Place of wintering

Where ants hibernate depend on their species. In nature or in the house of man, the latter do not change the direction of their activities. 

In their natural environment, insects are forced to take care of a successful wintering from mid-summer. They wait for the winter frosts in the anthill, arranging them well.

The working part of the family carries food reserves in the form of seeds, cereals, plants, even aphids. 

Equip the special cameras, upset the deep moves. Trying to put more land on the anthill, leaves, and twigs to make it warmer. With the arrival of cold weather, the whole family goes into the house, entrances tightly closed.

Wintering process

As the temperature decreases, insects descend into the lower chambers of the anthill. If the wintertime is not too tough, life in the anthill does not end.

Adult ants in winter take care of the larvae, eggs, new generations, who have not had time to grow in the cold. 

Ants in winter can be found in the forest during the thaw. There are no particular restrictions on leaving the anthill. 

The earth warms up; insects can wake up, regardless of the winter month. Open the entrances crawl out in search of food.

In maximum cases, the ants arrival to regular with the onset of spring. From the lower rooms, they go up to the upper rooms, then they open the entrances, they head towards the street. Begin an active life and again preparing for the cold.

Ants Hibernate Infographic

Ants Hibernate Infographic

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