Mar 16, 2017
It's been bitterly, miserably cold out there. In true optimist form we tell ourselves that spring is on the way, we plan for our gardens, for opening the cottage and we rejoice that there is still (some) daylight at 6 pm! Unfortunately though, we aren't the only ones rejoicing.
Ants typically start moving about in February-March as the days lengthen. The photo here was snapped last week while temperatures hovered around -25°C. Pictured here is an acrobat ant, named after its tendency to hold its abdomen (or rear section) above its head, especially when disturbed. If you're seeing small ants in the kitchen, try poking at them gently and see if they elevate their rumps as they scurry away. If you have acrobat ants inside now, you can expect their numbers to multiply throughout summer and fall.
Larger ants which appear all black are typically carpenter ants (in Ontario at least). Carpenter ants are very common structural invaders in cottage country and are the insect that has the highest potential to damage our homes, cottages and other buildings. They do this by chewing galleries for shelter and nesting, much like a comprehensive road network. Carpenter ants search for different types of food throughout the year and tend to become nocturnal in the 'dog days' of summer. This explains why they're around sometimes but then we don't see any for a long while. This is misleading because we think the problem has sorted itself out. In reality, a carpenter ant colony is usually in a structure for 3-4 years before a single ant is ever spotted. By this time, alarming damage could have occurred. Early warning signs you can watch for are piles of wood 'frass' which resemble pencil shavings.
Early spring is a great time of year to treat carpenter ants because they readily feed on bait and share it with the rest of the colony. After they switch food sources (usually in June) they become much more difficult to treat. Now is the time to take action and protect the wood in your house!
If you're seeing ants inside, snap a photo and email it to us. We can help you identify the species and put together a solution to get them out and keep them out, so all you have to worry about is keeping warm!