Tag Archives: Ant control

What Makes Ants Great Navigators?

Let’s be honest: we should really be glad that ants are a little lacking in the size department, because there’s just not much else we humans are superior in.

Sure, we’ve done great things throughout history. We’ve built some pretty amazing buildings and established a countless number of civilizations. But ants have done all that, without relying on petty tools and machinery. In fact, they’ve built massive societies and underground megalopolises with their own two… mandibles.

So, it’s not too far-fetched to say that anything we can do, ants can do better. Just look at our existence within a greater perspective, and you’ll start to get it. They’re more coordinated, hardworking, and powerful than us. And to add insult to injury, latest research indicates that they also make better navigators, too.

Ants Have Two Navigational Strategies

Imagine getting to a restaurant you’ve found on Yelp, without the help of Google Maps, or even road signs. Now imagine doing it while going backwards.

It may sound like an impossible feat, but for ants, it’s a trivial task, both forwards and in rewind.

This is thanks to their incredible ability to separate the direction they’re going from what they’re seeing! Ants can travel far away from their nests and easily find their way back, regardless of whatever obstacle that may come in their path.

But how is that so, you ask? Researchers from the University of Edinburgh asked the same question and sought answers by planting a bunch of barriers around a desert ant nest to create a maze. They made sure the barriers didn’t impede the view of the ants and gave them some time to get used to their surroundings.

The researchers discovered that the ants relied on two navigational strategies to route their way home:

1. Following Their Visual Memories

Here’s the deal: ants change their walking orientation depending on the size of food they have to carry. So, when the ants encountered the smaller bits of cookie that the researchers laid out on the trail, they walked forward. And when they encountered the larger bits, they dragged them while walking backward.

It turns out that the ants relied on their view and visual cues to navigate back to their nest. For one, the forward-walking ants constantly adjusted their course by analyzing their surrounding scenery, without stopping in-between!

Backward-walking ants, however, did things a little differently. They made occasional stops to rotate around the spot while carrying the food, and hastily corrected their direction based on the visual information that they absorbed.

And if the cookie pieces were too large to lug around, the ants dropped the food altogether, walking a few steps forward, peeking around, and orientating themselves before pulling once more.

Regardless, the way the ants match their progress against their memories of their visual surroundings shows that their mental capacity is far more complex than we give them credit for. Truly remarkable cognition and planning, which we humans often find ourselves lacking in in the convenience of today’s digital age!

2. Stargazing

However, the researchers weren’t fully convinced that was the only thing these versatile ants relied on to navigate. Based on the way the ants’ visual memories worked, the researchers believed a simple peel forward would not be enough for backward-walking ants to properly navigate.

So get this: the researchers determined that the ants are also capable of navigating using the stars. In other words, they’re able to find their way by referring to the position of the sun in the sky.

The researchers confirmed this by making the ants walk through a funnel, which denied them the visual cues of their surrounding environment.

As they expected, the funnel proved to be incapable of outsmarting the super-bugs. Every time the ants were forced into the funnel, they immediately came back out, looked skyward, and effortlessly re-oriented themselves. They actually noted the location of the sun in the sky to reframe their visual memory of their route!

Ants Are Not To Be Underestimated

While their brains may be less than the size of a pinhead, ants are way smarter than we give them credit for. They can clear navigational challenges that we humans would have trouble with – much more than we’d like to admit!

So next time you find yourself hopelessly lost in a new city or town, keep calm and just relax. C’mon – if small, insignificant, pip-squeak ants can do it, so can you… right?

No pressure.

Ants are extremely clever pests that also happen to be one of the most common household pests in the world! But fear not – Terminix Canada is here to help. We’ve provided superior pest management services all over Canada for over 90 years!

For more information regarding our pest management and pest control services, or how to prevent ant infestations, bed bugs, and more, call us at 1-888-801-6348!

What Happens To Ants In Winter?

Synonymous with Canadian spring and summertime, everybody is familiar with ants but what happens to ants in winter? When Canada starts experiencing colder weather in autumn and winter, these crawling critters seemingly disappear into the abyss. Just question it yourself for a second. When was the last time you saw a rogue ant or ten in your home or business at this time of year?

The answer is usually very few and we’d forgive you for thinking that ants make like geese and vacation down in Tijuana until Daylight Saving Time ends! Feed your curiosity and carry on reading because this Terminix Canada blog will explain exactly what happens to ants in winter.

Do Ants Hibernate In Winter?

Do ants hibernate in winter? You must be thinking they do considering that ant infested gap in your skirting has gone quiet all of a sudden. Ultimately, ants don’t exactly hibernate at this time of year. However, they do enter a state of dormancy within their colonies once the temperature drops a few degrees. Cold-blooded creatures, ants can go without food but they’ll never survive Canada’s harsh winter without seeking shelter and warmth. That’s why they pitch up inside our homes to extend their lifespan.

Unlike true hibernation, ants will continue their usual activities during a very mild winter. Just because you can’t see ants during winter, this doesn’t mean they’ve completely disappeared. It’s important to note that most Canadian ant species aren’t outright foragers willing to risk their life in plain sight. Therefore, you won’t see the majority of ant species traversing your home in search of food. Instead, they will be prioritizing their newfound shelter and warmth behind the scenes, remaining evasive, out of sight, and ultimately, out of our minds.

This is why it’s so important not to forget the threats that ants pose to your home during winter and thereafter. If an ant colony is located within your home structure itself, they could be doing damage unknowingly as we speak.

What Is Ant Diapause And How Does It Change Ants’ Behaviour?

So we’ve established that ants aren’t true hibernators. However, they will enter a slower metabolic state that is referred to as “diapause”. When the mercury drops on thermometers during winter, this coincides with ants naturally slowing down or ceasing their activities. We’re talking about things like eating, drinking, and laying eggs.

Ants won’t perform any of these activities when cold temperatures arrive, becoming sluggish in nature. Conserving their energy at this time, ants won’t hibernate in the traditional sense but will instead burrow deep into the soil, in areas beneath rocks, and underneath tree bark. Why? Because these are the places where ants can maintain body heat via consistent temperatures. At this time, an ant colony will encircle a queen to defend their population.

What Happens To Ants Come Springtime?

Spring is when ants experience their great awakening. This is why it’s so important to get professional ant control performed on your premises before warmer weather arrives. This will spare you from ants wreaking havoc in your home once they’re ready to start hunting for food again.

You should be aware that once worker ants have discovered a food source in your home, they will return straight back to alert the wider colony about its location. Leaving behind odour trails to memorize the path from nest to food source, these trails are commonly spotted in rooms like kitchens.

Got Carpenter Ants In House? Why Is This The Case This Winter?

As we alluded to earlier in this blog, ants are a species that dislike the cold and love things like damp wood. One of the most commonly discovered home invading ant species, our Terminix Canada teams regularly gets called to treat carpenter ants.

If you have carpenter ants in house, it may well be the case that a satellite colony from outside established a new colony within the warm confines of your home. Think about it for a second. Ants get everything they need in the house with delicious damp wood, food sources, and warmth. It’s practically a vacation resort tailored to their every whim!

It’s important to catch early signs of carpenter ants in the house in order to prevent the full establishment of a satellite colony within your walls, otherwise you could be in for a serious ant problem come springtime. At that point, you’ll be wishing ants did hibernate in the winter!

How Do You Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants And Other Species?

In order to successfully control a carpenter ant infestation, or an infestation of another ant species, you can’t simply remove the ants you can see. Instead, you must work with a professional ant pest control company like Terminix Canada to remove ant nests, both the satellite and primary nests.

Ultimately, the worker ants belonging to a carpenter ant colony will continue spawning and tunnelling until the queen is eliminated. DIY ant control tactics will only get you so far. Why? Because locating the precise location of every single satellite and primary nest is incredibly difficult.

Therefore, you should contact our professionals at Terminix Canada. We know what it truly takes to get rid of carpenter ants and other species. Now you know what happens to ants in winter, trust our team. They can protect your home this season and year-round too. Offering 24/7 support, learn more about our residential ant control services in Canada today.