The Small Honey Ant Thrives In Cold Temperatures And They Swarm Within Homes During The Winter Season
A great number of ant pests are well known for invading Arizona homes during the spring, summer and fall seasons, but once the winter season arrives, ant pests become a rare sight within homes in the state. However, one ant species, Prenolepis imparis, is unique for being most active during the winter when both workers and swarming alates are frequently found within and around Arizona homes. This ant species is more commonly known as the honey pot ant, and most infestations see workers invade homes in large numbers from outside nests, but they are also known for frequently establishing indoor nests. Honey pot ant workers invade homes to seek out human food sources, and while these ants have a preference for sugar-rich foods, they frequently consume pantry items containing vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats.
Honey pot ant workers forage within homes during the winter months, and the common emergence of swarming alates in homes during January through March indicates that these ant pests also establish nests within hidden indoor areas during the winter. Unlike many other ant pest species commonly found in Arizona homes, such as southern fire ants and harvester ants, honey pot ants do not sting and they rarely inflict bites to humans. Surprisingly, honey pot ants become most active outdoors when temperatures range from 35 to 55 degrees, and they have been spotted emerging from subterranean nests during bouts of winter cold that see temperatures drop to the single digits. While these ants are common household pests during the winter, honey pot ant mating swarms are most frequent during the spring, but new colonies can also be formed by ground-dwelling reproductive specimens. These ants are relatively small, and workers may be pale, brown or jet black, but their head is generally lighter in color than their abdomen.
Have you ever encountered ants in your home during the winter?