Q:

Do ants hibernate in the winter?

A:

Ants hibernate during the winter. The temperatures underground 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 like they work together during the warm months. They gather food, they store food in their own stomachs and they prepare their colonies for a long winter. During this time, they collect all of the food necessary to keep the queen from starving and put back extra food for the workers. The 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 sources of food that are available to them, ants will conserve all of the energy they can during the winter. They do not move a lot and they tend to stick together in clumps to help increase the amount of heat that is in the colony. They are able to work together to stay warm and to keep the queen ant warm.

There are some species of ants that are better equipped to live in cold temperatures than others. Ants that live in the lower parts of the United States do not generally have to worry about temperatures below freezing and only have to hibernate for a short period of time. Other ants that live in areas of New England and into Canada have to withstand temperatures that drop below 0. These ants are able to stay alive because their bodies produce a type of anti freeze that helps to keep them warm.

Sources:

  1. psu.edu
  2. antweb.org

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