April and spring is almost here, which can mean only one thing… the ants are waking up from their period of hibernation! Finally, the anting season is upon us.
Hibernation – what is it?
As many other insects, ants are cold blooded. This means that their body temperature adapts to the environment. Actually, they don’t have control over it – if it’s warm the ants are warm. And if it’s really cold, the ants are really cold. During the winter months, the ants of the temperate zones in the northern hemisphere go into hibernation (much like bears actually). The members of the ant colony huddle tight together in the nest to stay as warm as possible. The ant nests are often built to make the winter months as easy as possible for these tiny insects.
When the first rays of the sun hits the nest in the spring, the colony’s home slowly gets warmer. Eventually the warmth will reach the ants themselves and they will start to stretch their six legs. When the activity in the group goes up, so does the temperature.
Species of the Formica family (woodland ants) build great mound shaped nests which allows them to wake up earlier than other ants. Thanks to their southern facing location and the moon shape the ant hill takes ultimate advantage of the rays of the sun. In comparison to the ground dwelling ants this is just super. If the Formica ants can wake up earlier they can without competition start claiming territory and forage for food.
Suddenly all of nature, your lawn and the sidewalks of the cities are alive with ants searching for the first meal of the year. The anting season is here!
So, what are your ant plans for 2020? When will you wake up your hibernating ants? Maybe they’re already awake? Maybe you’re planning on acquiring new colonies this year?
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/Linus at Antkeepers