Local NM Exterminators Discuss How Drought Affects Ants
Drought can have significant impacts on ants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and across New Mexico, just as it affects many other organisms in the ecosystem. Ants are highly social insects, and their behavior, distribution, and survival can be influenced by changes in environmental conditions, particularly water availability. Here are some ways in which drought can affect ants in Albuquerque and throughout the state.
How drought can affect ants
- Water scarcity
Drought leads to reduced water availability, which can be a major challenge for ants that rely on water sources for survival. Ants need water for drinking, maintaining their nests' humidity, and cooling down their bodies. During a drought, natural water sources may dry up, making it harder for ants to find water and potentially leading to water-related stress or even death.
- Altered foraging patterns
As water becomes scarce, ants may be forced to alter their foraging patterns. They may need to search for food sources closer to their nests to conserve energy and reduce water loss during foraging trips. This could impact their ability to find sufficient food, especially for species that rely on specific water-dependent food sources.
- Nest construction and maintenance
Some ant species build elaborate nests underground that require a certain level of moisture to maintain their integrity. During a drought, the soil may become dry and compacted, making it challenging for ants to construct or maintain their nests properly.
- Competition and conflicts
Drought can create intense competition among ants and other arthropods for limited resources like food and water. This can lead to conflicts between different ant colonies as they fight for access to essential resources.
In response to worsening conditions, some ant colonies may attempt to migrate to areas with better water availability. This can result in shifts in ant populations and changes in the distribution of different ant species within the region.
- Reduced reproduction
Drought-induced stress and food scarcity can impact ant reproduction rates. During droughts, ant colonies may prioritize survival over reproduction, leading to lower reproductive success and slower colony growth.
When there’s a drought, will ants move indoors in search of moisture & food?
Yes, during a drought, ants may indeed move indoors in search of moisture and food. As the drought reduces water availability in their natural habitats, ants may become more opportunistic in their foraging behavior, seeking out alternative sources of water and food. Homes and buildings offer attractive resources for ants during these dry periods.
Here's how and why ants might move indoors during a drought:
- Water attraction
Ants are drawn to moisture, especially when water is scarce in their usual foraging areas. Leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or even condensation on windows and other surfaces can provide a vital water source for thirsty ants.
- Food exploration
During a drought, the scarcity of food sources in their natural environment can prompt ants to venture into human dwellings in search of sustenance. Crumbs, spilled food, and improperly stored food can become tempting targets for hungry ants.
- Climate regulation
Some ants seek indoor environments because they offer more stable temperature and humidity levels compared to the harsh conditions outside during a drought. Buildings can provide protection from extreme heat and desiccation.
- Resource scouting
Ants are excellent explorers, and they constantly send out scouts to search for new food and water sources. If scouts discover accessible resources indoors, they will communicate the findings to the rest of the colony, leading to more ants making their way indoors.
- Nesting opportunities
Certain ant species may find suitable nesting sites indoors, especially if the building provides a stable and suitable microclimate for colony establishment.
When ants move indoors, they become a nuisance (or worse) for homeowners
Preventive measures such as sealing cracks and other openings, fixing leaks, and maintaining cleanliness can help reduce the likelihood of ants entering. If an ant infestation occurs, professional pest control services should be sought to manage the situation effectively and to prevent food contamination and property damage.
If you've discovered ants in your home, contact Greenway Pest Solutions
If you’ve already discovered ants in your home, contact Greenway Pest Solutions. Our year-round home pest control services are the ideal way to get rid of ants and our highly trained and fully licensed pest control specialists will work diligently to prevent them from returning!