Ants bring alterations in their behavior with changing climatic conditions, like increasing temperatures, as they have to devise strategies to adapt themselves for survival.
Do Ants Die From Heat? Ants can die from heat as they have less tolerance to high temperatures and die of dehydration or burning. They cannot survive when the temperature reaches above 145 degrees Fahrenheit. They will stop foraging, reproducing, and begin to hide deep under the mound to avoid contact with the hot rays of the sun.
Hot weather poses a survival risk for the tiny crawling creatures and makes them uncomfortable, creating chaos among colonies.
Their primary instincts allow them to run rapidly to avoid dehydration or shift their nests close to a water source so that they can keep their bodies hydrated.
Why do ants die from heat?
Most insects depend on external temperature to regulate their body temperature as they are cold-blooded. They cannot maintain body temperature with changing weather.
Their body temperature begins to increase when the environmental temperature rises in summer. It leads to moisture evaporation from their exoskeleton, which can dry their bodies.
Accordingly, the dried bodies cannot perform well as their cells need water to work accurately. They cannot extract energy from food due to slower metabolism and ultimately die.
It does not mean they do not like warm weather, but it has to be mild so that these insects can tolerate and avoid dehydration.
Moreover, their temperature sensitivity is used by many pest exterminators to get rid of these insects as they pour hot boiling water on their nest for killing purposes.
Similarly, kids use a magnifying glass to concentrate the heat rays on these tiny insects that can burn their bodies.
In the same way, some people try to kill them inside the oven by preheating the microwave at a high temperature and putting a bag of ants inside to dehydrate them.
How hot can ants get before they die?
Commonly, insects have less tolerance to extreme temperatures as their bodies are at risk of freezing at freezing temperatures, while they can get burned at high temperatures.
Ideally, they need slightly warm conditions ranging from 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit when their foraging and reproduction activities are at peak.
However, it becomes difficult for these insects to survive when the external temperature rises from 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, they are at risk of burning when it exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
They can die at almost 150 degrees Fahrenheit as the sun’s hot rays can burn their tiny bodies and lead to death.
However, there is an exception for an ant species living in the Sahara desert known as the Silver Saharan ant due to its silvery appearance and habitat.
Its critical thermal temperature is more than that of other species that can survive at approximately 125 to 128 degrees Fahrenheit, as they have adapted to extreme conditions.
What happens when ants get exposed to heat?
Ants’ behavior changes with changing weather as they move to cold or moist areas to reduce their body temperature in hot weather.
Their hard exoskeleton and body hair arranged in a parallel manner can protect them from burning to a maximum extent and keep their body cool.
Most commonly, they prefer to reach inside the nests designed in a wedge or dome-shape as they remain cool from inside even if the sun rays are falling directly at the top.
Accordingly, they will try to escape from the heat by getting inside their nest and reaching the deeper compartments whenever they feel external conditions are uncomfortable for them.
Their internal activities are affected when the temperature reaches equal to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, but they will stop foraging at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, they begin to run towards moisture to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. You can find them living in shady areas under trees or inside building to avoid heat stress.
Their bodies get paralyzed when 70 to 80% of their body fluids are lost, ultimately leading to death.
Do ants die in the sun?
Most probably, you have seen a few ants on the driveways or sidewalks enjoying sunbath during early summer. It happens because the external temperature is not harsh for their tiny bodies.
They usually like to enjoy the warmth of sun rays after hibernation when the winter goes to an end. So these insects come in direct sun to normalize their body temperature and restore activities.
In addition, solar energy positively impacts their metabolism as their cellular activities get slower at cold temperatures.
However, their behavior does not remain the same during mid of summer when the temperature is extremely hot and poses heat stress on these crawling creatures.
Accordingly, they have a risk of death after exposure to sun rays as these blazing rays are challenging for their bodies to tolerate.
What type of ants can die from heat?
The nature of wild species is different from those ants commonly found inside houses. Similarly, habitat can make a few species resistant to high temperatures during evolutionary processes.
The common household pests usually have lesser resistance to high temperatures, like pharaohs or sugar ants, as they hide inside buildings during extreme fluctuations in weather.
They can easily reach cold places to hide themselves from hot weather during mid of the year. The wild species have improved resistance than others due to better adaptations.
Accordingly, they have to adapt themselves to the changing environment to ensure survival; otherwise, they will die when the weather gets hot.
One of the great examples of wild species is the Silver Saharan ant that lives in the desert and adapts itself to live or move on the sand even when it is hot.
Their critical thermal temperature is higher than that of other species because they have evolved to their habitat over time.
Furthermore, it will be difficult for these species to survive in cold weather as they are meant to live only in hot weather where the temperature never reaches a freezing point.