An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide –

Carpenter Ants Huddling

11-14-13 carpenter ants 028Insects that live in northern New England have different strategies for surviving the winter. Carpenter ants live in the center of both dead and living trees, in galleries that they have chewed throughout their nest. Although wood is a good insulator, it still freezes during the winter. The ants tend to cluster together and enter a state of slowed metabolism called diapause. In addition, carpenter ants also produce glycerol, a compound which acts as antifreeze preventing destructive ice crystals from forming in their bodies.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

4 responses

  1. Sally Gage

    I live near Lake Fairlee. I saw two robins yesterday and wondered about their late stay. Are some overwintering now or just leaving later? Sally

    November 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    • Both, Sally. Some migrate as late as late November, but a few also remain here year round!

      November 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    Mary, I was walking in the woods early this morning in MA and saw 3 winter wrens. Do any of them stay all winter, or are they late migrants? (I guess this is the day for questions unrelated to the post!)

    November 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    • Hi Kathie,
      According to the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas, Winter Wrens start migrating in Massachusetts in September, but most move south in October through the second week in November. During their migration they are regularly spotted in places not normally seen (open area, gardens, etc.).While most Winter Wrens move to southern states for the winter, there are records of Winter Wrens overwintering in MA (and north as far as southern Canada) . Overwintering wrens in MA are believed to be from the coast. Hope this helps! Unfortunately, no sure way to determine whether the birds you saw are migrants or here to stay!

      November 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s