Is it true that ants can enter into wall clocks, table clocks, alarm clocks, and other devices?

Some species of ants can enter into electronic devices and provoke serious damage to these devices. The ant species that provokes most damage is the Monomorium. (It probably depends on the region, but the Ochetellus species is also know to provoke the same damage.)

Monomorium ants have yellowish brown heads and thoraxes, and dark brown abdomens. There are very small with a body of approximately 1.5 to 2.0 mm. They enter in houses looking for food and cause damage. These ants usually move in groups. After they find food or a place suitable to build a nest, they leave scent trails (a kind of odor) and return to the nest. All the other ants that reach the trail can then form a line and gather to the place containing food or move the nest to that suitable location. They easily move their nest to any closed area such as inside phone receivers or computer drives. It appears that this genus tends to like electronic devices for their nests.

Monomorium ants have a head with a width of approximately 0.15 to 0.35 mm, which means that they can enter any electronic device that has a hole of this size. Although they tend to prefer mobile phone receivers, it appears that they also provoke damage to computer hard disk boards, electromagnetic valves in control systems of car power windows, or viewfinders of cameras.

These ants threaten also wall clocks, table clocks, and alarm clocks. There are many examples of ants entering clocks and causing damage inside.

If ants build a nest inside precision machinery equipped with electronic devices, they may cause damage to these devices or cause parts to malfunction in several ways, such as damaging the circuits with their food particles or secretions, degrading the conductivity by being stuck between parts, or blocking the movable elements by blocking gears.

Clocks damaged by ants can be repaired or exchanged for new products, but in number of cases they get damaged again only after a short period. If there are scent trails in the place where the clock is installed, or if it is in a path for ants, they will quickly enter inside the clock again.

There are several methods that can be efficient to prevent ants from entering the clocks. You may for example change the installation location, clean the location to remove all scent trails, or install the clock in a place not accessible to ants.

However, if ants remain in the room, it means that the problem is not completely resolved and that they may enter the clock again at any time. It is therefore important to exterminate all specimens from the entire building.

Note: This text is based on information from the Japanese Ant Image Database. Parts of the text have been quoted from the sections below of their website.
Japanese Ant Image Database (


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