The main problem for event gathering in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is the restricted communication range for each node. Due to the restricted communication range and high network density, event forwarding in WSNs is very challenging and requires multihop data forwarding. Currently, the energy-efficient ant based routing (EEABR) algorithm, based on the ant colony optimization (ACO) metaheuristic, is one of the state-of-the-art energy-aware routing protocols. In this paper, we propose three improvements to the EEABR algorithm to further improve its energy efficiency. The improvements to the original EEABR are based on the following: (1) a new scheme to intelligently initialize the routing tables giving priority to neighboring nodes that simultaneously could be the destination, (2) intelligent update of routing tables in case of a node or link failure, and (3) reducing the flooding ability of ants for congestion control. The energy efficiency improvements are significant particularly for dynamic routing environments. Experimental results using the RMASE simulation environment show that the proposed method increases the energy efficiency by up to 9% and 64% in converge-cast and target-tracking scenarios, respectively, over the original EEABR without incurring a significant increase in complexity. The method is also compared and found to also outperform other swarm-based routing protocols such as sensor-driven and cost-aware ant routing (SC) and Beesensor.