Ants are the most common pest that we treat in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area. To many people, it is hard to distinguish the difference between common ants in the northwest, but it is important to know what you have. You may have a common nuisance ant infestation in your home which is harmless (yet annoying) or you might have something worse, like a wood destroying ant. Here are the most common types of ants that we see in our area:
Carpenter ants are the most common wood destroying pest that we have in the area. They are typically larger than other ants that you might observe, but they can vary in size depending on how old the colony is. They are black and can have wings when they are in the reproductive stage. Although they are a wood destroying insect, they do not actually eat the wood (like a termite for example). Instead, they excavate the wood to form galleries for their nest and typically leave behind a fine sawdust called “frass”.
Their food source is found outside of the home as they feed on other insects and some plants. For this reason, they are easier to get rid of then other insects that do not move around as much. For more information, please read our CARPENTER ANT PAGE…
Just about every home will be invaded by these ants at some point. They are seemingly everywhere in the Portland Metro area and can quickly get out of hand in a kitchen or bathroom. Sugar ants are a type of soil ant that make their way up from the ground and typically nest in a wall in your home. Once established, they can be extremely difficult to get rid. As their name implies, they are attracted to sugary substance, but are not that picky. If you have any left over food, they will swarm over the scraps. Treating for sugar ants is made harder because of the many ways home owners can make the problem worse. Store bought products like Raid, Black Flag and other ant sprays seem to make the problem worse by setting off a process called “budding” within the colony. Basically, because of the repellent quality in these products, it creates panic within the nest and can actually spread the infestation to other areas of the home. For more information, please read our SUGAR ANT PAGE…
Pavement ants are so similar looking to sugar ants that you might not be able to tell the difference. Although they look strikingly alike, they are far easier to get rid of. One easy way to tell if you have a pavement ant is to squish it and see if it emits an odor. A sugar ant gives off a smell almost like gasoline when crushed, where a pavement ant has no such smell. You can also identify them by their large head and smaller body (sugar ants are more proportional).
Pavement ants typically come from under slab foundation and make their nests under concrete (hence the name). They differ from sugar ants in the fact that they are quite easy to get rid of and do not have all the negative effects that can sometimes come with using over the counter products.
Moisture ants are another wood destroying ant that is common in the Portland area. They are similar to carpenter ants in most ways, but look a bit different. In fact, they are more often mistaken for a sugar ant because of their smaller size (although they can vary in size like a carpenter ant). Their bodies are a dark red and their thorax section is shiny and almost translucent looking.
As their name entails, these ants infest areas where moisture is present. Typically, if you have rotting wood, you could be drawing these ants into your home to infest the soft wood. The best remedy for moisture ants is to remove the conducive condition or rotting wood. Treatment can then be applied to fully eradicate the nest.
Regardless of what ant infestation you might have, we recommend that you give us a call. We would be happy to give you some advice or schedule a free inspection. Please let us know how we can help!
Check out our ant control FAQ page here!
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