Pest Library Ants


Protect Your Home and Business From Ants

Ants Found In Washington State

Why Are Ants So Problematic?

Certain types of ants, such as odorous house ants, have several queen colonies. This allows them to reproduce at an exponential rate. Large amounts of ants then can enter household and commercial spaces through cracks in various entrance points. When you have an ant infestation on your hands, the sheer number of them can become unmanageable in no time.

In these situations, Mathis Exterminating comes well-prepared with a specially devised service to manage and control these ants. Our program utilizes products and methods that divert ant activity away from the home.

Flying Ants vs. Termites

Flying AntWing Size

Ants have wings that are not equal in length and generally end at the abdominal tip. Termite wings are all the same size and will extend past the termite’s abdomen.

Antennae Shape

Ant antennae will have an elbowed appearance, while termite antennae are straight and beadlike.

Waist Size

Ants appear to have separate sections of body, while termites have a streamlined appearance with no constriction on the body.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter AntWhat Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

Two species of carpenter ants are found within Puget Sound: C. modoc and C. vicinus. While these two species act the same, they look completely different. C. modoc has a body that’s completely black with minute yellow hairs on its abdomen (the last body segment). C. vicinus has a reddish-brown thorax (the center body segment) and a black abdomen; this species may have black or reddish-brown legs.

Both C. vicinus and C. modoc can be between 3/16 and 1/2 of an inch in length, and their relatively large size makes them easy to spot.

Where Can I Find Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are most often found in damp, woody areas; tree stumps and roots are prime nesting locations, as are piles of decaying wood boards. The damp conditions inside building walls attract carpenter ants, so they’re likely to infest the attics and basements of houses. Any damaged wood gives carpenter ants an opportunity to create a new nest.

How Do Carpenter Ants Behave?

Carpenter ants are aptly named, as their colonies are known for hollowing out tree stumps and wooden beams. The moist conditions sought by these ants cause fungi to grow in the wood, which makes it easy for them to chew on.

Both species of carpenter ants are most active during spring and summer, with activity spiking between dusk and midnight. Sweet foods such as sugar and honey are most preferred by carpenter ants, so they’re likely to be spotted in kitchens and pantries. They’re dedicated foragers and will pinch if they’re interrupted.

Moisture Ants

What Do Moisture Ants Look Like?

Moisture ants are typically 1/8 of an inch long and yellow or light brown. Some moisture ants have wings, which are black. Sugar ants and carpenter ants can be misidentified as moisture ants, but these species have translucent wings.

Where Can I Find Moisture Ants?

Moisture ants nest both indoors and outdoors, wherever they can find moisture. Generally, this includes logs and rotting stumps, but if you have a leak indoors due to plumbing, HVAC, or drainage in your basement or foundation, moisture ants can inhabit your walls in those areas. A clear indicator of a moisture ant infestation is a dirt clod, called a carton nest, that’s often wrapped around pipes or connected to the walls.

How Do Moisture Ants Behave?

Moisture ants prefer sweet food, primarily feasting on aphids’ honeydew and farming the honeydew as a food source. They will feed on other insects and can excrete a frothy-like substance that’s a sure sign to pest professionals that your home or business has been infested with this species. You might also spot trails of sawdust and other debris.

Odorous Ants

What Do Odorous Ants Look Like?

Odorous ants are dark brown or black, varying in sizes between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch in length. When an odorous ant worker is stepped on, it gives off a pungent, unpleasant smell similar to rotten coconuts, which is why these ants are sometimes called sugar ants or coconut ants.

Where Can I Find Odorous Ants?

Odorous ant colonies are frequently found in or around homes and other buildings. They’re attracted to grease, pet food, spills, and exposed food. Thus, indoor foraging can be easily discouraged by keeping kitchen surfaces and appliances clear of food debris. In the wild, odorous ants will nest near cool, debris-rich spaces such as logs and stones.

How Do Odorous Ants Behave?

This social, highly prolific species of ant will live in colonies that contain up to 100,000 individuals. Like most other ants, odorous ants scavenge for food throughout their territory; they prefer sweet foods and dead insects. The odorous ant is a long-lived species that scientists believe is native to the U.S.

Pavement Ants

Pavement AntsWhat Do Pavement Ants Look Like?

Pavement ants are between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch in length, although queens and drones of this species can be twice the average size. These small ants have light-colored antennae and legs and bodies that are light brown to black. The worker pavement ants have a small stinger.

Where Can I Find Pavement Ants?

This ant species is likely to be found anywhere concrete has been laid. For this reason, structures built directly on top of concrete are likely to house a few pavement ants. They will also build nests in the cracks of driveways and sidewalks or under concrete slabs.

How Do Pavement Ants Behave?

Pavement ants are known for their large foraging groups; colonies can contain up to 30,000 members at one time. They feed on sweet foods such as the honeydew collected from aphids, though they’re also known to seek out fatty foods. Its name might suggest otherwise, but the place you’re most likely to spot a pavement ant is in a pet’s food dish.

Thatching Ants

What Do Thatching Ants Look Like?

Thatching ants come in two varieties: all black or black and red. These ants top out around 8 millimeters long with powerful jaws and the capability to spray formic acid when threatened. The reproductive ants, both male and female, in the colony have wings and fly away from the mound in late summer to begin new colonies.

Where Can I Find Thatching Ants?

The biggest indicator that you have a thatching ant infestation is the large mound these ants are capable of creating, up to a foot and a half high (although taller mounds have been found). These mounds, which are typically built in full exposure to sunlight, are covered in materials—or “thatch”—that the ants found surrounding the nest. Their tunnels can go as far as 4 feet underground.

How Do Thatching Ants Behave?

This species of ants primarily consumes other insects and honeydew from aphids, although they will occasionally eat plants. Part of the colony is responsible for foraging for food and repairing the mound with thatch, while the other part farms honeydew from aphids. They can be aggressive to defend their colony, generally fending off other insects, birds, and toads.

Velvety Tree Ants

What Do Velvety Tree Ants Look Like?

Velvety tree ants are often mistaken for carpenter ants due to their similar size and thorax. However, velvety tree ants can be distinguished from carpenter ants primarily due to the short hairs covering their abdomens, giving them a fuzzy appearance. Averaging 3 to 5 millimeters long, their coloring typically goes from a brown head and yellow-red thorax to a black abdomen.

Where Can I Find Velvety Tree Ants?

You’ll usually find velvety tree ants outside in trees and logs, but don’t be surprised to find them inside your home or business’s walls with high levels of moisture or even in your insulation. If they are in your walls, you can count on a foul odor emanating from where they’re nesting. They tend to nest under bark and in tree stumps where they have protection and easy access to foraging.

How Do Velvety Tree Ants Behave?

Velvety tree ants are omnivores and feed on other insects and animals, as well as honeydew and other sweet food sources. While they don’t sting, they are aggressive and capable of biting, often spraying formic acid while inflicting bites to protect their nests.

Choose Mathis Exterminating to Help You Deal with Ants

If you’re dealing with an ant infestation, call the professionals at Mathis Exterminating. We can help identify what species has invaded your home or yard and give you a free pest removal estimate.

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