Ant Identification

What are ants?

Ants are common pests that live on every continent except Antarctica. With over 12,000 species worldwide, ants come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and have varying feeding and nesting habits. These are social insects that live and work together in large groups. Ants all have three body segments, six legs, bent antennae, and the reproductive members have wings.

crawling ant in tukwila washington

Some of the most common species that live in our area of the country are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, fire ants, Argentine ants, moisture ants, and harvester ants.

Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are one of the largest household invading species living in the United States. These ants create their nesting sites inside wood.

Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants emit a foul, rotting-coconut odor when they are crushed.

Fire ants
Imported red fire ants received their name from the painful bites and stings they deliver. These tiny red ants are very aggressive and tend to attack in large groups.

Argentine ants
Argentine ants are well-known for moving together in large, wide trails. These ants have massive colonies and many nesting sites.

Moisture ants
Moisture ants are a yellowish color, and when crushed produce a lemon scent that is citronella-like. As their name suggests, they prefer to live in humid environments.

Harvester ants
Harvester ants have long hairs on the underside of their heads, making it appear like they have beards. These ants “harvest” seeds to feed their colony.

Are ants dangerous?

Ants, depending on their species, nesting habits, and whether they sting or bite, have the potential to be a danger to people or property. The carpenter ant, for example, is dangerous because of the damage they can cause inside of a home when nesting in its structural wood. Fire ants are another dangerous species. They are quick to anger and deliver painful stings. Their venom is strong enough to cause allergic reactions or anaphylaxis in some people. Fire ants also get into and damage electrical equipment. The good news is that most of the species of ants we come across do not pose significant dangers to us or our property. However, ants should not be allowed to take over our property and contaminate our food.

Why do I have an ant problem?

There are many reasons why ants find their way into our yards and homes, but the biggest reason is food. If ants have placed their nest anywhere near your house, there’s a good chance they’ll eventually find their way inside. While out searching for food sources to feed their colonies, they often find their way in through cracks and crevices in a home’s foundation or exterior walls. Once inside, they may decide to stay and create a satellite nest behind your walls to be near their new food source. Ants also move indoors to escape harsh weather conditions.

Where will I find ants?

Some species like fire ants rarely nest indoors, while other species like the carpenter ant and odorous house ant do. No matter the species, an ant colony usually builds its central nest outside in damp, loose soil along fence lines, in the cracks of pavement, in lawns, and garden areas under damp mulch. Ants that do move inside, create satellite nests in secluded, low traffic areas such as under floors, in crawlspaces, behind walls, and near heating systems.

How do I get rid of ants?

For homeowners looking for a responsible approach to eliminating ants on their property, we suggest partnering with Alta Pest Control. We focus on low-impact pest control that is effective at eradicating ants and other household pests while minimizing the impact on the environment. Let our family owned company protect your home and family from our area’s most persistent household invading pests! If you are looking for more information about our ant control services, reach out today and speak with one of our friendly and helpful professionals!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

With the help of the professional services found at Alta Pest Control and the following tips, you can prevent ants from becoming a problem on your Spokane, WA property.

  • Cut tree branches and overgrown shrubbery away from the exterior of your house.

  • Repair any openings in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

  • Place weatherstripping around windows and doors and install door sweeps on exterior doors.

  • Seal off spaces around wires and other utilities that enter your home.

  • Repair leaky pipes and fixtures.

  • Use dehumidifiers to dry out basements and keep moisture level low in your home.

  • Remove any water-damaged structural wood or insulation from your home.

  • Store any food in the refrigerator or containers with airtight lids.

  • Place tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins, and rinse out jars and cans before putting them in recycle bins.


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