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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: Puget Sound Area Ants And What To Do About Them

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Puget Sound Area Ants And What To Do About Them

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Ants are by far the most common phone call that we get for pest control in Seattle.  Sometimes these ants are just a nuisance and other times they are just plain destructive.  Either way, I have found that rarely do people know what kind of ant they are dealing with when they call us.  It's no big deal.  I mean, we can kill them either way, but I just think you should know if an ant is wood destroying or not to help you make a more informed decision about the health of your home.

Basically, if you have ants, you have about a 50% chance of having a wood destroying ant since there are mainly just 4 types of ants in the Pacific Northwest.  If you are an insect enthusiast, you will call me on this since there are actually several more types of ants, but we rarely get calls outside of the main four.  So, here they are:

Carpenter Ants
We start with carpenter ants since they are the most common.  Many people have carpenter ants for years and do not realize it because they just think it is just a "black ant" and is harmless.  However, if you have an ant that is larger than 1/4 inch, you got yourself a carpenter ant most likely.  These ants are a wood destroying ant and can do considerable damage if left unchecked for long periods of time.  They do not digest the wood, but excavate it to create nests and galleries.  For more detailed information on identifying Carpenter ants, click on this link from New Leaf Pest Control in Portland, Oregon.

Moisture Ants
Also a wood destroying ant, a moisture ant is smaller and much harder to identify.  They operate much like a carpenter ant, but are less destructive because they only are attracted to wood that is moist or rotting.  They are small like a sugar ant and are reddish in color.  The back of their bodies are almost translucent and shaped like a top.  If you see these types of ants, you should probably be on the lookout for water damaged wood.  Click here for more help in identifying moisture ants.

Pavement Ants
A very common type of ant found in driveways.  They are as small as a sugar ant or moisture ant, but have a very large head and smaller body.  They can be found inside the home, but tend to stay low on the ground.  They are less of a nuisance because they don't spread like a sugar ant does.  These ants are really easy to get rid of.  I found some in my driveway while watering the grass last night and will easily get rid of them with just one simple pest control treatment.


Sugar Ants
These are the hardest ants to get rid of.  Just about everyone will deal with sugar ants at some point in their homes.  They are strictly a nuisance pest and do no damage, but are extremely hard to get rid of.  They are the tiny black ants that are all over your kitchen and are attracted to anything sweet.  There are a lot of ways that you can make these ants worse if you try and treat them on your own, so I recommend reading this article. 

What To Do About Them

I have noticed that a lot of pest control companies in the Seattle area will come out to do a pest control treatment and charge you for each type of ant that you might have.  They can do a carpenter ant treatment and a sugar ant treatment and a moisture ant treatment (well, you get the point).  But, in reality each of these pests are treated in the same way.  There are different points of emphasis depending on the ant, but the products that they would use are the same, so don't let them charge you extra just because you have a few different types of ants.  No matter what type of ant that you have, it is always best to act quickly so that they do not spread and get worse.  You can also have a Seattle pest control company do a preventative treatment at the beginning of spring to decrease your chances of getting ants at all.  If you need help with any of this, especially if you live in Kitsap County, be sure to give me a call and I would be happy to help you!

Photo credit: Marshed / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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