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The Moisture Ant: FAQ

A moisture ant crawling on a leaf

While not as common as or damage-inducing as, say, carpenter ants, moisture ants are equally as impactful to a home—especially in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about these ants with our FAQ below. 

Where are moisture ants commonly found?

Moisture ants are usually found in the soil, where they make their colonies in rotting wood. Moisture ants are rarely seen foraging on the surface, usually confining their activity to dark, hidden places. They are commonly found during remodeling where water has soaked the underlying wood. 

How to identify moisture ants

The workers are all the same size (about 1/8“). In the most common species, the workers are a gold/yellow color while in other species, they may be reddish or brownish. 

What damage can moisture ants cause?

Although classified as wood-destroying organisms, moisture ants are much less economically damaging than other wood destroying organisms like carpenter ants and termites since they only damage wood that has already been damaged beyond repair by rot. The ants will move in and create nests packed with sawdust-like material. 

How to tell moisture ants apart from carpenter ants

Moisture ants are easily distinguished from carpenter ants by size and color and from termites by color (termites are usually creamy white colored).

When are moisture ant infestations common?

Moisture ants may also become a nuisance pest when their mating flights occur. During a mating flight, hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of winged males and females emerge from the colonies and fly away. If a group loses its way from the nest to the outside and emerges inside a building, it can be more than a little alarming. This behavior is corrected by the application of a standard insecticide wherever they are emerging, and/or by chemically blocking the ways they get to those areas.

How to get rid of moisture ant infestations

When moisture ants are found in structural wood, the most practical solution is to fix the underlying problem that allows water into the area and then replace all of the rotted wood. This eliminates the habitat for the ants. If enough ants are in the rotted area, insecticide treatment from professional ant exterminators could be applied as nuisance prevention.

Tips for Prevention of Moisture Ants

  • Remove any water-damaged wood from crawl space or house.
  • Keep crawl space dry and well-ventilated.
  • Fix any leaky pipes.