Moisture ants are usually found in the soil, where they make their colonies in rotting wood. 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. 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. The ants will move in and create nests packed with sawdust like material. They are easily distinguished from Carpenter ants by size and color and from termites by color (termites are usually creamy white colored).
Tips for Prevention
• Remove any water damaged wood from crawl space or house.
• Keep crawl space dry and well ventilated.
• Fix any leaky pipes
Although classified as wood-destroying organisms, moisture ants are much less economically important other wood destroying organisms like Carpenter ants and termites since they only damage wood that has already been damaged beyond repair by rot. 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 could be applied as a nuisance prevention.
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 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.