The Moisture Ant
Moisture ants are common in homes and emit a unique scent when crushed. Know the signs of a moisture ant infestation before it gets too large. They are also known as cornfield ants.
HOW TO IDENTIFY MOISTURE ANTS
Moisture ants are a unique yellow color and grow to about four millimeters in length. They have notches on their backs, broad upper lips, and dense hairs along their abdomens. These ants are commonly found around sources of moisture or in damp environments. The most telling sign of a moisture ant is the unique smell it gives off when crushed. Moisture ants are said to give off a lemon scent somewhat similar to citronella.
Appearance and Behavior
Moisture ants build large nests and are typically only spotted at night when they venture out for food. They will nest both indoors and outdoors, with colonies containing a single reproductive queen ant. Outdoors, moisture ants tend to nest in fallen logs or lumber, as well as in gutters, windowsills, and drains. You might notice signs of infestation such as sawdust or tunnels through wood.
These ants are found all throughout the northern and western United States. Because it prefers to nest in moist places, it has a broad range of habitat inclusion. The moisture ant eats the honeydew of aphids as well as that of white-flies, plant-hoppers, and mealybugs. These pests will also come indoors searching for a quick, easy meal, as they are attracted to anything sweet – including crumbs left behind in your kitchen.
HOW DO YOU GET MOISTURE ANTS
It is important to know how you attract moisture ants to your home, as moisture ant nests are often found in conjunction with carpenter ants or other wood-loving pests as well. Moisture ants are attracted to sections of wood that is decaying or has been seriously damaged by moisture. Therefore, wood in bathroom areas that has been damaged by plumbing leaks is a popular place for a moisture ant nest. Moisture ants typically enter your home through open doors or windows, as well as through attics and crawl spaces.
HOW TO GET RID OF MOISTURE ANTS
The easiest way to get rid of moisture ants is to replace any wet or damaged wood. You should also replace any leaking pipes and fix any items damaged by moisture around those sources. However, a larger infestation may require the use of a professional pest control specialist. This individual will start by identifying your original source of infestation.
In the case of moisture ants, this is generally a cut-and-dry process, as they will look for areas of decaying wood or leaky plumbing. Then, the expert will bait and trap the ants to control them immediately. Baits often consist of sweet poison, allowing a pest professional to identify the source of the infestation in case it is not necessarily clear. Sometimes, a professional will use a dust pesticide, although baits tend to be more effective as they kill an entire colony without causing a swarm.
Moisture Ant Facts
Moisture ants naturally speed up the decaying process in wood, which is not necessarily a bad thing but certainly not a process you want occurring in important structures in your home. These ants are often mistaken for carpenter ants or termites because of where they nest, but keep in mind that the moisture ant is not nearly as destructive.
These ants do bite, although their saliva is not toxic and you will rarely experience a reaction. If you do, simply apply ice and an antibiotic ointment.
Moisture ants can help a homeowner signal where there might be a structural problem related to damp, decaying wood. Therefore, they can be a good indicator of problems that might need to be addressed.