Small Ants

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Often referred to as “House Ants”, “Sugar Ants”, and other names, there are several types of small ants that invade homes in the Pacific Northwest. They include the Odorous House Ant, Argentine Ant, Crazy Ant, Acrobat Ant, Pavement Ant, Pharaoh Ant, Little Black Ant, and more.

Ants are successful because they are social insects that form colonies from the small and simple, to the immense and complex. They are prolific because they are very adaptable and exploit numerous different living environments and food sources.

Although small ants are not typically noted for damaging structures (like Carpenter Ants do), they can make a real mess of insulation and other building materials as they colonize and forage. Also, small ants can carry disease organisms, some can bite or sting, and, of course, they are a real nuisance when they stream into pantry food, pet dishes, across kitchen counters, in clothing, bedding, etc.

Possibly the most common small ant in Pacific Northwest homes is the Odorous House Ant, easily identified by the pungent ammonia/urine odor given off when the ant is crushed (hence often referred to as “stink ants” or “piss ants”). These ants prefer sweets but will also eat proteins, dead insects, grease and fats. The Odorous House Ant lives in colonies of 2,000-100,000 and house several queens. If you kill some, the queen spreads more colonies to other locations. They can move in colonies very quickly, are very adaptable, and can colonize about anywhere inside the structure. They also will colonize inside furniture, appliances, and household electrical components.