Why do I Have Ants?

Large ant infestation - United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA explains why homeowners have ants in their home.

Ant infestation in home - United Pest Solutions in Seattle WA explains why homeowners have ants in their home. Although ants prefer to live in their native outdoor environment, they may find their way into your home in search of food, water, and shelter. While you may need to contact a professional to effectively remove your ant problem, you can help prevent them from returning with these helpful tips from United Pest Solutions.

What Attracts Ants?

Most ants prefer moist areas, sugars, and protein but it all comes down to the ant species. Carpenter ants in particular are also attracted to moist and rotting wood.

How to Prevent Ants

The key to preventing ants is to eliminate harborage sites around your home. Follow these steps to help deter an ant infestation.

  • Block of access points: apply a silicone-based caulk to any holes or gaps around your home. Pay particular attention to cracks in your foundation and areas where utility pipes enter. Replace damaged weather stripping.
  • Trim back shrubs: shrubs that are close to the home can often act as little highways for ants. Ensure they’re well trimmed away from your home.
  • Eliminate moisture: consider using a dehumidifier in damp attics, crawlspaces, and basements to help reduce moisture.
  • Repair water leaks: take the time to inspect your plumbing and repair any leaks that may be attracting ants. Also, ensure your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly so that water flows out and away from your home’s foundation.
  • Maintain cleanliness: wipe down your countertops, sweep, and vacuum to remove crumbs and food residue. Don’t forget about your pantry shelves. Also, make sure to toss out your garbage regularly.
  • Store food properly: store your food in airtight containers, including pet food.

Experts in Ant Removal

Eliminating ants can be challenging. Once they’ve gained entry into your home, they may build satellite nests in hard-to-reach locations, and before you know it, you have a full-blown infestation.

Some ant species can pose health risks while others, like carpenter ants, can cause serious property damage with their excavating habits. So if you’re dealing with ants, contact your local pest control company like United Pest Solutions. We’ve been serving the Seattle metropolitan and Puget Sound area since 1960. We’ll inspect your property, identify the ant species, and recommend the best course of treatment. Give us a call today for fast and personalized service!

Common Ants in the Pacific Northwest

A close up of an ant on a leaf. United Pest Solutions, serving Kirkland WA and Seattle WA talks about common ants in the Pacific Northwest.

Ants on a kitchen counter. United Pest Solutions, serving Kirkland WA and Seattle WA talks about the common ants in the Pacific Northwest. From spiders to rodents, the Pacific Northwest is home to many pests, but the most common household pest is the ant. Not all ants are the same and if you have an ant infestation, you’ll want to know which type you’re dealing with so you can take appropriate action.

Fortunately, United Pest Solutions is here for you. In this article, we’ll list the common types you may encounter and how you can prevent them.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are generally easier to identify than other ants because of their large size and dark color. They’re also the most damaging of all the different ant species because they build nests by tunneling through wood–a behavior that homeowners often mistake for termite damage.

To help prevent carpenter ants, you’ll want to remove any dead stumps from your property and repair water leaks.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are generally dark brown to black and measure around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. They typically nest in walls and under floors of buildings. These ants get their name for the foul odor they emit when crushed, which smells similar to rotting coconut. In addition to producing unpleasant odors in your home, odorous house ants can also contaminate your food.

The best way to treat odorous house ants is to have pest control technicians seal wall openings and apply treatments. You’ll also want to store food properly and clean up spills to help keep odorous house ants away.

Pavement Ants

Like odorous house ants, pavement ants are also dark brown to black in color. They’re about ⅛ of an inch in length and are usually found near paved areas of the home, hence their name. Pavement ants often get inside of homes through cracks in the foundation. Once inside, they’ll feast on greasy foods, sweets, and even pet food. Pavement ants also have the ability to contaminate your food supply.

To keep pavement ants away, seal cracks around your home and clean up spills.

Moisture Ants

Moisture ants are yellow, brown, or black in color and measure around ⅛ of an inch. As their name suggests, these ants prefer moist environments. You’ll typically find them in damp soil, underneath rocks, and near dead wood.

Repair water leaks and ensure your rain gutters work well to help keep moisture ants away.

Professional Ant Control

Ants are social insects, which means they live in large and structured colonies—so if you see one ant, there are likely many more nearby. If you suspect an ant infestation or want help deterring ants, United Pest Solutions can help.

When you contact us, we’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your property to locate entry points, identify the ant species, and determine how severe your infestation is. Then, we’ll discuss our findings with you and recommend an action plan.

If you’re interested in our ant control services, contact us to schedule an appointment!

How Termites and Carpenter Ants Differ

Termite and carpenter ant up close. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about how termites and carpenter ants differ.

The horrors of termites that are eating the wood of the house. They destroy houses, wooden parts and wood products. United Pest Solutions serving Kirkland WA and Seattle WA talks about how termites and carpenter ants differ.Spring is right around the corner and as the temperatures rise and the ground becomes warmer, you may start to see flying insects around your home. This time of year is when termites and carpenter ants emerge, reproduce, and start new colonies.

Both of these pests share a common love for wood, but they’re vastly different. While you should contact a pest control company regardless of which pest you have, this article will explore how these wood-destroying pests differ.

Physical Differences

Termite swarmers are about 1” long and are dark brown to black in color. Their front wings are the same size as their hind wings. Termite workers, on the other hand, are smaller than swarmers and have light-colored bodies that are almost translucent. These pests have straight antennae and mostly uniform bodies.

Carpenter ant swarmers are reddish-brown or black in color and are about ¾” in size, larger than the average carpenter ant. They have two sets of wings: a larger set in the front and a smaller set in the back. Worker carpenter ants have the same body color and narrow waists.

Behavioral Differences

Termites feed on wood for its cellulose content, whereas carpenter ants excavate wood to create safe nesting places. Another difference between the two insects is the type of wood they prefer. Carpenter ants typically seek wood that is damp or rotting, whereas termites prefer all wood. They’ll even eat drywall and other material with cellulose.

At first glance, wood damage from both of these pests may seem similar. But with further inspection, you’ll notice that the damage is either smooth or ragged in appearance. Termites create ragged-looking tunnels due to transported mud, while carpenter ants leave behind smooth tunnels with wood shavings nearby.

Suspect a Carpenter Ant or Termite Infestation?

If you believe you have ants or termites in your home, contact the professionals at United Pest Solutions. These insects can cause severe damage to your home, impacting its structural integrity.

We will inspect your home, identify the pest, and get rid of those unwelcome visitors for good. We’ve been helping homeowners and businesses in the Seattle WA area since 1960. Contact us today for an inspection!

Watch Out for Carpenter Ants in Spring

Up close image of carpenter ant on bark. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about why to watch out for carpenter ants this spring.

Up close image of carpenter ant on bark. United Pest Solutions serving Seattle WA and Kirkland WA talks about why to watch out for carpenter ants this spring.Most ants are simply a nuisance, but others in the case of carpenter ants can cause structural damage to your home if given the opportunity. Because these tiny pests are a common problem in spring, we at United Pest Solutions would like to talk about what makes them different from other ant species and more importantly, what you can do to help keep them away from your home.

What are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are larger than most ants in the Pacific Northwest, ranging in size from ½” to ⅝” long. While many carpenter ants are black in color, these pests can also be red, brown, or a combination of the two.

Do Carpenter Ants Cause Damage?

Yes, carpenter ants do cause damage, in fact, they’re one of the most structurally damaging pests in the Pacific Northwest. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they excavate it, to help build their nests. They’re typically found outdoors in lumber and trees, but they will also build nests on roofs and anywhere in your home that has damp wood.

How to Prevent Carpenter Ants

As with all pest control, prevention is key. Below are some steps you can take to help prevent carpenter ants.

  • Repair water leaks: these pests are mostly motivated by moisture
  • Remove any damp or rotting wood: carpenter ants tend to seek out wet or decaying wood
  • Seal areas where utilities enter your home: ants can fit into the smallest of spaces
  • Trim tree branches away from your home: branches and limbs could serve as bridges for these pests to gain access into your home

Signs You Have Carpenter Ants

Because carpenter ants create tunnels in wood, they leave behind a sawdust material called, “frass.” If you see frass around your home this could be an indication that you have carpenter ants. Below are some other common signs you may have carpenter ants.

  • “Kick-out holes”: these are the openings created by carpenter ants after they push out the frass
  • Flying carpenter ants: these are identified as swarmers, their purpose is to mate
  • Discarded wings: this is often a sign of a mature infestation

How Do I Eliminate Carpenter Ants?

If you are noticing signs of carpenter ants, you’ll want to contact a professional sooner rather than later. Sometimes the carpenter ant nest you have in your home is actually not their primary nest, but another nest several yards away. A licensed pest control technician will be able to inspect your home, determine the scope of your problem, and effectively treat it.