Vancouver and Lower Mainland Ant Control

Ants produce some of the most potent antibiotics and antimicrobial organisms known to man. Current research is going on isolating and reproducing them. The bodies of most ants are virtually germ free. They have impeccable grooming habits, and take great pride in keeping themselves clean! Their saliva  has antibacterial properties This allows them to live in highly concentrated colonies without spreading disease to each other. With over 14,000 formal scientific names given to ants, there are still many more to be documented. New species, especially in tropical rain forests around the world, are discovered every year.

Carpenter Ants

Nest being treated within wall void:

Carpenter Ant Nest Wall Void


carpenter_ant_drone_wikiCarpenter ants get their name because they build their nests in wood. This pest can cause significant damage to your house. The most common carpenter ants in BC are:

Modoc : all black. Legs may have a rusty red color. One queen in parent nest.

Vicinus : black head, rusty red thorax and black abdomen tail section. Multiple queens in parent nest.

Each colony is established by a single, fertilized queen. She starts her nest in a cavity in wood, where she raises her first brood of workers. She feeds them saliva and does not leave the nest or feed herself during this time. When they are ready, those workers then get the job of gathering food to feed the next generation. Once mature, this first generation of worker ants work to increase the food supply for the colony. The colony population grows very rapidly. A colony can eventually produce 2,000 or more workers.

Size: 5/8″

Color: Range in color from red to black

Wings: Varies

Diet: Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities, but deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles. This material resembles sawdust and is called frass. The diet of carpenter ants includes living and dead insects, meat, fats and sugary foods of all kinds, including honeydew and nectar from plants.

Habitat: Carpenter ants build nests anywhere they can find water and moldy or damp wood, such as tree stumps, firewood or in the plants around your house. Carpenter ants also build nests inside, usually entering buildings through wet, damaged wood, although it isn’t uncommon for them to adapt to drier environments.

Impact: Carpenter ants don’t carry disease, but when building a nest inside a home, Carpenter ants dig smooth tunnels inside the wood. These tunnels weaken the wood and potentially damage the wood that keeps the house standing. This kind of damage can be very expensive to fix.

Prevention: Eliminate and correct any moisture issues within your structure. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home.

Frass being expelled from wood beam:

Pharaoh Ants

p-antAs noted above, we discussed the cleanliness of ants in general. Pharaoh ants are the exception to this rule. With a capability to transmit over a dozen pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus spp., and Streptococcus spp. to humans. More of a concern is if this ant  comes from hospitals and suddenly enters your home. It has been observed seeking moisture from the mouths of sleeping infants and from in-use IV bottles.They Pharaoh ants are notorious indoor pests, often unnoticed due to their small size and color. Though they are a tropical species, pharaoh ants are quite comfortable inside temperature controlled buildings in Canada. They are one of the most difficult indoor pests to control. Elimination and control are challenging due to consolidation. Smaller colonies can be formed during extermination programs only to repopulate later.

Size: 1.5 to 2 millimeters

Color: Yellow to light brown in color, darker abdomen, appears translucent

Wings: Varies

Diet: The workers will at first show a strong preference for a particular food type. However, if this food is offered alone, with no other options, for several weeks, workers will afterward show a distinct preference for a different type of food. In this way, the ants become satiated on a certain food group and will change their decision. The second behavior is called alternation. If given the continuous choice between food groups, Pharaoh ants will tend to alternate between carbohydrate-rich foods and protein-rich foods.

Habitat: Tropical Climates

Impact: Can transmit over a dozen pathogens such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus to humans. 

Prevention: Pharaoh ants are a tropical species and no not live outside in our climate. These are usually introduced into a building; A potted plant may harbour ants within the soil.

Odorous House Ants


ohaThis ant gets its name from the strong, chemical odor that it gives off when crushed and the fact that they commonly nest in or around houses. These ants are very social, living in colonies of up to 100,000 members.

Size: 1/16″ to 1/8″

Shape: Segmented, oval

Color: Brown or black

Wings: Varies

Diet: Odorous house ants like to eat dead insects and sugary sweets, especially melon.

Habitat: Typically living for several years, these ants commonly make their homes in exposed soil, under stones, logs, mulch, debris and other items. They will also nest in wall and floor cracks.

Impact: Odorous house ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food by leaving waste behind.

Prevention:  Maintain good sanitation practices.

Pavement Ants


ant-pavement-infestation-001Although these ants can live inside, they get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ant colonies average 3,000 to 4,000 members and have several queens.

Size: 1/8″

Color: Dark brown to black

Wings: Varies

Diet: These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, grease, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese.

Habitat: This ant gets its name because it most commonly nests in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Indoors, pavement ants nest under a building’s foundation and within hollow foundation walls.

Prevention: Maintain good sanitation practices.

Fire Ants


These ants have been found in isolated locations in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Chilliwack, Victoria and Courtenay. The species is native to Europe and Asia and was first introduced to eastern North America in the 1900s. Over the past ten years it has become a significant pest in a number of states in the US and Canadian provinces.

Size: 4-5 mm

Color: reddish-brown

Shape: 2 nodes, rearward-pointing spines

Wings: Varies

Diet: European fire ants are omnivorous and eat both plant and decaying animal matter.

Habitat: Fire ants like moist environments and often establish nests inside decaying logs, in soil, under rocks or debris, and even in potted plants. They don’t nest in obvious large mounds. European fire ants establish their nests in the root zone of vegetation.

Impact: The European fire ant is an aggressive, swarming ant that can deliver a painful sting when disturbed. In uncommon cases this has led to allergic reactions that have required medical treatment.

If ants have invaded your home, Call Atlas today.

CALL US NOW 604-503-5444

OHA Ant photo Author:  unknown © / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Pharaoh Ant photo Author: April Nobile / © / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Carpenter Ant Photo Author: Bruce Marlin (CC BY-SA 2.5)

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