Moisture Ant


Actual Size: ⅛”

Characteristics: Yellow to dark brown.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Only the swarmers or reproductives have wings.

Habitat: Drawn to damp and decaying wood sources, indoors or outdoors.


  • Generally constructs nests in decaying or rotting wood.
  • Releases a noticeable citrus odor if crushed.
  • Requires plenty of moisture to survive, which is where they get their common name.

Moisture Ants in the Pacific Northwest

As their name implies, moisture ants need ample amounts of water to survive and are therefore drawn to damp areas. These ants typically build nests in decayed logs and stumps, and they feed on very sweet materials. Moisture ants also have a habit of tending aphids, which are small insects that release a sugary substance called honeydew. Though moisture ants are not primarily structural pests, they can quicken the deterioration of wood by building in decaying lumber. These ants can also cause problems for homeowners if they move indoors to look for food.

Moisture Ant Habitat

Outdoors, moisture ants tend to build nests in wet areas such as soil or rotting wood. These nests can be elaborate, with dozens of mud tubes that resemble a sea sponge when viewed from a distance. Occasionally, these nests are mistaken for subterranean termite tubes, though termite tubes are typically more linear in shape. If moisture ants make it indoors, they typically build nests behind walls near areas with plenty of food sources. These nests are often not found until a homeowner renovates.

Moisture Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Moisture ants are not aggressive and typically only bite if they feel threatened. Their bites are usually painless and not a cause for concern. These ants are mainly a nuisance if they find their way into kitchens to feed on sweet substances. Even indoors, moisture ants are drawn to damp areas, so roof or plumbing leaks can create the perfect habitat for these pests. Throughout the spring, these ants may begin to swarm, which is a telltale sign that you may be facing an infestation. Without quick attention, the colony can grow and spread rapidly. If you encounter moisture ants in your home, a professional ant exterminator can help you remove these pests before they get out of hand.