What Are the 3 Most Common Types of Ants in Portland, OR?

ants on pavement

It’s not just us residents of Oregon who enjoy a temperate climate year round – hosts of insects, including ants, thrive in these conditions. The naturally moist environment of the Portland area is especially kind to pests like ants that can thrive both in our local forests but also, unfortunately, in our homes. Ants are hard for any household to escape – it’s likely that all of us have seen a cluster of these insects around our kitchen counters, enjoying sweets left out for too long. Luckily, there is a way to clear your home of ants. But it does help knowing which species are most likely going to appear in your home. So, which ants are most common to the Portland, OR, area? Let’s go over some of the top suspects you’ve probably seen in or around your Portland home. 

Odorous House Ants

Native to just about all of North America, the odorous house ant is probably the most common ant, and certainly one of the most common pests of the U.S. These guys are named for a smell they emit when crushed – usually described as rotten coconut. They’re attracted to sweet items and moisture, meaning your kitchen is a prime location for them to feast in. 

Odorous house ants find their way into Portland homes through cracks along houses and build several nests, each controlled by its own queen. This can make finding the source of the infestation a little difficult, so when facing an odorous house ant infestation, you’ll want to be thorough when sealing your home’s cracks. 

Tip for controlling odorous ant infestations: try not to keep standing water out, and clean up any sweet food or liquid from your counters. 

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are easily identifiable by their enormous swarms around sidewalks and other paved surfaces. These tiny ants are common across the country and nest under paved surfaces, leaving behind little mounds of dirt. Though we typically see them outside in these massive clusters, they can nest near home foundations and find their way inside structures. Like odorous ants, they’re also attracted to sweet food and liquids.  

These ants also find their way into Portland homes through cracks in baseboards. They aren’t actively destructive like the carpenter ant, but they are definitely a nuisance and can become overwhelming in population if not controlled. 

Tip for controlling pavement ants: colonies can only be eradicated once the queen ant is killed. This can be accomplished with baiting, but is most easily done with the help of pros.  

Harvester Ants

Harvester ants are another common ant species in Portland. Reddish in color, they’re often mistaken for fire ants – and though they’re not, they still pack a sting when their nest is threatened. Like many insects, they don’t sting unless distressed, but unfortunately, harvester ants are common in yards across the city, meaning homeowners and kids are more likely to have painful encounters with this type of ant. 

They don’t cause structural damage, but they are identified by their damage to vegetation – which can oftentimes mean spotty lawns. If you notice patches in your grass, be aware that a harvester ant colony might be throwing down a stake on your property, so tread lightly. 

Tip for controlling harvester ants: baiting is typically the best way to control these ants, though it can be difficult to reach the entire population as they can tunnel deep into the earth. 

Have you seen one (or more) of these ants in your home? Time to call the pros.

Ant infestations can be tricky to control, especially now that you know different species have different ways of nesting and colonizing in your home. Instead of troubleshooting with potentially toxic repellants, it might be time to leave it to the experts to take care of your home’s ant issue once and for all. The trusted team at Pest Patrol PDX has experience controlling infestations of each of the above ant species and can find a solution that’s safe for everyone in your home. 

Contact us for a free quote or find more information about our ant control services.



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