Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Moisture Ant Infestation (Video) Up Close and Personal

In Washington state, a wood destroying insect species that is often seen is the moisture ant. The only wood that is attractive to moisture ants is lumber that is very damp in the first place. And if it is rotted, well they like that pretty well too. The most common place to find them is under plumbing fixtures that have been seeping for years. Other locations moisture ants hanker for would be in crawl space corners or behind deficient deck flashings that have been leaking.

The video below is quite revealing and it provides the non-home inspector with a view of moisture ants in action: I poked at their carton nest which was in a rotted beam under a largely inaccessible crawl space area. As is, I saw enough to know there were extensive structural problems.

This species does not infest or damage in a small way, there are a multitude of ants -- undoubtedly counting up in the thousands. And as long as conditions stay moist and conducive to their liking, the ant population will increase and damage will continue to spread.

Resolving moisture ant problems does not require chemical treatment. The solution involves locating all damaged wood and replacing it -- as if it was rotten which it will be. Then all conducive conditions and seepage must be eliminated. After that, the house should be good to go unless future problems develop due to uncontrolled moisture, leaks, etc.

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 7 commentsSteven L. Smith • August 01 2014 01:15PM


I hadn't heard about these types of ants in WA.  And those ants don't seem to be too thrilled that you discovered them!

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) almost 5 years ago

They sure look busy!  I don't know that I have ever seen them here, or hills that look like that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Keeping the moisture ants and beetles at bay in Western Washington is a full time job Steve!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) almost 5 years ago

They say you learn something new every day.  This is the first time I've heard of such a thing as a Moisture Ant.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 5 years ago

Francine, Yes, quite common in wet wood and around leaks.

Jay, I do not know if you have them or not. Sometimes called cornfield ants and they want wet conditions.

Paul, true enough statement.

Meryl, they are quite plentiful here.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Hey  ,

wow! that must be a lot of work to do...

I didn't often heard of moisture ant?


well, have a great day to you...

Posted by Christopher Lotte, Central Ohio Realtor, 614-390-9243 (Red 1 Realty) almost 5 years ago


Fortunately they are interesting, so it does make it more interesting keeping track of them that it might be otherwise.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 4 years ago