Ants may be tiny creatures, but when they invade your home, they can become a big nuisance. If you’ve found yourself dealing with an ant infestation don’t worry they are very common across British Columbia. In this blog post, we’ll explore some effective methods to get rid of ants and keep them from coming back. Say goodbye to those pesky critters and regain control of your home.

What are the tiny black ants in BC?

The most common types of ants that can be found throughout BC including Victoria, Nanaimo, and all of Vancouver Island are sugar ants, pavement ants, pharaoh ants and carpenter ants. It’s important to know what type of ant you’re dealing with so you can get rid of them in the most effective manner. 


Types of ant in BC


How do I know what kind of ant I have? 

Sugar Ants:  

Sugar ants are also often called “odorous ants” due to the unpleasant smell they emit when crushed. These tiny creatures, measuring only 2mm to 3mm in size, are a common sight in British Columbia, including on Vancouver Island. Sporting a black or brown colour, their colonies possess a remarkable ability to rapidly expand. 

Complicating matters further, these clever ants establish satellite colonies near their main nest, making complete eradication a challenging task. They are especially attracted to kitchens where they forage for crumbs. If given the opportunity, they will infest and spoil stored foods. Inside they build their nests behind walls or floorboards, but outside they can be found in soil, beneath rocks, and under tree bark outdoors.

Pavement Ants: 

Pavement ants are small measuring just 2mm to 3mm in size and are black or brown in colour. These ants are abundantly found in Nanaimo, Victoria, and throughout mainland BC. True to their name, pavement ants build their nests around pavement and thrive in urban areas. Their favourite nesting spots include beside homes and garages, near concrete foundations, and underneath sidewalks and driveways. 

While Pavement Ants don’t typically establish nests inside homes, they occasionally enter through tiny cracks in the foundation, either foraging for food or seeking warmth during the winter months. During the spring, one might observe pavement ants taking to the air, as they engage in a mating frenzy, temporarily becoming flying ants.

Pharaoh Ants:

Pharaoh ants are small yet distinctive creatures ranging from 2mm to 4mm in length and easily recognizable by their light coloring: light brown to yellow. Native to tropical regions, these ants cannot survive the harsh Canadian climate outdoors. Despite this limitation, they have managed to spread across the country, including BC and Vancouver Island, thriving in climate-controlled buildings.

One of the remarkable traits of pharaoh ants is their nesting behaviour, which defies conventional expectations. Instead of traditional nesting spots, they seek out peculiar locations, making their homes between layers of paper or linens, amidst trash, and even within appliances and electrical outlets. This unique nesting behaviour presents challenges for extermination efforts. Searching every crack of the home for nests is impractical, leading to a reliance on baits as the preferred method for treating pharaoh ant infestations.

Carpenter Ants:

Carpenter ants are a very serious type of ant infestation as they can cause structural damage to your home. Read our article on how to get rid of and prevent carpenter ants


Ants in kitchen near honey


Why do I suddenly have tiny ants?

The primary reason ants enter homes is in search of food. They have a keen sense of smell and can detect even the tiniest food particles from a distance. Once they locate a reliable food source, they leave a chemical trail (pheromones) for other ants to follow, creating a steady stream of foragers into your home.

Are ants dangerous? 

Generally, ants found in your home are not considered dangerous to humans, however they can be quite the nuisance. Carpenter ants can cause major structural damage to homes. Pharoah ants, sugar ants and pavement ants are known to get into food and spoil it, they also sometimes carry and spread diseases including salmonella and E. coli

How do I get rid of ants permanently?

Locate the Entry Points: The first step in eliminating ants from your home is to identify their entry points. Carefully inspect your walls, windows, doors, and any other potential access points. Ants are skilled at finding tiny cracks and crevices through which they can enter. Once you locate these entryways, seal them off using caulk or weather stripping to prevent ants from gaining easy access to your home.

Keep Your Home Clean: Ants are attracted to food crumbs and spills. To deter them from invading your space, maintain a clean and tidy home. Wipe down countertops, sweep the floors, and regularly clean behind appliances where food particles often accumulate. Additionally, store food in airtight containers and keep ripe fruits in the refrigerator, as the sweet scent can be a magnet for ants.

Set Up Ant Bait Traps: Ant bait traps are an effective way to eliminate entire ant colonies. These traps contain a sweet substance laced with ant poison. Ants will be enticed by the bait and carry it back to their nest, where it will be shared with the entire colony, including the queen. However, if you use the wrong bait or implement the bait incorrectly you can fracture the colony creating multiple small colonies and further complicating the problem. This is why bait use is best left to the professionals.

Consult Professional Pest Control: If the ant infestation persists despite your best efforts, it’s time to call in professional pest control services. Experienced exterminators can accurately identify the ant species and implement targeted strategies to eliminate them effectively. They will also provide guidance on preventing future infestations.


Ants on a cupcake


How do I prevent ants? 

Store Food in Airtight Containers: Ants have an incredible sense of smell and can detect even the tiniest food particles. By storing food in airtight containers, you can prevent ants from getting access to potential food sources in your pantry.

Don’t Leave Out Pet Food: If you have pets, be mindful not to leave their food bowls out for extended periods. Ants aren’t picky eaters and like pet food just as much as human food, so it’s best to feed your pets at specific times and promptly remove any uneaten food.

Check for Moisture: Ants need water to survive, so they are naturally drawn to damp areas. Regularly inspect your home for any sources of moisture, such as leaky pipes or faucets. Fixing these issues will help reduce ant activity in your home.

Maintain Your Yard: Ants often build their nests in outdoor spaces before finding their way inside. Keep your yard tidy and well-maintained by trimming shrubs and trees away from your house. Additionally, clear away any debris or leaf piles where ants might establish their colonies.

How do I get rid of ants in BC?

Old Island Pest Control offers pest management and exterminator services for both residential and commercial properties. We have local pest control experts at locations across Vancouver Island including Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville & Qualicum, Courtenay, Victoria and Campbell River. Call us today to learn how we can help.