Sugar ants are those little black ants that are crawling all over your kitchen right now. I would assume that if you are reading this article, that that would be the case or at the very least, it has been in the past. These little pests are not the destructive type of ants. They are just a nuisance pest and boy do they do a good job at it. They cover your counters and your pantry and seem to get worse no matter what you try on them. Truthfully, they are quite difficult to get rid of even for a pest control professional, so handling them yourself can be challenging. Here are some pointers on how to help keep them under control and avoid doing the things that make them worse.
1) Clean the kitchen
Okay, let’s get the easy one out of the way first. Obviously you have already thought about this. You realize that they are looking for food (especially something sweet) and you have already addressed this, right? What you might not have addressed is the food source behind your appliances. Crumbs, grease and other food sources might be hiding behind the fridge and the stove. Pull them out and do a big time deep clean. Without doing the deep cleaning, you are going to have a very difficult time getting rid of these things.
2) Cut off their water supply
The two most likely places to find sugar ants are in the kitchen or in the bathroom because both of these areas have water. Without a water source or a food source, you might cause the ant colony to move along to another place where they can find better resources. After using the sink, wipe up the water left behind with a towel. If you can keep this area dry, you have a chance of moving them somewhere else.
3) Do not spray them!
Most houses that we visit have one thing in common. Before calling us, our customers tried to get rid of their ants themselves. Usually this is in the form of a can of raid or something similar. What many people do not know is that Raid or other repellents actually make the problem worse! You think that it is working because you are seeing dead ants, but it really is not good. Once the other worker ants die, the repellent alarms the queen and starts a process called “budding” where the nest is moved and the queen reproduces at a faster rate. Since all the sprays that you can buy at the store are going to be repellents, if you are going to buy something, make sure it is a bait of some sort. These might not work the best, but at least they are not going to cause you any harm.
4) Use Windex
If you are going to use something to spray the ants and kill them, use Windex. It has an ammonium base that will kill them quickly while at the same time erase their pheromone trails. Pheromones are what every ant leaves behind that allow them to follow each other. If you use Windex on your counter, you might erase the trail and cause them to find a different less obnoxious trail to follow.
5) Put out something sweet for them
What?! Why would you want to do that? If your home is infested with ants that are showing up all over the place, then I suggest this. Take a small lid or plate and put syrup, jam or something else really sweet on it. Then, put it in a place that you would prefer the ants to go to (maybe in a corner of the kitchen or something). Obviously the ants will be all over this within minutes. The purpose of doing this is to draw them all back to central location if they are really spread out. Once you have them all swarming to one area, you switch the sweet stuff on the plate with your ant bait. If you are calling us, we can put our better working bait down and solve the problem for you. Either way, this is proven to work well to keep them in one place and kill them.
If you are having problems that you can’t handle on your own with ants, we would love to help you. Please give us a call or shoot us an email. If you need pest control in the Portland, Oregon or Southwest Washington area, we would be happy to offer you a free inspection and let you know how we can help you.