Just about everyone will have an infestation of sugar ants at some point in their lives. They are, by far, the most common pest that we treat in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area. When we arrive at a customers house, they proceed to tell us about their ant issue and about all the things that they have tried to do to exterminate them on their own. For this reason, we are really familiar with what people typically try and what typically does not work.
We have learned that the worst thing that you can do when trying to treat sugar ants on your own is to spray them with Raid or a similar product. These repellent applications will kill some ants on contact, but the rest of the ant colony scatters and spreads with a process known as “budding”. Basically, this means that the colony splits up and starts reproducing at a faster rate because they sense danger to the colony. The only type of spray that you should you use on these ants is a non-repellent product. Unfortunately, there are none on the market that are sold over-the-counter that I know about. This means that you should never purchase any kind of ant spray or aerosol.
Okay, so now that you know what not to do, what can you do to get rid of them? I’m so glad that you asked…
#1- Clean, clean, clean.
For most people, this is actually the first thing that you do. For anyone dealing with ants, you know that the minute you leave anything on the counter, it is swarming with ants. But, what people usually neglect is the hard to reach, out of sight areas where ants are feeding regularly while you are unaware. Start by pulling out the oven and refrigerator and doing a deep clean. Ants also need water to survive, so when you are done using the sink, be sure to give it a good wipe down.
#2- Use some glass cleaner
Using a glass cleaner like “Windex” can be an effective way to wipe out their trails. We’ve all seen how ants follow each other in long reaching trails. This is because they follow a scent called a “pheromone” that each of them leave behind. This scent can be wiped out by using a product with ammonia on counters. Although, they will probably create a new trail, this will at least possibly move them off the counter.
#3- Store bought baits that work
Many of the store bought baits don’t work at all, but some are better than others. If you are gonna go the store bought route, I recommend trying Amdro or Terro. Don’t expect these gel baits to solve all of your problems, but they are definitely a start.
#4- Use the right technique
The difference in fighting ant infestations forever and actually exterminating them is using the right technique. As a pest control company, we have the advantage of using far more effective products to eliminate pests. We also carry all the knowledge in how to treat for pests. So, if you wanna get rid of your ants on your own, use this piece of advice:
Use maple syrup to get rid of your ants!
Okay, I know that this sounds crazy, but I want you to take a small dish (a lid from a jar will be just perfect), fill it with maple syrup and place it in a discreet place, like in the back of the pantry or under the sink. What do you think will happen next? That’s right, it will be absolutely swarmed with ants! Let the ants feed on your syrup trough for a couple of days. It should attract nearly the entire colony for their favorite meal. Then, once you have firmly established your syrup trough as the ideal food source for the ants, you do the old switcheroo! Take away the maple syrup and plop down a jar lid full of ant gel bait (preferably either Terro or Amdro). Now, all the ants that have been feeding ravenously on your maple syrup will start to feed on the ant gel bait. This method is the most effective way to get rid of sugar ants using store bought products and should start to kill off the colony within a few days.
Even with the best products and knowledge, sugar ants can be very difficult to get rid of. We hope that you can try our advice listed above and successfully exterminate your ant colony, but if these methods do not work, you can gladly give us a call and allow us to get rid of them for you!