Winter in the Portland Metro and Vancouver Wa area this year has been brutal. We have endured one of the coldest and wettest seasons that I can remember around here. Collectively, we probably are all looking forward to some warmer weather soon, but when the warmer weather finally arrives, we will find new things to complain about like all of the pests that have been anxiously awaiting for the sun to come out, so that they can infest your home.
Tops among these pests is the common sugar ant (also called an “odorous house ant”). Sugar ant infestations are frustrating to deal with and even a little gross. You may see one or two a day and then, before you know, they are literally crawling over everything! They come in waves and can spread their way through your home, infesting your kitchen, bathrooms and even bedrooms. Once they are firmly entrenched, they can be very tough to get rid of. In fact, there are many things that you can do to make the problem worse while trying to treat them on your own.
As with most things, an ounce of prevention works better than a pound of cure. So, here are a few things that you can do to try and avoid a sugar ant infestation this spring and summer.
Trim Your Bushes Away From Your Home
Ants love plants. Some plants provide shelter and some provide sustenance for sugar ants. By having plants touch your home, you could be bringing the ant colonies closer to your living space and possibly inviting an infestation. Also, plants that touch the home allow the ants easier access to the home by getting them higher up and providing more potential points of entry. By trimming everything back, you force the ants to have to crawl up the foundation of your home if they try to get in. This makes it easier to put down a preventative spray that they cannot cross and survive. More on that later…
Use Boric Acid
Boric acid (also called “orthoboric acid”) is a commonly used pest control product that can be purchased over the counter. It is also a natural product and safe to use around your home. Boric acid works like a bait for ants. They take it back to the colony and it poisons the nest. You can sprinkle this product around your home as spring starts to approach. You especially want to concentrate on areas around plants and shrubs. Also, if you plan on doing some gardening and are digging up some soil, put down some boric acid afterwards. Stirring up the ground can sometimes also stir up an ant colony living close by.
Keep The Sweets Cleaned Up
There is a reason that they are called “sugar” ants. These types of ants are attracted to anything sweet and you should try to eliminate drawing them in. If you have fruit trees, be sure to pick up fallen fruit. Make sure that your kitchen is clean and that you don’t have any sweets out in the open that might send them swarming into your house.
Do A Preventative Spray
If you went through the trouble of trimming back plants and shrubs from your home, you should probably do some kind of pest control application. Some over the counter products like Ortho Home Defense would be helpful. However, for the best results, you would want a pest control company in the Portland or Vancouver area to do a preventative pest application. At New Leaf Pest Control, we charge $98.00 for this service.
Keep in mind that some homes are going to be infested by ants this year no matter what you do. When you have large colonies of ants in your yard making wave after wave attempts to get in your home, they will eventually get in. But, by following these steps, you can at least make it harder on them.