We hear it all the time in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area. You have lived in the same house for 20 to 30 years and then, all the sudden, you have an ant infestation. How did you go all those years without a single ant and now they are crawling all over your kitchen and bathroom?
If this is the case, then we are most likely talking about Sugar Ants. Sugar ants (as they are commonly called) are a very common type of ant that we see all over the Pacific Northwest. They are actually a type of soil ant known as an “odorous house ant“. These colonies number in the thousands and send out worker ants in search of food. Chances are that you have multiple huge colonies of ants living in your yard right now as you read this. When a food source is found, these ants send word back to the colony and then a whole swarm of ants head to the food source.
For example, lets say that someone dropped a sucker behind the couch. If a sugar ant happens to be close by, it will head right towards it and the colony will follow. If enough food, water and warmth are readily available, the ant colony moves right in and becomes an infestation.
Since sugar ants live in the ground, there are a number of ways that they can get stirred up. I was a customer’s house who had never had ants until the lot behind his house was developed. All that stirring up of dirt must have also stirred up massive amounts of ants. Within about a month of the neighbor breaking ground, my customer was inundated with sugar ants! However, it doesn’t have to be something as extreme as building a house, just doing gardening is enough to get a colony on the move. When an ant colony is disturbed and they feel they are in danger, they set off a process called “budding” where they basically scatter and form new satellite colonies.
Sometimes it is just the cold weather that brings them inside, sometimes it periods of excessive rain, sometimes it doesn’t appear to be any one reason. So, what do you do if you have ants infesting your home? Well, obviously, I am going to tell you to call a pest control company in the Vancouver, WA area. We can treat sugar ant infestations starting at just $98.00. If you are more into the DIY approach, our website has plenty of helpful articles that will give you your best chance to rid of these nuisance pests.
For starters, probably the most important thing that I can tell you about treating for sugar ants is to never use a repellent. This would basically anything in spray can or bottle (Raid, Black Flag, Ortho Home Defense, etc.). You should only use bait products. This is because the queen ant can sense repellents and can it can set off that same process mentioned above (budding), which can actually make the problem worse.
Finally, to answer the question of why you have ants all of the sudden, it could be several things, but it actually is not all that uncommon for them to suddenly spring up. Take some of the advice listed above and let us know if New Leaf Pest Control can help.