Ant Removal and Control
Ants are both seasonal and a year round problem. They are one of the most annoying little insects. They take over kitchens, climbing on food, under appliances and find their way into cupboards. Not all ants are created equal though. There is a variety, each with their own unique tell. The most common ants within Oregon and Washington are carpenter ants and sugar ants.
Carpenter ants are usually 6 to 13mm long, active from January through July, peaking around May and June. They enter homes and buildings to nest or forage. They get their name “carpenter” from excavating wood that is decayed or damaged, and they love wet and moldy wood. In trees, they make their home within hollow or dead limbs. In structural infestation, they stay outside the tree, stump, stack of firewood or landscaping areas. They also form satellite colonies, found near the dead or decaying wood. These can be in roof overhangs, attic rafters, bay windows, box headers, wall voids, floor joists, hollow doors or columns, behind dishwashers, refrigerators, under cabinets, in crawl spaces and many other undisturbed places. The colony is typically associated with a water leak or other type of constant source of moisture.
How they affect us
Carpenter ants are structurally damaging. Once they enter your home, they pose a dangerous property threat if not treated. They don’t eat the wood, but they chew through wood to build nests and create tunnels to other food and water sources.
Carpenter ants can bite, which can be painful and break the skin. They also spray a defensive chemical, which can get into the bite, causing more discomfort.
In addition to the presence of ants, they also create debris from their tunnels in the wood. Wood shavings mixed with dead ants are indications of an active carpenter ant colony. Other times, you may hear the colony working by a slight rustling sound.
The first step in treatment is finding the nest. The nest must be removed before addressing the moisture problem that attracted the ants in the first place. The nest must be treated completely or remaining ants may find a new source, chewing tunnels through more wood.
Prevent carpenter ant infestation by fixing any moisture problems, like leaking roofs and plumbing problems. Cut back tree branches and limbs that may overhang to your home, allowing for easy access. Seal cracks and other openings around the foundation of your home, paying attention to utility pipes and wire entrances. If you have firewood, stack it away from the house. This is a particular common place for carpenter ants to nest.
Sugar ant is a common name to call those little black ants that are attracted to sweets. They range from 2 to 15mm in size. Some of the male sugar ants have wings. They come in different colors, depending on the role they play within the colony. Worker ants have an orange brown color. The soldier ants are a bit bigger and almost black. The largest of the ants are the queen ants. They have 6 legs and are between 5-15mm in size, a little less than an inch.
They live off plants, nectar, dead animals and other insects. They prefer dark to light, except they thrive in warm, damp climates. They are not common during the cooler winter months.
These ants love damp, warm and dark places. Pay attention to moisture issues in the home and fix any problems immediately. These ants do not like powder or strong scents so using baking soda, chalk or baby powder at entrances prevents them from entering. Growing mint outside the home is also a deterrent. Hanging garlic, cinnamon sticks, or bay leaves has proven effective. Seal cracks in the foundation and within all wood structures. Replacing an old roof may be necessary.
There are a few ways to destroy the nest, once you’ve followed its trail back to the nest. Destroying the trail by treating it with hot soapy water is effective. It confuses the ants, forcing them to create a new trail. Pour boiling water over the nest or flooding it with a garden hose destroys a nest quickly. Dumping bleach or sprinkling baking soda directly onto the nest also works.
How they affect us
Sugar ants bite but leave no pain or irritation. A slight red bump may appear.
Edwin and Melanie Calderon have been married over 20 years. Edwin is originally from New York and Melanie is a native Oregonian. Both love to give back to their communities through service and giving, including being self-supporting missionaries in an under-developed country. It was after this that we became pest control and cleaning experts.
EMC Pest Control and Cleaning Services
20449 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy #351
Aloha, OR 97003
Phone: 907 433 9576