Posted by Capitol Pest on February 28, 2018
Sugar ant invasion? Call Capitol Pest, Idaho
(By The photographer and, CC BY 4.0)

If you find yourself hosting some unwanted guests in the form of ants, especially the common sugar ant, or in the industry known as The Odorous House Ant, then you may want to know how to evict them once and for all. First thing’s first. Don’t panic. Ants can definitely a problem, but they don’t need to stress you out. The worst thing you can do is spray in and around your home with bug spray! This never ends well and is never a cheap solution. You’re going to learn how to deal with them by following these easy steps. Also, don’t hesitate to call your local Pest Management Professional, like Capitol Pest. We are happy to help with your ant issue and we would love to be your resource for all your pest problems.

Step 1: Defensive measure. Block their entryways

Start simple with a good defense. Ants are pretty smart when it comes to getting into your house. Check for cracks in your foundation or broken or loose seals on your windows and doors. Ants can feel the warm or cold air, depending on the time of year, seeping out of your house through those cracks. If you identify a troublesome seal, replace it to save money and exclude those critters. Calk gaps in tile and grout. This will slow down the scouts from finding their way in. Also look for shrubs and tree branches touching the walls and roof, prune them back at least once a year.

Step 2: Defensive measure. Remove food supply access

Chances are you won’t be able to eliminate all their entrances to your home so the next step is to reduce the reason for ants being there in the first place: food and water. Do a deep clean around the active area (usually kitchen pantry) for any crumbs or food matter that may be on the ground or on a shelf. This will eliminate their odor trails and clear their food source. It’s probably time for a good deep clean of your kitchen anyway, so win win. Fix leaking faucets to eliminate water sources. Water is the #1 reason ants invade in the winter.  

Make sure that any cooking and baking supplies, especially sugar, are locked in an airtight container. Clearing out any food bits and sealing off desirable food staples can get them moving out of your house as well. Done right, the ants should be looking for dinner somewhere else within a few days or less.

Ants can be trouble. Call Capitol Pest Idaho today!
By Mariana Ruiz (User:LadyofHats) – Own work (data from Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson, Public Domain

Step 3: Offensive measure. Lay out ant bait

If the ants are still invading your living space, then it’s time to go on the offensive. In your new clean kitchen, lay out ant bait stations in the corners and near areas you’ve noticed ants, this should intercept them before they find your people food. If you can see where they are coming from on the outside, then you might want to put some bait down there as well. Give them several opportunities to get the bait. Liquid baits tend to work the best as the foragers can feed on them easier than the dry granular baits. If a bait doesn’t seem to be their favorite you may want to try a few different kinds as ants can be finicky eaters. If you see the ants swarm your bait and ask for seconds, don’t let them run out of THAT bait.

After bait treatment, wait about three weeks before declaring absolute victory. The queen may have been going into overdrive to produce more workers after the first wave was wiped out by the bait. It can take a few weeks for her to fully recover her losses to the colony and your ant problem may rear its ugly head again. If possible, scour the area surrounding your house for colony activity, including new starter colonies. If a queen is distressed, she may send out other queens to start their own colonies which could lead to an even bigger invasion down the road.

Note that we never mentioned spraying. Don’t give in to what may sound like the easy way and spray your ants. They are in it for the long haul and if you want the victory stay in it too!

Step 4: Offensive measure. Call in a professional

If your ant problem persists, then it’s time to call in the experts. Your local pest management professional (PMP) will be happy to help you out with your ant problem. A good PMP will look in places like around your landscaping, garden shed or hot tub in order to discover evidence of other ant access that you didn’t know about. Give us a call today at Capitol Pest if you’re just looking for expert advice from a local professional or to set up an appointment. Good luck and happy hunting out there!