How many times over the years has this happened to you?: The weather starts getting a little bit warmer, the sun gets a little brighter, and the promise of spring is just a little bit closer for us folks in the Pacific Northwest. But not everything that comes with the passing of winter is wanted, and before you know it, you find yourself with an infestation of sugar ants.
While we all welcome the prospect of more sunshine in our lives, the sugar ants are certainly not a welcoming sight. Yes, they’re a common pest. And they can invade even the tidiest of homes, but their colonies can grow very quickly, and a small nuisance can become a big problem faster than you think!
We’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years who have faced similar challenges, and through our experience and expertise, have helped them get back to a household that feels cleaner, freer of stress, and, of course, void of sugar ants.
So let’s learn a little bit more about these pests, where they’re coming from, and how you can get rid of them with professional help.
What are sugar ants and how are they different?
Sugar ants go by several different names that you may or may not be familiar with, including the odorous house ant, stink ant, coconut ant, and small ant.
Their colonies tend to consist of multiple nests as well as multiple queens, ultimately meaning that their ability to reproduce is that much greater than those insects who have only one egg-laying queen. The size of these colonies can range from the hundreds to the tens of thousands! The more established these colonies become, the harder they are to remove, which is why we recommend getting a professional consultation the moment you suspect you have an ant infestation.
Like many insect colonies, sugar ants can be divided into three distinct groups: queens, who are responsible for laying eggs; workers, who gather food and build nests; and males, who reproduce with the queen. Despite their commonness, there is no definitive data on how long they live. Queens live for at least eight months, workers live for just a few months, and male sugar ants live for little more than a week.
Lifespans aside, these sugar ants are an incredibly resilient species. They might have missing or damaged legs and will still seek nourishment. Queen ants, even having experienced extreme physical trauma like having a crushed abdomen, can and will still lay eggs.
There’s only a small number of ant species that are able to survive through residential and commercial construction in the Pacific Northwest, and the sugar ant is one of them. This can result in sugar ant colonies extending over entire neighborhoods!
This makes things especially difficult for homeowners if their ant problem isn’t handled effectively, with new ant colonies filling the void of the few that have been eradicated. But it’s not a hopeless situation. In fact, with the right expert support and application of professional-grade materials, your sugar ant infestation can be a thing of the past.
The first part of sugar ant extermination is determining how they’re getting inside your house to begin with.
How are ants getting in my home in Damascus?
One reason why sugar ants are so common is because they don’t need much to thrive. A little soil and a little structure is all they need to get started. As their name implies, sugar is the preferred form of nourishment, particularly a substance called “honeydew” and no, we don’t mean the melon. In this case, we’re referring to a secretion that comes from aphids and other similar insects, all which are very common pests found in yards.
Sugar ants also have very powerful receptors on their antennae which can easily detect nearby sources of food. If these ants move onto your property, odds are they’re making their way toward your home, which, as most are, is probably filled with sugar-rich foods.
They’ll seek out vulnerabilities in your home, like small cracks in the foundation or brickwork, breaches in your window or door seals, openings where utilities enter the home, or even via houseplants that are brought inside.
Once indoors, they’ll seek out those environments that are dark, moist, and humid, so if you’re looking for where they’re coming from inside, first look in areas where there is plumbing, like in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry or utility rooms.
Though many worry that sugar ants may do lasting damage to their home and property, they are dissimilar from termites in that respect. Their damage lies in the nuisance they cause, the quickness with which they can spread, and their ability to infiltrate your food supply vs. any structural damage to the home.
Similarly, outside of those who have a sugar ant allergy (which is unusual), sugar ants do not pose a physical threat to you or your loved ones.
How do I exterminate sugar ants?
There are a number of consumer-grade products that you can purchase to exterminate ants. They usually fall into two camps: quick-kill treatments, like sprays, and then bait. These products contain poison, so please be cautious and follow all manufacturer guidelines should you choose to use these products.
Our professional opinion is that these products kind of but only sort of work, and they certainly don’t work at the same level of effectiveness.
For instance, the quick-kill sprays will kill sugar ants, but they’re only partially effective. Why? Because they are only able to kill the ants that you can see. They aren’t able to get to the heart of a colony to kill the pests at their source. The queen(s) will continue to thrive and lay more eggs to replace the lost ants.
Additionally, sprays can have a negative effect on what you’re trying to accomplish by fracturing the colony, and causing it to eventually turn into multiple ant colonies, which can become an even bigger problem over time.
Baits are by and large more effective than quick-kill sprays, because they are taken back to the colony and consumed by, hopefully, the rest of the ants in the nest.
However, these consumer-grade products aren’t as strong as professional-grade materials, nor does the layperson typically understand the frequency these products should be applied, as well as the many places they should be used in order to most effectively and efficiently exterminate the property of ants.
Why call professional sugar ant exterminators?
The Aspen Pest Control team is licensed, insured, and deeply committed to giving you the results you want and the value you deserve.
Our specialized treatment process has helped thousands in the greater Damascus, Portland, and SW Washington area keep their homes and yards free of pests all-year long.
We offer year-round treatment packages that address the pests you have today while putting in place preventative measures that will keep new seasonal pests from appearing in the future. We’re so committed to providing you with the best pest control experience possible, that we offer all of our customers a free re-service guarantee, meaning that if pests return between our already-scheduled quarterly treatments, we’ll keep coming back until they’re gone, free-of-charge!
Complimentary, no-pressure estimates. Same-day service. Pet- and child-friendly, EPA-approved products. Guaranteed results. Ready for the pest control experience you deserve?