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Ant infestations seemingly come out of nowhere. And they can’t be ignored. Once they start, they will grow and grow and keep growing unless you address them with the help of seasoned professionals. 

In our experience, and in the experience of many of our clients over the years, these ant infestations tend to occur at the least convenient times. Maybe you’re hosting guests, or about to leave town, and now you suddenly have an endless parade of ants searching for shelter and nourishment in your home. Now what are you going to do?

What are sugar ants?

Well, first, we suggest you don’t panic. Sugar ants — also known as odorous ants, stink ants, and coconut ants — are an incredibly common pest in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, there are very few species of ants who are resilient enough to survive the residential and commercial conditions of our area, and the sugar ant is one of them!

Sugar ants reproduce quickly. Their colonies typically consist of several sub-colonies, and include multiple queens, with multiple sets of workers and male sugar ants supporting colony growth. 

Though there is very little hard data on their lifespans, experts do know that males don’t live for much longer than a week. Their purpose is to mate with the queen so that she can lay eggs and grow the colony. Workers live for no longer than a few months, while the queen lives for at least eight months, though it is speculated that they live for much longer. 

Because there are multiple nests and multiple queens, the colony can grow very quickly, with their overall numbers ranging from the hundreds to the tens of thousands. And, despite their small stature, they’re tough little critters. As we stated, there are very few other species of ants that can survive in our conditions, but these ants could have missing limbs, crushed abdomens, or other severe injuries and still be capable of laying eggs. Like we said, they’re resilient!

How did I get ants?

If you’re wondering, “How did I get ants? My home is clean! I take care of my property and maintain my yard well!” then we’d ask you not to question the integrity of your cleanliness. Sugar ants don’t need much in order to establish themselves. If you have standing water on or near your property, or if there is a source of food nearby — sugar ants, like their name implies, prefer a sweet secretion called “honeydew” that comes from aphids and other similar insects — then they’ll seek out those resources. 

Their antennae contain extremely sensitive receptors that can detect sugars, and they’re willing to travel to get it. Once they’re on your property, they’ll soon detect the presence of sugars not only outside but also inside your home, and once they’ve caught wind of the sugars that can be found inside, they’ll start looking for ways to come inside. 

When was the last time you were able to take a look outside your home to inspect it for ways in which pests can enter your home? If your answer is “never,” then, trust us, you are not alone. It’s not something that most folks are considering. But if we’re talking about how ants got inside your home, then know that there are a few areas that are incredibly common for ants and other pests to take advantage of, including doors and windows that no longer securely seal, small openings where utilities and plumbing enter the home, as well as small cracks that can be found in brickwork or the foundation. 

Where do ants go once they’re inside?

Once they get inside, they’ll seek out areas that are dark, moist, and humid, as they present the best conditions for their needs. If you choose Aspen Pest Control for your sugar ant extermination needs, we’ll do a thorough inspection of the outside and inside of your home, which will include the most common trouble areas, like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other areas that might have plumbing, providing the ants with access to water. 

Because sugar ants also love to travel under floors and behind walls, we’ll also inspect the area for things like standing water in your crawl space or along baseboards and similar areas if our inspection leads us to suspect they’re entering from inaccessible, out-of-sight areas. 

Hearing this sort of information will often raise questions from homeowners, such as, “Can sugar ants do damage to my home and property?” and, “Do sugar ants pose a threat to my family’s health?” 

Do sugar ants cause damage? Or physical harm?

While we know that sugar ants are an extreme nuisance that can make life very difficult and uncomfortable for homeowners and their loved ones, we are happy to say that, unlike termites and rodents, sugar ants do not commonly cause structural damage to homes. Same goes for any potential physical threat. Unless you have an allergy to this type of insect, sugar ants do not pose a threat. 

They want sugar. They want to lay more eggs and grow their colony. And they will do this over and over again until they are properly addressed. 

Sugar ants can get into your food, which is gross and stressful, as well as spread themselves all over your home and property, which is an extreme nuisance. It’s no wonder that sugar ant extermination is one of the most common pest control services we provide at Aspen Pest Control. So, you’re probably wondering, how do I get rid of sugar ants?

How do I exterminate sugar ants?

Though there are many consumer-grade ant extermination products, you cannot necessarily count on them to do the job you need them to. Most of these products will fall into two categories, with one of those being quick-kill sprays. We find these to be less effective because they only kill surface ants. Their reach is limited and they can even sometimes cause more problems with an infestation by doing what’s called “fracturing the colony.” This will split the ants you’re treating into potentially multiple colonies, which could make your ant issue even bigger over time. 

The other category is bait. We find this to be a more effective option, but believe that professional-grade versions of bait applied by experts are more effective. They know where to place baits, as well as how much and how often to place them. When it comes to an ant infestation, experience makes a big difference in getting the outcome that you want. 

So if you need immediate relief before professionals are able to come to your home, then we recommend baits over quick-kill treatments, but still recommend calling the professionals. And make sure that you read all instructions that the manufacturer includes, for better effectiveness and for your safety. These products contain poison, and need to be used properly to protect the safety of pets and children. 

In the meantime, we recommend that you make sure your property is free of standing water, and that those areas we mentioned earlier — the window and door seals, the cracked brickwork, and the areas where utilities enter the home — are reviewed and, if necessary, addressed appropriately. 

Inside your home, there are a few simple things you can do if you haven’t already. Empty your kitchen trash and recycling on a daily basis, and make sure to run and empty your dishwasher on a regular basis, as well. Food waste, not to mention the moisture and humidity, are rich environments for sugar ants. 

Additionally, wiping countertops, tables, and any areas where food is consumed is a must. Same goes for the floors. A regular sweep and mop will go a long way in keeping ants’ interest at a minimum. Keep shelf-stable foods like cereal and crackers in airtight containers. Again, the sugar ant has very sensitive receptors on their antennae, so while this might seem like overkill, these measures — in addition to professional extermination services — will go far in your long-term eradication of ants. 

It’s time for professional extermination services!

You deserve a long-term solution to your ant infestation, and that’s exactly what Aspen Pest Control delivers. Free, no-pressure estimates from professionals who are licensed, insured, and committed to delivering you personalized recommendations, same-day service, and results that are 100% guaranteed!