Nature First Pest ControlNatural Pest Control & Exterminators
As one of the original pioneers in natural pest control, we are your low environmental impact, child and pet-friendly, natural, green pest control, and extermination experts.
The Natural Pest Control of Ants
What We do and What to Expect
The first condition we look for and ask about is moisture, even small amounts, in the walls, roof or floor. All species of ants in a structure will set up their colonies in or very near a moist spot.
Unlike other smaller species, Carpenter ants have one queen in the colony. She can live for more than 10 years and if she dies, the entire colony eventually dies. In this part of Oregon we deal primarily with four sub species. For three of them the treatment is essentially the same.
On our first visit to the house we often find conditions that make achieving a successful treatment more difficult. Moisture problems can be caused by bad caulking, leaky windows and roofs, trees and brush touching the house as well as the adjoining decking and fencing.
Other areas of concern include electric and telephone wires running from the house and into the trees. Another is bark dust, dirt touching the siding, old stumps and railroad ties near the house. It is very important that the homeowner and technician discuss these conditions and remedy them when practical.
We base our treatments and pricing on which subspecies we are dealing with and the construction of the house and surrounding area. We may inject your walls from the outside with a boric acid dust. If we do we will caulk the small holes and try to get a color match. We will bait in certain situations, and we will use a non-repellent pin spray on your foundation. We very rarely spray anything indoors for Carpenter ants. We rely more on our knowledge and experience than on chemicals.
Ants are cold blooded. When the temperature falls, they become inactive. They need temperature above 55 degrees on the ground to forage actively. While it is important to get treatment started as soon as possible, the speed of the colony kill is very much weather related.
All of the Carpenter ant colonies produce large winged ants once each year. These reproductive ants usually stay in a staging area away from the main colony. They are waiting to do their mating flight and they sometimes get confused by the warmth of your house and emerge prematurely inside rather than outside. These ants do not eat or forage while waiting for the right flight conditions. Therefore they usually do not come into contact with the products we have treated your home with. The best solution for these winged nuisances is to vacuum them up. There aren’t very many of them and the vacuum kills them very well.
We expect you to see ants along the foundation for a few days after we have sprayed and this is a good thing. Because the spray is non repellent, ants will freely walk on it and track the active ingredient back into the colony where it will kill many more ants through the domino effect. The second reason to see ants after the initial treatment is that there are still ants emerging from pupae or cocoons. They haven’t had any contact yet with any active ingredients and will often wander about looking for the rest of the colony. The rest of the colony is dead, and these wanderers soon die also.
Call us back for more treatment if you see strong ant activity entering the house two weeks or more after the treatment.
We could put toxic products on the interior surfaces of your home but prefer not to.
There Is A Better Way
Here are a few things you need to know about local small ants:
Adult ants cannot eat solid food. They must take it back to the nest where the larvae predigest it and feed it back to the workers and queen. This is why some baits can be so successful.
Most small ant species have more than one queen. This is a survival mechanism that permits the nest to split when it is under attack, or is stressed (by chemicals).
Ants have a highly developed sense of smell which they use to locate food, identify nest mates, communicate, and lay pheromone trails for other ants. Ants are very territorial. They constantly test the borders of other ant colonies and when they find a weak or empty colony, or house, they will move in. Some areas have many more colonies than others. This means that some homeowners have a constant problem, while others nearby don’t.
I hear various versions of the following story many times a year.
Once upon a time a homeowner saw a line of ants in her kitchen leading to some spilled food. At first she cleans up the food and scrubs the counters and floors (this breaks pheromone trails the trails ants lay down for other ants to follow to a food source) and she sees no more ants for a day or so. But all too soon, they’re back – usually in greater numbers.
She hates to use sprays, but her mother-in-law is coming over and she doesn’t want ‘mom in law’ to think she is a bad housekeeper. She goes to the store and gets a can of NUKE’UM insecticide. She sprays every ant she sees and is gratified to see lots of dead ants. There will be no ants seen in the area sprayed for several days, they are repelled by the chemical smell. She just got a few days of relief and made the ant problem a lot worse.
That insecticide was designed to kill on contact, and it is very repellant for a few days. If a homeowner didn’t see instant dead ants when using these harsh products, she wouldn’t buy it again.
Some ants were hit by a little of the spray and staggered back to the nest. As they approached the entrance to the nest they act and smell different to the guards and workers in the nest. These contaminated ants are killed and an alarm pheromone is released in the colony. This puts stress on the colony and the colony reacts by splitting. Because there are multiple queens, the nest can split into several new colonies. The workers gather up some eggs, pupae, and a queen and move to another location in the house, like the bathrooms, or kid’s rooms.
A couple of weeks after spraying ants with the insecticide purchased from the hardware store, you have ants everywhere. And they still come back to the kitchen. All this makes the chemical companies and the hardware store happy. The only thing you know to do is to keep spraying. Then you get fed up with the toxic spray and try a bait, but you use it wrong by putting it right where you just sprayed. Of course, the ants avoid it because of the chemical smell in the area and you think the bait is worthless. It may be worthless, many of the baits are, but you didn’t give it a chance.
This is about where you call an exterminator. Most companies tell you to clear out your kitchen and stay out of the house for four hours after they spray. And they tell you that they have to spray again every six weeks. Companies that use repellent products must keep reapplying. They have no interest in killing the colony because they want to keep you seeing ants and stay on contract.
We have developed our methods based upon Randy’s observations in the field over the last 20 years. Randy found that ants change their food preferences frequently with the changing needs for the colony. One time a sweet bait would be accepted, but a few days later be totally ignored. The colony of ants would now be in search of protein based foods. These observations have provided us with the tools to provide our clients with guaranteed small ant extermination.
A little background on Carpenter ants is in order.
First, they do not eat wood. They hollow out sound wood and introduce moisture into the wood, if the moisture is not already there.
Notice the shape of the Head
Wood damaged by Carpenter Ants
There Is A Better Safer Way for Ant Control
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Your natural organic residential and commercial Ant, Rodent, Wasp, Hornet, Grain Beetle, Bats, and more. Pest Control and elimination experts. Serving Portland, Beaverton, Tualatin, Tigard, Sherwood, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Milwaukie, Gresham, Hillsboro, Canby, Oregon City Forrest Grove, Portland, and all of Washington and Multnomah counties.
The leaders in Natural and Organic Pest Control for Portland Oregon and the surrounding areas. We always try to exterminate naturally.