Archive for Monday, June 7, 2010

Armies of ants go marching into homes across city

Pete Haley, of Haley Pest Control, sprays for ants at a Lawrence home on Wednesday. Local pest control businesses have seen an increase in ant extermination requests in the past several weeks.

Pete Haley, of Haley Pest Control, sprays for ants at a Lawrence home on Wednesday. Local pest control businesses have seen an increase in ant extermination requests in the past several weeks.

June 7, 2010


Lawrence exterminators busy getting rid of ants

The wet weather has made more of the insects come out this spring. Enlarge video

Natural remedies effective

To avoid chemical-based pesticides, natural remedies may be the way to go. These products can be purchased in local stores such as the Merc or made at home.

“We frequently have customers asking for natural products,” said Sarah Mutt, merchandising manager at the Merc, 901 Iowa. “I’ve found natural products to be very effective for pests such as ants.”

As a personal favorite, Mutt recommends dissolving peppermint essential oil in witch hazel and using it as a spray. She said the Merc also sells a diatomaceous earth insect killer as well as EcoSMART plant oil-based sprays for gardens and homes. Here are other home remedies to help ward off ants.

• Plant peppermint or tansy placed at entryways, or crushed and sprinkled at entrances.

• Caulk common ant entry points such as windowsills, thresholds and baseboards.

• To make four to six ant traps, mix these ingredients: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup baking yeast and 1/2 cup molasses Smear a thin layer of the mixture on index cards. Place the cards — syrup side up — in areas where ants travel. Change the card as desired.

• Ant stopper: Use ordinary white vinegar. Go to the point of entry. Liberally wash down the area where ants congregate.

— Source: City of Lawrence Waste Reduction Department

Ruth Foster imagined someone slowly dragging a black string across the counter in her kitchen. However, upon closer inspection, this black string transformed into hundreds of crawling ants.

Whether it’s through the kitchen, the pantry, the bathroom or the entryway, the dreaded ant trail is a common sight for many homeowners this time of year. Along with being a nuisance, ants can be difficult to get rid of without the proper products and education.

Foster decided to turn to the professionals.

Pest control establishments say that business has picked up in the past few weeks, with ants as the No. 1 call.

“We receive 25 to 30 calls a week for ant problems,” said Joanie Haley with Haley Pest Control. “Ants are by far the worst thing in Lawrence right now.”

Why ants are a problem

Dale Roubison, founder of Laser Pest Management, said ants seem to get worse every year. Roubison credits part of the boom to the increase in wet weather.

Jennifer Smith, horticulturist with Douglas County Extension, said rainy weather and moist ground create ideal conditions for ant nests. Smith said ants usually enter homes for one reason — food.

“Ants forage,” Smith said. “They look for food all the time and when they find food they will leave a trail leading back to the nest.”

How to treat ants

Brian Bracciano, owner of Bracciano Pest Control, said finding the nest is the most effective treatment. He said it’s not only about killing the ants in the home, but outside the home as well. He said 95 percent of ants found in the house originate from nests outside.

Smith said homeowners often think that if they get rid of ants in the home others won’t come. Sprays and traps can be effective for ants already in the home, but will not kill the ones outside the home.

She says, “Baits that the ants can carry back to the nest are one of the best things to use.”

Early prevention

Pest control professionals agree that practicing basic cleanliness can be the best step toward prevention. Proper storage of animal feed and food products is key. Kitchens should be cleaned immediately and thoroughly after food preparation. Besides basic sanitation and cleanliness, residents can practice proper gardening methods as well.

William Weber, owner of Weber Extermination, said outdoor gardening habits are a main cause in the rise in ants. He said ants often build nests under mulch, bushes, stones, rocks and bricks because of the moisture.

The problem can be prevented by keeping gardens away from the house, or at least separated. Raking up old mulch before piling on new can help as well.

Even with good habits, Pete Haley, owner of Haley Pest Control, said ants will sometimes find a way in regardless.

Foster, who keeps her house clean, couldn’t figure out what she was doing wrong. For now, she will wait and hope the professional treatment will finally rid her of the pesky ants.


spirit_level 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm a longtime veteran of the ant wars, and in my experience the vinegar wash is ineffective at both eliminating the ants I've sprayed, and preventing more from entering. Best to reserve vinegar for cooking and cleaning activities.

Gwynmael 7 years, 11 months ago

Foster needs to have a termite inspection! Several summers ago we had a severe ant problem in our home. House was kept very clean- bathroom floors, toilets, sinks, counters and kitchen floor, counter, & sink were bleached down every day/night. I'd get up in the morning to lines of ants in the bathrooms, kitchen, hallway - it was disgusting!
Turns out we had termites and the ants were coming in to eat them!

trinity 7 years, 11 months ago

i have had great success with corn meal. seriously. it looks kinda strange to have little piles of corn meal here&there-but by golly i have NO ants anymore. only takes a few days.

KansasPerson 7 years, 11 months ago

Now I have that song stuck in my head.... "The ants go marching one by one, hoorah, hoorah..."

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 11 months ago

EcoPest does a great job on ants: 843-1300

freighttrain221 7 years, 11 months ago

Several years ago I called a local exterminating company to take care of my ant problem. They sprayed a product that was safe around kids and pets and the ants nevered bothered us for the rest of the year. It was $120 well spent. The following year, I called them again to come out and spray in preparation for the summer ant invasion. They didn't return my voicemails so I gave up after three days of trying to reach them. I noticed that the reciept stated that they used a product called "Demand CS". I did a quick Google search, found it online for $30, bought a $10 sprayer from WalMart, mixed it with water according to the directions and have been exterminating my own home now for the past several years at a much cheaper cost! That one bottle for $30 has lasted three years so far. Every Spring I spray the perimeter of the house, around the doors and windows, around the baseboards and appliances. I haven't had an ant problem in years.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

PETA would tell you that ants have just as much right to live as we do. We should not use chemical or weapons of mass destruction on them -- it makes us no better than the 9/11 terrorists.

Obama would tell you that the 'haves' need to support the 'have-nots'. Well, the ants need that food you have...and you have more than you know what to do with. The ants are poor and in comparison you are the wealthy. (and greedy for not wanting to share.)

You are not better than an ant...share with them and live in socialist harmony.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

...and you're not willing to grant amnesty?? Watch out for ant protests.

Christine Anderson 7 years, 11 months ago

"the ants go marching two by two, and the little one stopped to tie his shoe"....

lawdog 7 years, 11 months ago

I battled with ants on my counter tops last summer but a friend suggested using 'baking soda'. Within a few days the ants started becoming fewer and fewer. I have not had an ant problem this summer at all.

I even sprinkled around my foundation where ants were trailing in and now there's not a sign of them.

So this spring I used baking soda as a deterrent and I've not seen any.......................

I just know that baking soda worked for me plus it's easier on the environment.

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