Is All Natural Pest Control A Good Way To Manage Ants?

by | Mar 13, 2021 | Pest

All natural pest control products in bright colored bottles tempt us while at the hardware store or plant nursery. Spring is ant control season in Portland. In preparation, let’s look at a few reasons why all natural pest control products might not give you the best ant control.

Odorous house ants aka sugar ants (Tapinoma sessile) are a persistent pest for Portland homeowners. Notably, sugar ants have colonies with multiple nests, or “satellite colonies.” The constant warmth of our wall voids is an ideal home for sugar ants to expand their satellite colonies.

Ant Pest Control

Commonly the main ant colony is outside. They create trails of pheromones from ideal nesting area to the next. Ants build satellite nests close to food sources, often including the honey in your pantry.

Understanding they work as multiple colonies is important to visualizing why all natural pest control products don’t work well for ants.

All Natural Pest Control

Many all natural ant control products & some exterminator sprays have an odor that is detectable to the ants. So colony-wide ant extermination is next to impossible if ants can simply avoid the treatment. Terro liquid ant bait is a homeowners best shot to control ant pests because it attracts, not repels them. 

Organic Pest Control Sprays

Folks often try organic pest control sprays with essential oils. Sometimes we use cinnamon powder or diatomaceous earth as organic pest control. Diatomaceous earth, cinnamon, and essential plant oils are powerful ant & spider repellents. But they do little more than keep the ants away from the powders or sprays temporarily.

Folks may not realize the odorous house ants are already living happily inside the walls of their home. Even caulking exterior cracks & crevices may be keeping them in just as its keeping them out. If their pheromone trails are greatly disrupted by smelly organic pest control sprays, the ants will split their colonies into two and find different places to come out of your walls. Odorous house ant colonies are organized enough to detect & avoid organic pest control treatments.

Always use caution and wear an N-95 mask or respirator while using powdered diatomaceous earth. Chronic exposure to the crystalline silica in the DE can cause lung damage. Products containing high concentrations of essential oils should also be used with caution. Essential oils in natural pest control sprays contain powerful chemicals with the ability to “burn” your skin & or make you sick if accidentally ingested. Always read and follow the label on any organic or all natural pest control product.

Best Ant Control Strategies

Repelling interior satellite ant colonies is not the best ant control strategy. This so often causes their satellite colonies to fracture into more colonies. This makes ant removal much more difficult in the long term. If you eventually require an ant extermination company, they will have more individual self-sustaining colonies to track down and get rid of.

Many Portland homeowners find that Terro liquid ant bait is effective for small ant removal jobs. Terro uses borax as the active ingredient, which is a soapy natural chemical. It is about as close as we get to an effective, non-repellent, organic ant control tool.

Baiting ants is recommended by ant exterminators for best ant control. Instead of moving ant pests around in the walls, baiting will work to control pests throughout and among the interior ant colonies.

On the other hand, some Portland folks report feeding endless baits to their household ants to no avail. Certain species such as velvety tree ants may have colonies of more than 50,000 individuals. Carpenter ants are much larger than house ants, and cannot physically consume enough bait to control their entire colony. In these situations, baiting alone may not provide the ant pest control results you’re looking for.

Best pest control tactics always rely on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to achieve results and reduce pesticide usage. Specifically, learning the biology of pests and why they invade our homes is part of the process. Ant pest control can be challenging because they live in organized societies. Rat control shares similar difficulties. If you’d like help with Portland ant pest control, always fee free to give us a call.


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