Usually, it is just one or two that you spot the first time that you see ants in your home. “What is an ant or two?” you might say to yourself as you either squish it, grab it with tissue is preparation for flushing or personally escort it to the back door. You might not even see any more signs of them for days or weeks.   How soon the next sighting is depends a lot on what the Portland Oregon weather is currently like.

But then there is that terrible moment when you round a corner, focus on something that doesn’t look right, and then suddenly realize that there are a dozen or two or three ants crawling all over something not intended for them! A quick rush for a can of bug spray, window cleaner or anything handy that has a list of chemical names on it is almost always the next step.

Let me suggest something different at that point. Resist spraying anything in you household cupboard on them. I know that you want them either dead, gone or both as soon as possible but believe it or not, spaying them with that handy household chemical is counter-productive. The vast majority of the time, it actually serves to make the problem worse.

The reason for this is that when you see a few ants, you are almost always only view the tip of the iceberg.

Rarely is what you see all that you have. Consider the visible ants to be the welcoming committee, announcing their presence with authority that they have moved into the house. Killing a few does nothing to solve the real problem – the nest.

Even worse, however, is that most household chemicals will form a temporary barrier. While this might sound like a good idea, in effect what is has the potential for doing is stressing the ant colony, making them work harder and eventually show up elsewhere in the structure with even more vigor. Some species, such as odorous house ants, actually respond by budding, creating an offshoot colony with its own queen. If you have ever tried holding a beach ball under water, you will soon realize a similar effect with your ant. They will just shoot up more elsewhere with more force.

The best plan of action is to call a professional pest control company by the second time you see ants.

This first time could always just be some “crawl-ins” from outdoors but if you see them a second time, they are there to stay. Services usually are very reasonable and the sooner you call, the smaller and more affordable the eradication job is. Additionally, the problem is addressed immediately and you can be back to having an ant free house instead of fighting a losing battle for a month before call for help.

If you live in the Portland Metro area and have seen an ant or two, please give us a call and we will be glad to help.