Case Studies

Cowleys Pest Services Case Studies: Ants Caught Sugar Jar in Dayton, NJ

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by Chris Fyfe

Challenge

Here’s an interesting story. As I was already servicing a home out Dayton, NJ for a carpenter bee issue the homeowners made me aware of some ant activity they were seeing in the kitchen. As I inspected their kitchen I spotted a trail of ants coming out from the bottom of the door jam going into the dining room. Now in order to find out where the ant colony is, I need to track them. Luckily, tracking ants is ridiculously easy. When ants search for food, they’ll leave a pheromone trail for them to follow. When an ant finds food, it can follow its own pheromone trail back to the nest. Just like leaving a trail of bread crumbs through the woods to find your way back home. Once an ant finds food, it'll lay down a stronger pheromone scent. When other ants run into that trail of pheromone, they give up their own search and start following that trail.

As a word of caution, you should NEVER spray any type of solution on the ants or wipe away the pheromone trail. Remember, these are just worker ants. The queen back at the nest is making more of them. By removing the ants and wiping away the pheromone trail you’re just causing the other ants back at the colony to find another path to find food in your home. So you’re essentially making it harder to eliminate the ants in your own home. So just leave the ants alone and follow their trail!

As I was trailing the ants, I noticed they were marching along the cove base under the cabinets. They made a turn and headed up the top cabinet. When I opened the cabinet door, I found out where they were going. The sugar jar! There was a lot of ants in there (apparently, they have a big sweet tooth)! What's worse is that they were odorous house ants. Odorous house ants are between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long. When they are crushed they leave behind a disgusting rotten coconut smell. Odorous house ants also prefer sweet tasting food. What better food source than sugar?!

Solution

I informed the homeowners about the extra ingredient in their sugar jar. Needless to say, they threw the jar away. I then applied a liquid gel ant bait to several areas where the ants were trailing. The ants are attracted to this bait. They will take the bait back to their colony, share it with the other ants, and very soon, no more ants! This behavior will slowly eliminate the ant colony. Within no time the home will be ant free. I advised the homeowner to seal up the cracks under the door and to make sure to tightly seal all jars that have food in them.