Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Ants attempt hostile takeover - Ant control & removal company in South Amboy

Monday, August 8th, 2016 by Bill Cowley


The Ant Takeover!!!!   

I was dispatched to a customer's home in South Amboy after he contacted Cowleys for help with a troublesome ant infestation. Upon arrival, I spoke with the customer to gain a better understanding of the problem and help me target my inspection and treatment plan. For an ant problem, I always want to know where ant activity was seen, especially when there is pest activity inside the home. I proceeded to conduct a thorough inspection, concentrating on those areas where the homeowner had seen ants. 

I immediately was able to identify the type of ant. The ants responsible for attempting a hostile takeover of this home were little black ants. These ants are found throughout the United States and are one of our most commonly encountered ants here in New Jersey. Their name provides an accurate description of these bugs. They are little annoying pests — the workers are only about 1/16-inch long. Even the queen, which is about twice the size of a worker, is still small. In comparison, carpenter ants can be a half-inch or more in size. Little black ants are not always black, sometimes they are dark brown. They have a shiny sheen. Little black ants prefer to live outside, building their nests in dark, protected areas like under rocks, in decaying wood, or in cracks that have developed in walls or cement. Indoors, I’ve seen these invading ants build their nests in woodwork, wall voids, baseboards, and under carpeting. I’ve also seen them turn the thin junction between the carpeting and walls into an ant highway. 

Even if the nest is outside the home, the little black worker ants can invade homes through the smallest cracks and crevasses. You’ll see them marching along their highly visible scent-marked trails in search of food and water along bathroom and kitchen floors, counters, cabinets, and pantries. These ants are omnivorous and feed on most anything. They mate during the summer, and this time of year mating swarms are common. Little black ants can develop large colonies. A single colony, which can have multiple queens, can easily develop into several thousand ants. 



I explained the Cowleys ant treatment protocol to the homeowner before starting. The homeowner was anxious to have this matter resolved. According to him, dealing with these invading ants in his home was making him “sick.” And based on my inspection, I completely understood where he was coming from. What these ants lack in size, make up for in sheer numbers. With little black ants, their populations can quickly grow off the charts. I’m glad I was there to take care of the problem.

The first step for getting rid of these pests was to treat the exterior of the home with an liquid insecticide. After, I applied granular ant bait to the exterior of home soil & grass areas along with a spot treatment by using ant gel bait. I applied the ant gel bait to all hotspots, cracks, openings and all of the potential harborage areas using a crack & crevice method. With social insects like ants, it is critical to kill the colony and the queens. It is ineffective to just kill isolated foraging ants. With ant colonies, foraging ants are expendable. There are always hundreds, if not thousands, more where they came from.

The customer was very happy with the thoroughness of the treatment that I performed during my initial visit. I’m confident that, once these applications have a chance to work their magic, this ant colony will soon be history. Finally, before leaving, I set up a two-week follow-up appointment. I use these follow-up visits to reinspect and assess the effectiveness of the treatment. If necessary, I’ll re-treat certain areas to make sure that the pest infestation is gone for good.