Today I was dispatched to a homeowner in Spotswood, NJ in Middlesex County whose home was being invaded by a small army of ants. I began my indoor inspection in those locations where the homeowner had observed the ants. Foraging ants move along scent trails, and I found some ants trailing by the front door and along several areas on the ground floor.
Once I saw the ants, I immediately knew what I was dealing with. These were odorous house ants, also known as stink ants. It’s an appropriate name because when these ants are crushed, they leave a pungent rancid butter smell. Another easy way to identify these small ants is an unusual behavior: When alarmed, the workers ants will raise their abdomens in the air. These ants often nest indoors in wall or floor voids, especially around heat sources. When killing social insects like ants, it is not enough to kill isolated foraging ants. You have to kill the colony — the queen and the nest. I made my way into the crawl space, hoping to find the nest by following the trail. While inspecting underneath the areas where I had found them upstairs, my perseverance paid off. I found the nest! Even though I have been a pest control technician for a number of years, I still get excited whenever I “hit the jackpot.”
As you see in the video, these ants were trailing from the french drain, up the cement pier and along the cross beam, up to the main floor. I showed the picture and video taken in the crawl space to the homeowners. They were excited that I had found the source of all their angst. I explained to them that a liquid ant bait applied to their trails was the best way to eliminate the colony. This slow-acting residual product is carried back to the nest like a Trojan horse, killing the queen and the other ants hiding in the nest. I applied the bait to several areas on the ground floor and, for good measure, applied it to the trails in the crawl space as well. Immediately, the foraging ants began feeding on the bait, beginning the process of eliminating the colony. The homeowners thanked me for taking the time to properly inspect their home, and show them a video of the nest. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million!