Ant problems on the rise in Portland area

Ant problems on the rise in Portland area

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 11 at 1:07 PM

PORTLAND -- The ants are coming marching in, but this year it's not just one-by-one.  In fact, some experts have called this one of the worst years ever for the pesky insects.

Sehwan Kim would agree.  This past Friday, he noticed a single carpenter ant inside his parents’ home, but over a few days that one multiplied.

“We saw two, three, by the time we looked, they were just everywhere," he said. "This was the worse that we've seen."

Rob McMaster with Halt Pest Control said he's been swamped with ant calls. It’s the result, he said, of a mild winter.

“We didn't have an extreme weather event or we didn't have a freeze or lots and lots of cold wet rain so those populations continued to grow," he explained. "We can definitely tell a difference that we're dealing with more ants."

And not just carpenter ants, either.  Small house ants have also come out in force. McMaster said whatever you do, do not spray those ants with over-the-counter pesticides.

“You'll cause them to split colonies, they'll create new queens and before you know it, you'll have them everywhere,” he warned.

Keeping counters clean and food and garbage picked up will help keep the ants out.  It's important to keep outside areas clear, too.

“Don’t let trees touch your house, don’t let bark dust accumulate against your house, don’t stack fire wood next to your house,” advised McMaster.

As for those over-the-counter ant baits, McMaster said homeowners can give them a try. Unlike the sprays, they won't necessarily make the ant population worse, he said.

He said the best advice would be to call an accredited professional.

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