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  • Bernard Black

Pests in Season (The Original “Occupy Portland”?):

Updated: May 9, 2019

What is really “occupying” Portland? Currently, it’s ANTS.

We are still getting a lot of calls about mouse and rat problems, but the odorous house ant season is showing signs of life.

Odorous house ants Tapinoma sessile, (aka “stink ant”, “coconut ant” and other more crude names) are little black ants often found inside around rooms with water. They give off an odd smell when crushed (hence, the name). They form big trails; they like water and sweets and they are tough to control with over-the-counter insecticides.

Unlike most ants, they are not good at digging holes, and prefer to simply “occupy” places they like. Usually, they nest near heat sources or sometimes in fiberglass insulation.

Something interesting about this pest: Odorous house ants from different nests are friendly with each other, and this is unusual among ants. This means that odorous house ants do not develop rivalries between colonies. They cooperate and trade food and other resources freely between colonies. A group of nests with ants of the same species not fighting each other is called a super colony. We could learn something from the “Ant” occupy movement!

Successful control of this “Nation-Forming” ant involves eliminating it from the structure, then putting controls around the exterior to keep it from re-establishing nests inside. We have found materials and methods that provide superior control and have minimal health and environmental risks.

What to do: If you have a mild problem with this pest, you can probably achieve control with sweet ant bait (“Terro” seems to work fairly well). If you still see ants, we can help. Call us for further information on our odorous house ant programs.

As usual, all of our services use Biorational methods and materials. 

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