Do the old home remedies really work on ants?

From ground up chalk to coffee grinds, many Portland pest control companies have heard of many different home remedies that client tried before calling them. Some people swear by old home remedies as the best way to deal with ants, but one big question that is asked is; “How well do they really work?”. The following will examine some of the most common home remedies that people have tried or have heard of to try to deal with pesky ants.


Line your doors and windows with used coffee grinds, salt, or chalk.


At times, when service technicians with the Portland pest control companies go out for routine assessments, they tend to find traces of either coffee grinds, chalk, or salt around entrances. These home remedies are some that a lot of people try with little to no success. The science behind using coffee grinds or salt is the same behind using diatomaceous earth outside. Ground coffee and salt are so course that it can scrape and irritate the ants if they try to walk over it. The other aspect of coffee in particular, that acts as a repellent, is when coffee has brewed first, it gives off a pungent aroma that often deters ants.


The problem of course with using any of these three items, is that even if it deters the pests, it does not kill them or the colony. If they’ve already established a base inside the house somewhere, or right inside, then the grinds will do little than perhaps help keep them out of the pet feeders. Chalk, which is thought to merely mess with the chemical trails and feel weird to the ant, can only at best temporarily disrupt the ant’s line of traffic. As most ant pest control services in the Portland area can attest too, these home remedies cannot prevent most infestations.


Other types of home made deterrents that Portland pest control companies hear about:


Aside from common dry products, many people try to set up vinegar based traps or put off the pests with its odorous nature. The theory is, that much like coffee, the naturally pungent aroma can make ants turn about and walk away. The vinegar is either set in open containers or soaked into cotton balls and set at possible entry points. According to most ant pest control companies in the Portland Oregon area, the issue again with these sort of traps is that they won’t get rid of them once they are in the door. If a colony has taken root inside walls or foundations with cracks, then it will take more than common deterrents such as coffee or vinegar to get rid of them.


No home remedy offers quick results, when they have them.


Almost any Portland pest control company can tell you that few things classified as home remedies work well, or quickly if they work at all. Of the easy to do home remedies, borax mixtures yield the most results, but can take a couple weeks to do so. They also cannot handle all types of infestations, and pose potential hazard to pets and small children.


Spiders can be helpful sometimes, and a nuisance at others.

There are millions of spiders in the world, and thousands of species, each with a unique appearance and habits. Often times, spiders can be extremely helpful in keeping other pests populations under control. They eat insects such as flies, roaches, and just about any other pest that wanders into its web or path. They can even prevent other types of spiders from moving into an area. However, there are times when they themselves begin to over populate. One service provided by most Portland pest control companies is spider management. Unlike most other pest insects, these arachnid invaders often require a multistage approach in order to get them back under control. Most pests, such as ants or even roaches, tend to build nests and have communities. Spiders do not have a complex society structure and each one operates independently of others.


Where spiders tend to be found by Portland pest control services.


There are several varieties of spiders that can be found in and around homes in Oregon. The two main types are either hunter or web-makers. Hunting spiders roam and tend to stay outdoors, unless they are prowling in search of a mate, which the most frequent reason to find these types inside homes. Web making spiders, also tend to prefer outdoor settings such as shrubs and trees. Inside the home, if there are web making spiders, then they tend to congregate in the nooks and crannies, such as attics and cellars. Most Portland pest control companies can help inspect and clear out common troublesome areas in and round the home, as well as help establish a prevention plan to keep them out.


The hobo spider, often confused with other spiders.
The hobo spider is the most common spider pest that can lead home owners and landlords to employing a Portland pest control company. It tends to make a funnel like web in the ground, often near the base of the home and behind plant growth. Its mass of webbing is spread over the ground and, not unlike a typical trapdoor spider, it will hide in a tunnel and only attack when prey crosses the silken trap. Humans are not typically bitten by spiders unless they encroach unknowingly on their nest and make the spider feel threatened. Female hobo spiders are more likely to bite due to being protective of an egg sac. The bite of a hobo spider can cause necrotic lesions in some people, which is why they rank among the most pesky of spiders.


The Black Widow and the Brown Widow are the next two biggest pest in the Portland, OR area.


Black widow spiders are found all over the United States, and can sometimes be a problem that requires a Portland pest control service. They tend to invade dark and musty places, which makes any sort of storage, be it in an attic, cellar, or shed, the ideal environment for these rather painful and potentially lethal spiders. A close cousin to the Black Widow is the Brown Widow, which has become more of a nuisance in the Portland, Oregon area since early 2014. The Brown Widow has the body shape of the Black Widow, but the dark and light brown coloring of many other common spiders. While not as deadly as the Black Widow, Brown Widows can still be an unpleasant nuisance to deal with.

Common pests that can invade homes in the Portland area.

Portland Oregon is a beautiful area. It is filled with breathtaking views of waterfronts, forests and mountains. Residents of the area have an inviting mixture of terrain and environments that can come with both benefits and challenges. Each season can present a unique challenge in pest management, in particular the spring time. Well trained Portland pest control companies can help residents manage and prevent infestations from the usual suspects such as termites, spiders, roached, rodents, as well as the following common pests of the area. Of any potential pests, these are the most nuisance causing ones you don’t want to mess around with by trying to get rid of them on your own.

They sneak in during the fall and emerge in spring; the box elder bug.

Ask any Portland pest control company what is one of the biggest Spring complaints and they will tell you it is the box elder bug. While it may have other names, such as maple bug or the zug, these infamous red and black beetles make their way inside when the weather begins to turn cold. When Spring roles around they emerge in droves and can be quite the nuisance. Their sneaky nature and tendency to find the deepest, darkest, and hardest to reach nooks and crannies to settle down in for hibernation can make them a challenging pest. The key to controlling them is taking preventative measures to keep them from getting in.

Another common pest is the ant.

Aside from the emergence of pesky beetles, various species of ants tend become more of a problem during Spring. According to Portland pest control companies, the top three species that pester residents are carpenter, odorous, and pharaoh ants. Carpenters can be the most annoying because they damage wood and compromise the integrity of structures. Odorous ants, also called sugar ants, love sweets and give off a horrible stench when squashed. Pharaoh ants can be especially hard to get rid of without professional help because they don’t need to swarm to create new colonies. Their response to when people try to destroy the colony with over the counter products is to start making more colonies. If not handled correctly a small problem can grow quite large, very quickly.

One of the most annoying pests in the Portland area is the bedbug.

Bedbugs have become an increasing problem all over the country. When it comes to dealing with them, most people have learned that using a Portland pest control company works best. These nasty little things are an extreme nuisance and can survive up to an entire year without eating. This means that if they get inside furniture, even if its not used for a while, there is a chance that can re-emerge when the conditions are suitable for them. Warm weather tends to drive them to search for more food, so Spring and Summer are prime seasons to see larger infestations crop up. They spread quickly and require a lot of work to get rid of. Of any potential pests, these are ones you don’t want to mess around with by trying to get rid of them on your own.

Ways to naturally discourage Portland ant pests

When a lot of people think about Portland pest control services, the idea of using a lot of harsh chemicals comes to mind. For those who prefer a more “green” approach, there are many things that can be done without using a lot of man made toxins. The key is in discouraging pests from even becoming a problem. Another reason many people take these steps first it that over the counter pest control sprays tend to make problems worse instead of better, and can be a waste of money and time.

Keep it clean.

When it comes to pests such as ants and roaches, one of the biggest factor that can be a cause for their interest in your home is readily available food. Loosely stored food and poorly sealed containers can be like an inviting carnival for these insects. Keeping food stored away properly and keeping trash taken off or stored temporarily away from the house, such as near the curb or edge of the yard, are both important steps you can take to help discourage pests. Eliminating clutter is another step as well in making your home less inviting for many types of pests, such as insects and rodents. Stacks of papers and boxes are a veritable paradise from them to make a home in or use as a food source. Having a clean and mess free home is the simplest was to discourage pests from taking an interest in it.

Keeping moisture down and cracks sealed.

Basements in the Portland area are notoriously prone to moisture issues. Keeping the moisture down not only helps protect the wood in your home, it also help keep the air clean and makes it less appealing for certain types of insects. According to most Portland pest control services, homes that have moisture issues, especially in crawl spaces, are more likely to have insect issues. Ants, termites, and roaches are just a few of the insects that thrive in these settings. Moistened wood is easier to burrow into and can allow a colony to tunnel deeper into a home. Keeping cracks and opening properly sealed also make it harder in general for pests to get into your home.

Natural barriers and non-repellant treatments. 

There are many types of oils and plant extracts that act as natural repellants for insects. Most herbal remedies for ants tend to work for to keep them away instead of killing them. Once you have an infestation problem it can be a lot harder to impossible to just use barrier oils and herbals solutions. There are still low risk chemicals that are considered low to non toxic and safe to use for most people.

Pheromones with sticky bait traps and boric acid solutions, such as powders for lining in between walls and other such spaces, or combined with bait are other alternatives to using harsh chemicals. Boric acid is one that many people use in urban areas and when used properly and carefully can have a two fold effect of killing off harmful insects while not proving toxic in trace amounts to humans and animals.

However, just as with pheromone traps, the application and upkeep for using these kinds of pest control methods is tedious. In the end, these steps may be part of the advice given by the best and most effective method of treatment, which is using the services of your local Portland pest control company. Preventative measures, such as keeping things cleaned and sealed up properly, are part of complete pest control solutions.