How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

The ants go marching one by one, by one, and another one… As the weather heats up, more and more of these intrusive insects start appearing in your home, including your kitchen and, unfortunately, in your food. Resourceful sugar ants can even appear in your car! Talk about driving you crazy.
What are these pesky little critters? More importantly, how do you get rid of sugar ants in your kitchen and home? Let’s find out!

What Are Sugar Ants?

The “real” sugar ant actually doesn’t live in the United States. This banded sugar ant enjoys a warm home in Australia.

However, in the US, we use the term “sugar ant” to refer to any sweet sustenance-seeking type of ant. In other words, these species are attracted to sugar and sweets as opposed to grease or protein like other types of ants.

Thus, there are a number of other names for sugar ants, which are actually the real names of these ants. Some of these include:

Pharaoh ants

●      Pavement ants

●      Rover ants

●      Little black ants

●      Cornfield ants

●      False honey ants

●      Carpenter ants

●      Odorous house ants

The most common sugar ants in Texas are the Pharaoh ants. Unfortunately, they can bring pathogens and bacteria with them, making them very unwelcome invaders in homes and kitchens.

What Do Sugar Ants Look Like?

Since sugar ants in the US refer to several different species, they don’t all look the same. However, they are generally tiny (less than ⅛ of an inch) and range from light yellow-brown or red-brown to black.

What Do Sugar Ants Eat?

As the name suggests, these types of ants love sugar, and anything containing it . This includes:

 All types of sugar including powdered, white, and brown varieties

●      Honey

●      Maple syrup (and other syrups)

●      Jams, jellies, etc.

●      Cake, cookies, pastries

●      Soft drinks

●      Juice

To avoid attracting these ants, it is imperative to keep your food sealed up snugger than a bug in a rug. Don’t leave food sitting out on the counters and immediately clean up spills and crumbs from the table, counters, and floors.

Do Sugar Ants Bite?

Sugar ants are generally not aggressive. However, they will bite if they feel threatened. Sugar ant bites are usually not a big deal. Some people may experience a little itching around the site but that’s about it.

If the person is bitten multiple times, there may be more of an issue. Also, those who are allergic may experience more significant symptoms.

How Do Sugar Ants Get Into Your Home?

Because they are no bigger than moles on a chigger, sugar ants have no trouble sneaking into your home. Whatever crack or cranny they can find to crawl through will do.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally?

Now let’s get down to brass tacks and address the issue you’re really wondering about — how to get rid of sugar ants.

Sugar Ant Repellants

There are a variety of natural substances/ingredients that will repel sugar ants. Sprinkling these or using them around your home and kitchen can be an effective way to keep the critters from coming inside in the first place.

  • Vinegar: Mix one part vinegar with one part water. Spray liberally in areas where you see ant activity. This will kill ants on contact as well as erase the scent trails that ants use to navigate.
  • Whole cloves, bay leaves, garlic: The strong smell from these spices can interfere with the ants’ scent trails, disrupting their ability to navigate and communicate.
  • Used coffee grounds: Sprinkle around the areas where you know that ants are entering your home or to protect certain areas like your food pantry or pet bowls from future ants. Ants strongly dislike the smell of coffee and the acidity burns them.
  • Essential oils: Lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, neem, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils seem to be effective at repelling insects in general.

Sugar Ant Traps

If you’ve been struggling with sugar ants for a while, repellants might not be strong enough for you. What you really want to know is how to kill sugar ants and keep them from coming back for good.

Here are a few of the best sugar ant traps or other methods for killing ants you can try at home:

  • Boiling water: scald and kill the little critters by pouring boiling water into the sugar ant holes around your home. This must be done several times to be effective.
  • Boric acid: This compound is toxic for ants and will kill them over time. Mix boric acid with sugar and water. Set the solution up as ant traps around the house or pour it into ant holes. Note: can be toxic to pets as well so use this method with care.
  • Ant bait: Commercial sugar ant bait is another option. The point is so that the roving ants will take it back to their ant colony where even more ants will eat and die.

Tired of Sugar Ants?

Getting rid of sugar ants isn’t always easy, especially if you have large established colonies nearby. If you’re feeling defeated after trying everything to no avail, the best option is to call for professional help.

Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, our number one priority is keeping you and your family safe. That means performing thorough inspections first to know what we’re dealing with. Then we treat the exact problem using pest control products that won’t cause harm.

Ready to get rid of your sugar ants? Give us a call or schedule a Buckaroo service today!

Cricket Season in Texas: How to Stop the Invasion

Crickets become abundant with warm spring and summer weather. They are nocturnal insects and most active on warm summer nights when males attract mates by rubbing their wings together and chirping. What do we do when there are hundreds of these pests at our front doors and in our commercial building lobbies?

The most important step is to make sure that your home is sealed from the constant swarms of these noisy insects. We’ll explain what attracts crickets and how to get rid of them. If you need help identifying where they’re getting in, one of our technicians can help. When you need cricket pest control for your problem, call the pros at Buckaroo. We’ll assess and diagnose your pest problem quicker than you can say “Jiminy Crickets!”

The Value of Crickets

Crickets are useful insects that help balance the ecosystem. They are omnivores that eat a variety of plants, flowers, fruits and other insects. They break down plant material to help enrich our soils.

 Crickets are also a food source for pets and in some countries they’re a food source for humans. In Cambodia and Vietnam, crickets are considered a delicacy. In other cultures, they are a sign of good luck.

The Cricket Life Cycle

Why do we see so many crickets when the weather turns warm? A female cricket can lay over 200 eggs at a time. Once she mates, she spends most of her life laying up to 2,000 eggs. Two weeks later, those eggs will hatch into cricket nymphs.

Nymphs, or baby crickets, go through several phases of molting (shedding their skin) before they become adults capable of reproducing. This process can take 2-3 months. Once they become adults, crickets live an additional 2-4 moths. How long crickets live can vary depending on weather and food.

Cricket eggs that are laid in late fall become dormant until the spring and hatch when the weather turns warm. This restarts the entire life cycle and causes seasonal infestations.

What Attracts Crickets?

So, what attracts these crickets to your house? Crickets are primarily attracted to light, food, and shelter. Light is the biggest attraction. Crickets will swarm where there are bright lights such as car lots, parks, homes and commercial buildings.

They love to venture indoors at nighttime when the temperatures drop in the fall. In your home, crickets favor warm, moist environments like the kitchen. They will be attracted to fruits, vegetables and pet food. Sometimes crickets also eat natural fabrics like wool, silk and cotton.

How to Get Rid of Crickets

If you want to eliminate crickets in your home, you must seal the entry points where they are getting in. Crickets can fly and easily travel through windows, vents and gaps along your foundation. Use caulk to seal these gaps and repair and screens with holes.

Inside, keep your home clean, especially where you see crickets collecting. Store food in pest safe containers, including pet food once your pets are done eating. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them. If necessary – spray with the proper chemicals to eliminate the infestation. This is an area where hiring a professional can help.

Pest Control for Crickets in Texas

If you have more questions or would like an inspection by one of our trained techs, give us a call at 972-362-4026. You can also use our handy online schedule form. Our team can identify where crickets are getting in and implement a program to eliminate them. Don’t let chirping crickets drive you crazy another day!

8 DIY Ant Control Treatments

The ants go marching one by one…hurrah!

No, not hurrah. Ants can be anywhere, marching through your pantry or burrowing through your garden. Though most types of ants in Texas are harmless to human health (other than being potential carriers of bacteria and disease), that doesn’t mean you want them around.

In fact, ants are about as welcome as a porcupine in a nudist colony — especially the fire ants we often see here in North Texas.

The good news is there are plenty of effective DIY ant removal strategies you can easily implement at home. Let’s look at a few!

A spray bottle containing an anti ant home remedy.

Safe and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Ants

Below we outline eight surefire ways to eliminate ants in your home or business using household items you can find at a supermarket or hardware store. You don’t need any specialized ant control products to stop Texas ants from infesting your space.

1. White Vinegar

White vinegar both kills and repels ants. It also works great as a natural cleaning agent. Try slipping it into your cleaning routine for any control that doesn’t require any extra work.

Wipe down countertops, floors, and other surfaces with a diluted vinegar solution mixed in a spray bottle. Spraying ants with vinegar will kill them and though the sharp smell dissipates quickly for humans, ants can smell it and will stay away from it for a while.

Note: because vinegar is acidic, you should not use it to clean certain surfaces. For example, it can damage granite countertops. Check to make sure it can be used on the surfaces in your home or try using it on a small, inconspicuous area first.

2. Boiling Water

Removing ants from your yard doesn’t need to be complicated. If you notice a lot of ant holes in the ground, you have a perfect opportunity to take out a few hundred of them with a simple pot of boiling water.

Pour the water down as many ant holes as you can find. This method is unlikely to finish off the whole colony or make it to the queen, but it can cut down drastically on the number of foraging ants roaming about your space.

If you find the ant mound, try dousing it with a couple of gallons of boiling water and you have a good shot at eliminating it altogether.

3. Glass Cleaner/Dish Soap Solution

As the ants go marching one by one, they leave a trail of scented pheromones behind. That’s how they navigate and communicate to other ants where to go. Disrupt the pheromone scent trails leading into your home or business and the ants are less likely to find their way back.

You can do this with a simple solution of glass cleaner mixed with dish soap. Spray the mixture anywhere you see ants congregating or milling about. Wipe with a cloth, but make sure to leave a slight residue behind. This will clean away and disrupt the pheromone trail.

Don’t have glass cleaner on hand? You can try it with soapy water as well. Pretty much any type of soap should be strong enough to wash away the pheromones.

4. Boric Acid/Powdered Sugar Mix

Boric acid is not technically a pesticide, but it will kill ants if they ingest it. Plus it’s inexpensive and readily available.

To get the ants to eat it, mix three parts powdered sugar with one part boric acid. Adult ants prefer a liquid diet so add a little water and mix it all up. Place it near the area where you see ants traipsing around.

Note: boric acid can also be dangerous to humans or animals if ingested. Be careful where you leave it sitting if you have children or pets in your home.

5. Baking Soda/Powdered Sugar Mix

If you don’t like the idea of leaving boric acid lying around, try making the same mix with baking soda instead. It won’t be as effective as the boric acid, but you don’t have to worry about kids or pets accidentally harming themselves with it.

6. Black or Red Pepper

Have you ever taken a big breath after shaking pepper over your salad? It probably burned a little and you started sneezing up a storm.

Whether black or red, breathing in ground pepper can really tickle or even hurt your nasal passages. And that happens at the size you are, imagine what it does to a tiny little ant.

Sprinkle a bit of pepper near ant entrances or areas where you notice ants congregating. This method won’t kill them, but the irritating scent of pepper will help to drive ants away.

7. Peppermint Oil

A more pleasant-smelling option is to use a few drops of peppermint oil. Mix 10-20 drops with 2 cups of water and mix in a spray bottle.

Spritz the mixture around the baseboards, windows, or any other entry points where ants might be entering your home or business.

8. Cinnamon Leaf Oil

Another more pleasant option (at least for humans) is to use cinnamon leaf oil. This type of essential oil is effective both for repelling and killing ants.

To use it, simply wet a few cotton balls with undiluted oil. Leave them in areas where you see ants entering or congregating. Replace the cotton ball once a week with a new one freshly saturated in oil.

The Best Way to Exterminate Ants

A swarm of ants enters a home beneath a door.

All the ant removal home remedies that we’ve talked about here are effective. Whatever method you choose, it will either repel ants or kill them on contact.

However, all these methods have one major flaw — they don’t go to the source. You can keep killing ants all you like but until you take out the queen, the colony will survive, and your ant infestation will recur. Unfortunately, the queen stays tucked away safely deep within the ant colony so finding her is a challenge.

The cool thing about this societal structure is that by killing the queen ant, the rest of the colony will start dying off. Within a few months, the colony will be wiped out.

What’s the best way to kill a queen ant? To be honest, professional pest control services.

Schedule Your Ant Removal Today

Contact Buckaroo today for fast and dependable removal of sugar ants, carpenter ants and fire ants in Texas. Not to toot our own horn, but the methods we use here at Buckaroo Pest Protection come with a 9-month guarantee. Say goodbye to those marching ants for good with regular treatments that address your whole ant problem.

How to Kill Termites: 5 Home Remedies for Termites in Your Walls

Termites infest a hole in a wooden wall board.

Perhaps you were “lucky” enough to witness a termite swarm. Perhaps you found piles of discarded termite wings on your floor. Or perhaps you got a big surprise when you opened your wall in preparation for that big home improvement project you’re working on.

Regardless, you’ve discovered that you have termites active in your walls.

The damage termites cause can get expensive quickly and by the time the average homeowner knows they have termites, the problem is often quite extensive. You need to get rid of them fast, but how do you do it? Here are some popular DIY ideas to get rid of termites in your home. We explain how well they work and how your can eliminate termites for good.

1. Does Soapy Water Kill Termites?

Termites use oxygen, but they don’t have lungs and don’t breathe the way humans do. Instead, they essentially breathe through their skin. In fact, most insects “breathe” this way and that’s why soapy water is effective at killing most types of insects. The soapy film covers their bodies and basically suffocates them.

Mix 6 tablespoons of liquid soap with 8 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake it up. Spray the area where you’ve discovered termites and watch them start dying off. Repeat as needed for several days.

The great thing about soapy water is that you don’t have to worry about toxicity. Pets or kids might get in the soapy water, but it won’t cause any serious harm.

2. Does Vinegar Kill Termites?

A spray bottle and bottle of white vinegar.

White vinegar is another effective substance for killing termites and other insects. There are multiple ways you can use it:

  • Straight
  • Diluted in water using a 1:1 ratio
  • Mixed with lemon juice 1:2  
  • With a bit of oil 1:4

All these solutions are effective and kill termites on contact. Experiment and see which one works best in your home.

Again, spray the affected area as well as any nearby areas that are also likely to have termites. Remember, you won’t always see termites hard at work, but they are there, slowly destroying your house or business.

Vinegar is another great solution when you need a non-toxic remedy.

3. Orange Oil for Termites

Readily available orange oil contains a compound called d-limonene that is quite effective at killing termites. To apply it, put on a pair of gloves and use a rag to slather it around areas where you’ve noticed termite activity.

You can also inject the oil into the walls if you can identify the areas where the termites are most active. Continue to apply the oil over a few days to give more termites a chance to run through the oil and meet their maker.

4. Water Your Yard

Subterranean termites build their nest outside and underground. If you know where the termite nest near you is, try flooding the area with your garden hose. Subterranean colonies live underground and with this method you have a shot at killing their queen — the most effective way of neutralizing the threat.

Termites also create a network of underground tunnels that they use to travel between your house or business and their queen. Soaking the yard can flood these tunnels and cause them to collapse. This will kill some termites as well as limit their access.

5. The Old Wet Cardboard Trick

Cardboard that has been chewed by termites.

Why do termites eat wood? They’re after the cellulose found in it. And wood isn’t the only source. Cardboard boxes also contain a high concentration of cellulose.

Termites also need moisture to keep their bodies cool and moist. If they get too hot and dry, they will die. So, give them exactly what they are looking for — a rich source of cellulose and a moist place to be. Wet a cardboard box and place it near where you’ve noticed termite activity.

This delightful buffet will draw the termites out. Once you see a high concentration, soak them with one of the previous methods to start the slaughter.

Why Do Termites Keep Coming Back?

Every one of these methods is an effective way to kill termites. You can see them working as you use them. But will these DIY methods exterminate termites permanently?  

Unfortunately, you might kill thousands of termites but they: Just. Keep. Coming. Why?

Even a small termite colony has around 60,000 individuals and larger nests can easily host a million. That’s a lot of termites! You can literally kill thousands and thousands more will take their place. Furthermore, termites are notorious for being sneaky. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

The Best Way to Get Rid of Termites

A termite queen being fed by smaller workers.

The only way to wipe out a colony is to kill the queen. Otherwise, she will keep producing more termites and the problem will never end. The problem is the queen is always tucked away safely deep in the termite colony. She doesn’t need to venture out when she has thousands of worker termites to bring her food.

So, how do you reach the termite queen?

You don’t. You give her workers poisoned food to take back to her. That’s why we here at Buckaroo Pest Protection love the Sentricon® baiting system. We bury bait stations at key locations with a delicious buffet that attracts termites like horse apples attract flies. The workers take the poisoned food back to the nest and share it with the rest of the colony, including the queen.

A short time after she dies, your termite problem is over. Additionally, your baiting system keeps working to prevent new colonies from moving in and setting up shop.

If you’re concerned that you have termites attacking your Texas home or business, call the professionals here at Buckaroo Pest Protection. We offer free in-home inspections to find and determine the extent of your termite problem. Then we set to work eradicating it.

Termite Facts and Tips for Texans

Many termites swarm around the ground.

Many people love North Texas because of the weather. While it can get as hot as a stolen tamale in the summer, most of the year it boasts comfortable temperatures. Furthermore, the winters are mild and a perfect escape for those who dislike the cold.

Unfortunately, this also makes our area a veritable paradise for pests like termites.

These highly active bugs are common in homes and businesses across North Texas. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you’ve likely run into termites at some point.

So, if you have termite questions, we’ve got answers. Settle back with your favorite brew and let’s learn about termites how to keep them out of your home or business.

What Is a Termite?

Termites are hardy creatures that love to chow down on the cellulose found in wood, plants, trees, and other organic debris. They live in huge colonies that range from about 60,000 to one million individuals.

In other words, if you think you have a termite infestation, the problem could be as big as all hell and half of Texas.

Like ants, termites live in a colony populated by a queen, run by workers, and defended by soldiers. Interestingly, the termite queen enjoys the longest known lifespan of any insect — 30 to 50 years!

Termites can live almost anywhere and have an established presence on every continent except Antarctica. However, they love the mild weather here in North Texas and are active all year. What’s worse, termites don’t sleep, so they can keep up their destructive behavior around the clock.

Why Are Termites Such a Problem?

Termites chew wood inside of a Texas home.

If you’ve never lived in an area with termites before, you might wonder why people get so up in arms about termites. Live and let live, right?

Unfortunately, in the case of termites, no.

Termites have a voracious appetite, and they are constantly eating, eating, eating anything with cellulose — wood, trees, cardboard, etc. This means that if a few termites find a rich source of wood in your home or business, they’ll soon be having a feast with a few thousand friends at your expense.

In other words, if you don’t do anything about your termite infestation, they will literally eat you out of house and home.

Can Termites Come Back After Treatment?

Thankfully, we have treatments for termites. How effective are they? Talk to your neighbors and you’ll probably run across somebody who is frustrated about an ongoing termite problem that just won’t go away. The problem is most pest control companies only spray a liquid barrier solution that kills termites. It seems quite effective – at first. But termites can burrow a long way underground. The queen and much of the nest are down there safe from the effects of this liquid pesticide.

As long as she is sitting pretty down deep underground, the colony will never truly die.

The Buckaroo Difference

Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we think you deserve a long-lasting solution that puts your mind at ease. That’s why we employ the Sentricon® system. Instead of using a liquid solution, we set out bait traps full of termites’ favorite food — with a side of deadly poison. Worker termites will dutifully carry this deliciousness back to the nest and share it with the other termites, including the queen.

These traps can be left for some time to ensure your home or business is safe from termites in the long term. It’s a more effective method that gives you extended results.  

Can You Hear Termites in the Walls?

Termites are constantly chewing and thus they are constantly making noise. You may not hear a single termite enjoying their lunch, but termites don’t eat alone. When a few hundred (or thousand) termites join the party, they make an audible noise.

But chewing isn’t the only sound they make. Did you know that termites are deaf? Because of this, they communicate danger or new food sources by banging their heads against the walls and creating vibrations the other termites can feel. This head-banging sound is louder and more easily detected by humans.

Termites are active 24/7 but you are more likely to hear them at night when the house is quiet.

How to Protect Your Home from Termites?

Three dead termites lay on their backs.

Early detection is key to keeping your home or business from being destroyed by these voracious insects. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do.

Termites often come from underground and are active within the walls. This means that by the time you start noticing signs of termite activity, they have already made a destructive dent in your home or business.

What can you do to protect your investment?

The best option is to reach out to the pros here at Buckaroo Pest Protection. We offer a free in-home inspection to help you determine if you have an infestation. Our expert eyes know where to look and what signs to watch for to detect termites earlier than the average homeowner.

Furthermore, constant protection with the Sentricon® system ensures that new colonies are stopped in their tracks before they can turn your home into an all you can eat buffet.

Cost to Repair Termite Damage?

It might seem incredible, but termites are highly destructive. One small colony (60,000 individuals) can completely chew through a 2 x 4 in just 5 months.

And that’s a 2 x 4, a strong piece of wood. Imagine what they can do to softer or thinner wood or wet materials.

The costs to repair termite damage are high. It is estimated that in the US alone, termites cause about $30 billion in damaged crops and buildings. The average termite infestation in US homes ends up costing about $3,000 in damages.

What’s worse, most homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover termite damage. Insurance companies see it as your responsibility to protect your home from these critters.

Stop Termites in Texas

Protect your home or business from hungry Texas termites. Call us here at Buckaroo Pest Protection for a well-rounded solution that will stop termite problems before they start. Count on fast service and lasting results for the Plano and McKinney metro areas.