Sunday, October 24, 2021


Mesonet at SD State Eagle Butte realtime weather web widget

Home and Garden Tips


Greetings everyone and thank you for your continued following. This week I will cover some home pest problems that have started to become more common in areas of drought.

Why do I have ants in my bathroom and how do I get rid of them?

Ants can invade anywhere in the home but you will most likely find them in the kitchen and the bathroom. Finding a large amounts of ants in your sink in drought years is not an uncommon phenomenon anywhere in the world.

In most years ants remain undetected outside until a drought comes. Your home’s plumbing  is the reason you most often find tiny black ants (sugar ants) in your sink or tub. The ants do not come up through the plumbing from the outside, they following along the exterior of the pipes into your home and then may travel down the pipes in search of water and food that they are not finding outside. They are rarely carpenter ants, as these are not in the same family of ants as the tiny black ants.

How do I get rid of the ants in my home?

First, find the avenue where they are coming in: pipes that have no spray foam filling the voids around the pipes, or small cracks in your wall caulking. It does not take much, just one small hole less than an 1/16 inch in diameter.

Fix any leaking pipes.

Seal all possible holes they might have used to get into your home.

Deep clean your sinks, exposed pipes, cabinets and clear out any food debris in your pea trap and food disposals.

Pour ½ cup of baking soda down each drain. Next, pour ½ cup of vinegar down each drain. Let the reaction work for about 10 minutes. It will cause a chemical reaction and bubble clean the pipes themselves on the inside while suffocating ants. Next pour one quart hot water down each drain to clear the debris and baking soda and vinegar.

Lastly, wherever you saw any ants coming into your home, use Borax as bait and place bait stations on counters and in cabinets where any ants were found. Over a period of a few weeks this will kill any colonies living in your walls.

Never use gasoline to kill or burn up an ant colony outside your home. This could lead to a wildfire spread by gas fumes through ant tunnels. It could create a large fire in minutes, if not seconds, on a windy day.

Carpenter Ants

If you find ants with wings, you will need a pest control inspection and treatment plan from a licensed applicator. These are female carpenter ants and the males look like them as well. Both are much larger than household sugar ants.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood but bore into wood that has water damage in search of food.

If your ant problems persist, try a dormant ant spray, but not in areas of food preparation. If the problem still persists, call a pest control professional. I recommend Olsen’s Pest Control. Bobby is our area applicator.They service the Eagle Butte area on a weekly basis. Keep in mind that this is the busy season, so a visit may be as far as three weeks out. Like all service providers, labor is very short as people are not yet returning to work in large numbers.

Bees, Wasps and Hornets Honey Bees

Honey bees are yellow, black, and tan and have hairy appearance. They are most often are not aggressive. Occasionally you will find a swarm of honey bees resting on a pole or fence or similar object. If you find such a swarm, contact a beekeeper so they can be given a home. Bees swarm in the wild when they are in search of a new home after their hive has been destroyed for some reason.

Hornets and Wasp

Hornets have no hair and are aggressive. You can use hornet and wasp spray to kill them and their hives, but I strongly discourage this. I recommend you contact Game, Fish and Parks or Olsen’s Pest Control, as they have the safety equipment to handle this situation for you safely.

Recommended contractors for plumbing and sealing holes used by pests

Eagle Butte Plumbing and Heating: They can make any repairs needed, or help you with questions on your projects. Mick carries every type of pipe on the planet and can also custom build assemblies and give you instructions on how to install them. They can also supply you with parts for every built-in air conditioner and furnace. They will let you know what information they need and how to find it.

Allied Plumbing, Pierre: Jon is the regional service manager and can get you put into the schedule. Keep in mind that for true emergencies mileage fees may apply. They can’t travel 180  miles for free. For non-emergency work, they bundle jobs into a full day to save on the cost.

Wheelhouse Plumbing, Pierre: These folks can fix any pipe, large or small, and have the equipment on hand to dig down up to 12 feet deep for supply line repairs. I recommend them for any job, large or small. Wheelhouse is also a general contractor for smaller non-plumbing repairs.

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