Baits are the most effective method to keep the queen from reproducing. Baits also effectively treat mounds not large enough to be seen. In addition, many baits have low toxicity to people and pets. |
For many ant species, baits are the best management tactic because the entire colony is destroyed. This results in a more permanent solution to their ant problem. How Baits Work
Ant workers quickly pick up the bait, moving the active ingredient into the ant colony and away from other organisms. Ant baits, when applied as directed, pose minimal risk to the environment because they contain such a small amount of active ingredient.
The ants extract the toxicant-laden oil and feed it to other members of the colony. Because the active ingredient is relatively slow acting, there is ample time for the material to be fed to the queen.
The trick to using baits is to make sure that the offending ants find the bait, eat it voraciously and take it back to the nest to the queen. If residual insecticide sprays are used, the foraging ants may die before they feed or take the bait back to the next, counteracting the effectiveness of the bait. Do not use insecticide sprays if you want to bait for ant control. If the bait is attractive to the ants, the entire colony will be destroyed within a few weeks. No insecticide sprays will be necessary!
Not all ant species can be controlled by baits and some baits work better than others. In general, ants that eat a wide variety of foods will be less affected by baits because the bait will comprise a smaller proportion of their food. Sugar-loving ants are the easiest to control.
The key to using baits is patience. If you use a bait product and apply it properly, a broadcast application should give 80% to 95% control.
Ant bait application tips:
* Make sure the bait is fresh (less than a year old). * Apply when ants are foraging for food (when temperatures are 65 to 90 degrees F). * Apply when there is no chance for rain for at least four hours. * Always read and follow label directions.
Choose a bait based on three factors: cost, speed (how quickly you want fire ant control), and duration (how long you want to wait between bait applications).
The way a fire ant bait works depends on the active ingredient in the bait.
* Some baits contain an insecticide that kills all ants that ingest a sufficient dose, including the workers and the queen. * Other baits contain a synthetic insect hormone called an IGR (insect growth regulator) that reduces the production of viable eggs and redirects larval development to prevent production of new worker ants. IGR's do not directly kill the queen or the adult workers.
An ant bait has three ingredients:
* The insect control chemical (called the active ingredient) is dissolved in * soybean oil, which attracts the ants. The oil is absorbed onto a * corn-based carrier, allowing the bait to be easily spread.
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