Ants in and around your house cause a range of emotions. Some people may feel dirty and ashamed. Others get so frustrated they think the only way to solve the problem is to burn the house down! Either way, you’ll want to rid yourself of ants as quickly as possible.
Ant Baits are Better
Regardless of the type of ant invading your home, ant baits are the best bet at getting rid of them for good. Ant baits are not a fast way to eliminate ants, but they are the most effective. Where other ant killers only kill the ants they touch, baits are taken back to the nest and fed to others. The ultimate goal of baits is to kill the queen. Once she’s eliminated, the nest will die out.
Aside from killing the entire nest, there are many other advantages of baits. Baits are safer to people and pets. Baits also are a great ant killer when the location of the nest is unknown. With all these benefits, baits are the most effective in eliminating your ant problem. However, proper placement of the bait is critical!
For ant baits to be effective, they have to be found by worker ants and mistaken for food. For this reason, place baits on feeding trails. These trails can be recognized by the caravan of ants moving through your home. If there are many trails, spread bait at each one. The reason is that multiple colonies may be invading your home.
Where to Place Ant Bait
The first step in proper bait placement is to look for a line of ants. Called foraging trails, placing baits here increases the chance of being found by worker ants. Place your bait wherever you see ants moving in straight lines. If these are not out in the open, look around cabinets and pantries where food is located. Ants need water so look around and under the sink. Also, look for them around appliances as there’s always food residue that might attract ants.
Even though kitchens are prime locations for ants, care must be taken when placing baits. For example, countertops are a prime location for forage trails, but not the best for bait placement. Placing ant baits in food preparation areas increases the chances of your family ingesting them. It is important to avoid contaminating human or pet eating areas with ant bait.
Bait stations are products that enclose the bait and only allow access by ants. These are effective alternatives to limit food contamination or access by children and pets. Bait stations are also another great way to keep ant control out of sight.
Managing Ant Bait During Extermination
After bait locations have been determined, check daily to make sure it’s being consumed. Keep applying bait to the area until there hasn’t been signs of ants for 3-4 days. Or, if bait is not being consumed by the worker ants, switch baits. Food preference might vary based on species or nest needs. Alternate between sweet or protein baits depending on feeding preference.
It is imperative when controlling ants to limit other feeding opportunities. You want the ants to consume only the bait and take it back to the nest. Therefore, remove or seal any alternative food sources. This includes:
- open food containers
- garbage cans
- pet food
- dirty dishes.
It is also important to not disturb the ants while they’re taking the bait. Resist the urge to spray the visible ants with contact-killer ant sprays. The goal is to get the ants to take the bait back to the colony. Spraying around these trails could even deter ants from coming back into the area. Also, avoid using ant repellents in these areas. Repellents do exactly as they are named, discourage ants from using an area. Cinnamon, chili powder, coffee grounds, and vinegar are all natural ant repellents. Keep these away from baiting locations.
Ant baits will not last forever. After the package has been opened, use or discard the bait within 6 months to a year. Also, avoid placing baits in wet or damp areas. Ants may be looking for water in these areas, yet water will wash away or stale the bait.
Depending on the ant species, ants may be living outside and coming into your home. Don’t forget to bait ants indoors and outdoors. Broadcast the bait around the home and yard. If you know the exact location of the colony, bait around it, but not on top.
Ants in your home are frustrating and the desire to get rid of them immediately is strong. But have patience. Proper use and placement of baits around your home are the best bet to eliminate this pest for good.