Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ant Problem in the Kitchen, Home or Apartment

ants feeding on sugary bait
Sooner or later almost everyone experiences ant problems in their home or apartment. Ants often invade kitchens first but can spread to other areas of the home as well. They are several different species of tiny black/brown ants that enter homes in search of food and water.

Ant colonies (see below) can be located in the soil around and beneath the structure but they can also be in the walls and/or ceiling.

Ant Colonies and Ant Control

All ants live in complex, highly organized colonies where workers gather food and water for the developing young and the egg-laying queen. The trick with any successful ant control program is to use the worker ants to collect food for the colony that has been laced with a poison (poison bait). The poison bait is fed to developing young and the queen thus disrupting the entire colony. Spray insecticides do not work against household nuisance ants.

The least expensive ant bait is a sugary liquid that has been laced with boric acid. This is the standard recipe for products like Terro (tm) and this type of bait can also be home-made (see Home-Made Ant Baits for more information). Sugar-based boric acid baits work well for small, active colonies but may not be effective against large, stubborn infestations, and against certain species that are not attracted to sugary foods.

In the last few years a new type of ant bait has become available to home-owners. These baits are typically supplied in tubes that look like large hypodermic syringes, without the needles, or single-use trays (bait stations). The tubes/trays contain a paste or gel that has been laced with an insecticide, or insect growth regulator. Since the attractiveness of an individual bait will vary between different species it may be necessary to try several different baits until you find the one that your ants will most readily accept. See Professional Ant Baits for more information.

Using Ant Baits

  • Place baits near established ant trails and don't disturb these trails.
  • Do not contaminate the area with insecticides as this will prevent ants from finding and accepting the baits.

As always Read and Follow package instructions carefully, especially regarding bait placement.

See Controlling Household Nuisance Ants for more detailed information and precautions.

Please see our Disclaimer as well.

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