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Ants, as small and harmless as they appear to be, can be a nuisance for any household. Sometimes it is impossible to stop ants from entering because they are mostly attracted by food. But that doesn’t mean that you let them infest your home without trying to handle the problem.
Luckily ant problems can be handled and with the right product you can get rid of these pests before they take over your home. So if you are looking for ways to manage this problem or want to have a solution in hand to prevent this unwanted situation then you are reading the right article.
Today we are going to talk about ant baits and how they work in keeping your home and its surrounding free from ants. So let us start by answering the question that many of you may want to know the answer to:
What is Ant Bait?
Ant baits are insect repellent products that come in different forms like gel, liquid, powder, and even granular. These insecticides are mixed with food or liquid, as food and liquid are what attracts ants most.
Usually there are workers or carriers among ants that have the job of carrying food back to their mound or home. Once ants carry back the food or liquid containing the insecticides, the active ingredient spreads and kills the bugs and hopefully the Queen.
Types of Ant Baits
Ant baits are easily available for sell or you could also make your own at home.
1. Ant Gel Baits
The gel kind ant baits are commercial products that are used in the cracks or holes you think the ants have made their home or use as a channel to enter your living area.
You simple have to squeeze some of the gel into those cracks or holes and wait for the ants to consume or come in contact with them.
2. Ant Liquid Baits
If you think that your house attracts sugar ants the most then you should definitely purchase the liquid kind as these are the best ant baits for sugar ants.
Sugar ants include field ants, carpenter ants, and pavement ants. They are attracted to sugary or sweet things and liquid ant baits are generally sweet solutions that attract these ants.
3. Ant Granular Baits
If you are more worried about outdoor infections or if you are trying to get rid of ants in the area surrounding your home then the solid baits, also known as granular baits will be the best choice. These ant baits are made up of larger granules which the worker ants carry back to share with the colony.
4. Ant Powders
These are very common and can be found in many homes. They are also known as dust ant baits. They come in powder form and just like the gel. You can sprinkle them in the cracks, holes, or along with trials where you notice the ants.
Powder/dust ant baits sometimes also work on other bugs like cockroaches and spiders, especially if they are small. Generally, the powders can also be applied into ant mounds.
5. Homemade Ant Baits
If you like to DIY then you could also try to make ant baits at home with the help of some common household ingredients. The most common way to make this is adding a bit of borax powder with any sugary item that you think will attract the ants.
The borax works as the insecticide while the food works as the bait. You can easily find videos and articles on the internet demonstrating the steps of making homemade ant baits. Just remember that the results may vary and the product may not always work as expected.
How Do Ant Baits Work to Get Rid of Ant Colony?
Ants are very different in nature from other insects and you might find it quite fascinating to know a thing or two about how they work. The ants that are normally visible to you are not the only kind of ants living in your home. Ants can be classified into 3 groups: the workers, the eggs/babies, and the queen ant.
The ants you see in trails or cracks are the worker ants that carry food back to the worker ants in the colony. Once the food is transferred to the next batch of worker ants in the colony, they supply it to the queen ant. The queen’s job is to lay eggs and nothing more. She hardly moves from her place.
So you can clearly see that no matter how many worker ants you kill, until and unless you kill the queen, your house will never be free of ants. Ant baits, however, work in a very smart and clever way. Because ants cannot detect the insecticide in the ant bait, they will carry the ant bait back to the colony which will eventually be consumed by the queen.
Once the queen eats the infected food then hopefully she dies and you win. So the bottom line is the to kill the entire colony you need to kill the queen and thanks to ant baits that is very much possible.
Are Ant Baits Safe for Pets?
Normally ant baits come fully packed in cans or bottles so they are out of reach from pets. But even when the contents are sprinkled somewhere and within the reach of pets, they will not hurt your pet. Yes, it is true that all ant baits contain poison but the poison is not strong enough to harm or kill pets.
The fact that pets, normally dogs, may even enjoy tasting the ant baits, maybe something of a concern, luckily the risks are less. If, however, you notice that your pet has consumed a bit of the product then it is best to consult the vet. We would also recommend looking for ant baits that are advertised as safe for pets because precaution is better than cure.
Ant Killer Bait Usage Tips
Here are some steps that you can follow to ensure that the ant bait does its job well. Let us start with what you have to do before you actually use the products:
Observe the ants. When you watch the ants as they trail you will notice how they all travel in the same direction, and usually in one straight line. By keeping a watch, you will be able to tell where they come from and where they head back to. Usually worker ants leave a scent that other worker ants use to trace and lead to food.
Do not kill the worker ants using insecticides like sprays or poisonous powders. Again, you want the workers alive so that they can carry the infected food/ant bait back to the queen.
Follow proper instructions to set up the bait. Generally, ant baits need to be placed where the ants trail.
Do not be too quick to clean up the bait stations. Even after the queen is dead, you will want to make sure that the whole colony is dead as soon as possible. So keep the ant bait in place to ensure that the worker ants keep feeding on them and carrying them back to the rest of the colony.
Look for washed-out bait stations. Sometimes ants can move the bait station and you will need to place more bait in order to keep the process going.
Have patience. No ant bait will kill or get rid of all the ants in your home within a day so you will need to give it some time. Sometimes it could take a few days or even weeks, depending on the condition of the infestations.
Ant Bait Buyers Guide
A) Identify Your Problem
Before you go ahead and purchase ant baits you need to identify the problem. Also, check if they are actually ants or termites and then consider the degree of the infestation, what could be the cause and what else you can do to prevent future problems.
This is usually a case where the solution lies in the problem. So if you can identify the problem you will be able to solve the matter faster.
B) Consider the Type of Ant
Okay, so time to set some things straight. I don’t want to disappoint you with what I am about to tell you, in fact, what I am about to tell you will actually save you the disappointment. No matter how much ant baits are designed to lure in ants, not all of them will manage to do so.
This is because many ants will completely avoid even coming close to the ant bait and change their trail. This happens when you use the wrong ant bait for the kind of ants infesting your home.
So how do you fix this problem? Well, it’s not so hard. If you are going to be using commercial ant baits, then you can easily find products that are made for specific ant types.
There are indoor ants and outdoor ants, there are sugar ants like carpenter ants and there are fire ants. So consider the type of ants and then the best kind of ant bait for them.
C) Consider the Situations
By this I mean consider the urgency. If the ant infestation has gone out of hand and you are ready to go to any means to get rid of the ants, then it is understandable that you would want products that not only guarantee results but work fast too. Yet I will ask you to consider a few things here.
Most ant baits that work fast or are designed for quick action are not really that great in providing you with long term results. You would be better off with products that take a little longer to show results but do so effectively and deliver long-lasting results.
Some ant baits will get rid of all the ants almost instantly but you will soon see the return of another troop. So if you really want to control and stop future infestations then your best bet will be to pick ant baits that offer a permanent solution, even if they take a bit longer.
D) Consider the Presence of Kids or Pets
We already know that ant baits are not really going to harm your pets in a threatening way. Although it is highly recommended that you keep your pets away if it is possible. With kids, you need to be extra careful, especially if you have a toddler or crawling baby in the house.
Small children like to pick up stuff from the floor and place them in their mouths. If a toy rolls over floors or counters where you have set the ant bait station then you wouldn’t want the toy to come in contact with your child’s mouth or eyes.
For homes with kids and pets, you need to be careful and always keep an eye to make sure that your child or your pets are safe from any harm. I would also suggest picking ant baits that are not required to be placed on the floor. Do a bit of research and see what your options are?
E) Consider Where in Your Home You’ll Need to Use the Bait
First and foremost, you need to find the trails and then place the bait there for the best results. Ants generally do not like to change their trails so you might not have any luck if you place the baits somewhere they are not already present or seen.
F) Consider Using Different Types of Ant Baits
If you are lucky then you will probably find success with the first type of ant bait you use. But more often it is seen that using different types of ant baits increases effectiveness. You can never be sure what will work until you try out several methods.
G) Consider the Trusted Brands
There are many brands that sell ant baits but not all of them have gained a reputation for being effective. You may want to consider brands like Terro, Advion, and BASF for quality and performance assurance.
How Can I Prevent My Home from Ant Infestations?
There are a number of ways you can prevent ants from taking over your home. Here are some of the most active ways:
If you have seen some ants around the house and might fear that they have already built homes nearby then you can take the following steps to prevent the situation from getting worse:
Ant Bait Product Reviews
Maxforce Quantum Imidacloprid Ant Control Liquid Bait
The Max Force Quantum is a liquid ant bait that works on many kinds of ants and can be used inside the home or outside. As it is a low impact ant bait, you can expect long term results as the poison will last for up to 3 months.
The product works like most ant baits where it is carried by the worker ants and transferred to the queen and the entire colony, unaware of the low dose of imidacloprid that eventually kills them all. It remains liquid so there is no risk of it turning solid or drying out, which also confirms the long-running effectiveness.
Does this product work on big-headed ants?
It will work only if the ants actually eat the bait and as this is a sweet bait, chances are high that even big-headed ants will consume it. However, if you want to increase the chances of killing big-headed ants then you should try using Fire ant baits.
Is this ant bait safe to use in a house with pets?
The product itself is not going to cause any life threatening harm to your pets but we would still suggest that you keep it out of their reach. Try placing the bait stations some place your dog or cat does not normally have access to.
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Syngenta - TRTD11568 - Optigard Ant Bait Gel
With the Optigard ant gel bait, you can effectively and quickly tackle all ant problems in your home. This gel formula ant bait is not designed for only a single type of the pest but can be used to kill a wide range of ants.
However, if you are facing problems with fire, pharaoh or harvester ants then this product may not be what you are looking for. Made from sugar-based ingredients, this gel ant bait will attract a number of ants so you can be sure of its effectiveness.
It is also going to be easy for ants to carry back the bait to the rest of the colony as the formula can easily be picked up and transferred by the worker ants. You must apply the gel to all cracks and crevices inside or outside the house where you think the ants make their trails.
The ‘sweetness’ is said to remain intact for up to two weeks which gives enough time for the product to work on the entire any colony.
Will the gel drip if I apply it to the ceiling?
No, it will not drip as it uses a gel formula that has a thick consistency. Ants also find it easier to carry back the product to the colony due to its consistency.
Can the Optigard be used to kill termites too?
The effectiveness of this product on termites is not known as it is a formula created to kill ants. As termites feed on cellulose, chances are that they will not be attracted to ant baits.
What we liked
What we didn’t like
BASF 396153 Advance Granular Carpenter Ant Bait
If you haven’t had much luck with spray pesticides, then you must try out this granular formula ant bait. This product works best on large ants, but will also work on several other types of ants too, particularly carpenter ants.
You only need to place the bait in little amounts to attract the worker ants and then watch as the ants carry the bait back to their nests to feed the rest of the colony.
You can apply this around the infested area and along any trails you notice. According to a few customer reviews, the product has a bit of an odd smell but nothing too strong or unbearable.
Can this product be used near trees?
Yes, if you see any trails near the trees outside your home then you can sprinkle the product around the trees.
What is the shelf life of this product?
Around 3 to 5 years, depending on the storage conditions.
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Advion Ant Bait Stations
The Advion Ant Bait Stations are ready to use bait stations that you can place anywhere around the house where you see ant trails. The indoxacarb in the insecticide is a slow working poison that allows ants the time to feed on the bait and also carry some to the colony and the queen.
You can use these baits to control and manage foraging ants, including fire and harvester ants. While placing these baits, make sure not to use any other pesticides near-by that could alter the behavior of foraging ants and drive them away from the ants.
How long will the bait last inside the zip lock bag?
According to the manufacturers, the baits should last approx 2-3 months before they will need to be replaced.
How well do they work on carpenter ants?
This product has mixed reviews from customers when it comes to controlling carpenter ants. So the results will vary.
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Terro T334 Multi-Surface Liquid Ant Bait Stations
The Terro multi-surface liquid ant bait stations come in a pack of 5, with 4 bait stations in each pack. You can place the bait stations on floors or stick them on walls using the adhesive strip that is included. If you have children or pets in the house, then this will ensure that the bait stations are not within reach.
The liquid bait attracts a variety of ants and works its poison a slow and steady manner, killing all the ants that consume it. If you don’t like the sight of ant baits around the house, then you will love the design of this product.
The stations are stylishly designed and come in two colors- beige and white, allowing you to match them to the wall or surrounding of your home.
Will this product kill carpenter ants?
This product is not recommended for carpenter ants.
Is it safe to place the stations in kitchen cabinets?
Yes, they are absolutely safe.
What we liked
What we didn’t like
Our Last Opinion
Commercial ant baits are known to work faster and better at killing ants and preventing future infestations. Because these baits usually contain slow-working poison, the chances of worker ants carrying back the poison and feeding the entire colony, as well as the queen, is quite high.
All the products reviewed above work in a similar manner but the results may vary depending on the severity of the infestation.