The Q&A Archives: ants

Question: Thank you for your prompt reply concerning ants in my garden. What would you suggest to use to kill these ants? Thank you.
J. Smith

Answer: I'd suggesting using baits. Baits are insecticides mixed with materials that attract worker ants looking for food. They are a key tool for managing ants and the only type of insecticide recommended in most situations. Ants are attracted to the bait and recruit other workers to it. Workers carry small portions of the bait back to the nest where it is transferred mouth-to-mouth to other workers, larvae, and queens and other reproductive forms to kill the entire colony. Bait products must be slow-acting so that the foraging ants have time to make their way back to the nest and feed other members of the colony before they are killed. When properly used, baits are more effective and safer than sprays.

Baits are available in several different forms. The most readily available forms are solids or liquids that are prepackaged into ant stakes or small plastic bait station containers. These products are easy to use and are quite safe if kept away from children or pets. Some brand names include Grant's Kills Ants, Combat, Maxforce Ant Killer Bait Stations, and Raid Double Control.

Place bait stations where ants can easily find them, but avoid placing them in areas that are accessible to small children and pets. Place baits near nests, on ant trails beneath plants, or along edges where ants travel. Space them every 10 to 20 feet outside around the foundation and at nest openings if they can be found. Effectiveness of baits will vary with ant species, bait material, and availability of alternative food. To achieve wide distribution of the bait so the entire colony will be killed, the bait toxicant must be slow acting. Control with baits is not immediate and may take several weeks or more to be complete.

Good luck with your project!

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