- WHERE DO ANTS LIVE?
- WHAT KIND OF ANTS DO YOU HAVE?
- WHERE DO ANTS NEST?
- FIRST BAIT INSIDE THE HOME
- STOP SPRAYING TRADITIONAL “READY TO USE” LIQUIDS OR AEROSOLS
- NEXT SPRAY INSIDE THE HOME
- NOW SPRAY OUTSIDE THE HOME
- BAIT THE YARD WITH MAXFORCE GRANULES
- SUMMARY OF “2 PRONG APPROACH” FOR CONTROLLING ANTS
- CONTACT US
Ants are one of the most common and persistent pests found in and around homes. This article will explain how you can get rid of ants once and for all. The “secret” is using a combination of non-repelling sprays and ant bait. This approach will work on any species of ant but equally important is to make sure you treat all areas of your property. So if the ants are in the home, you’ll need to bait inside but then also treat the outside. Failure to address the outside will only lead to more getting into the home which is why most ant problems resurface throughout the year.
WHERE DO ANTS LIVE? ^
In general, most all ant species originate from outside. Once established around the yard, its just a matter of time before they end up on the home and ultimately, inside.
Ants will readily live under concrete, rocks and other debris and can go unnoticed for a long time. To successfully control ants, one must pay attention to all areas of their property because unlike most crawling pests, ants have a “long reach” and can be a problem inside a house even though their main nest could be hundreds of feet away.
WHAT KIND OF ANTS DO YOU HAVE? ^
Ants come in all sizes and shapes and though we have a wide range of species here in the states, knowing the exact species is rarely important. CARPENTER ANTS can require a different set of products to control a local problem but for all other species, the process outlined below will work and get rid of them within 1-2 weeks.
Now if you would like us to identify your ant, send us a sample. The most common ant species we see on a regular basis include the following: acrobat, allegheny, argentine, bigheaded, carpenter, citronella, cornfield, crazy, cut, false honey, field, fire, flying, fungus, ghost, harvester, honey, larger yellow, leafcutting, little black, little fire, night, odorous house, parasol, park, pavement, pharaoh, pyramid, red imported, red town, small honey, southern fire, thief, velvet, velvety tree and whitefooted species.
WHAT DO ANTS EAT? ^
Ant eat most anything organic but in general, their diets will target either protein or carbohydrate based food. This food can be in the form of what we like to eat or it could be something like a dead animal. Essentially ants are “programmed” to seek that which the nest needs. Once a target food is found, they will establish scent trails used to guide foraging workers. Once the trails are in place, they will be seen relentlessly moving to where they found their target. And though removing the active ants and food supply might slow them down, they will find something else and reappear elsewhere until they are dealt with as explained below.
WHY ARE ANTS A PROBLEM? ^
Ants are a problem when active around people for several reasons.
The main reason we don’t want ants in the home is because they will carry a range of bacteria and germs. Like roaches, ants routinely forage around germs and bacteria. In turn they will pick some up and once in the home, they will leave some of these germs where they hunt for food.
Most ants will bite if provoked and many can sting. For this reason they should not be handled. Conflict with ants is inevitable once they’re in the home and if you accidentally sit on some or find them trailing in your bed, they will get aggressive.
Lastly, seeing ants in your food or on the counter is unsettling and like any other pest related problem, unappealing and offensive.
WHERE DO ANTS NEST? ^
Ant nests can be difficult to find. And for the most part, they can nest anywhere. In the yard, common nest sites will usually be above water lines to avoid floods. So they could be on the bark of a tree, mixed in with rocks, in a mailbox or maybe in the woodwork of your deck or fence.
On the home, they’ll readily nest in the siding, around windows, around doors or under cement slabs.
Once on the home, they’ll establish “scent trails” used to navigate inside. And if they find food inside, its just a matter of time before they set up new “nests”. These won’t be main nests but what we call satellite nests. These satellite nests will be linked to the main nest so even if you do find the location and kill it, more will come in from outside once the main nest learns their sub-colony has been destroyed.
KNOWING WHERE ANTS NEST IS NOT IMPORTANT ^
For this reason, there is no value in knowing where ant nests might be. This is true since so many species will have several nests and because they’ll just replenish the ones you kill if you can find a nest site, the problem will continue. In fact this scenario will play out over and over during the warm season unless you use the right combination of products and a “shotgun approach” when treating. This method will allow the treatments to infiltrate all the related nests in the network and once the actives get embedded within their related nests, they will not be able to rebound and repopulate – even if the nest is located on another property.
TO END ANT INFESTATIONS, YOU NEED TO “PUT A FORK IN IT” ^
Ultimately, if you want to get rid of all the ants on your property, you’ll have to “put a fork in it”. And to accomplish that goal, you’ll need to employ our “2 Prong Approach”.
This approach will involve the use of special ant bait and ant spray. And it will involve both inside and outside treatments. For long lasting ant control no matter where they’re nesting or what species you have active, one must be thorough.
SO IF YOU WANT TO GET RID OF ALL THE ANTS ON YOUR PROPERTY FOR GOOD, FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES DETAILED BELOW.
FIRST BAIT INSIDE THE HOME ^
For most people reading this article, the first step to solving an ant problem is to bait inside the home. The author states this because most people don’t take action until they have ants active inside. But if you don’t have any inside yet, you can proceed to the section below which discusses what you need to do outside because ultimately, controlling ants outside will keep them from getting inside.
STOP SPRAYING TRADITIONAL “READY TO USE” LIQUIDS OR AEROSOLS ^
The first step is stop doing what isn’t working. That means do not apply anything purchased at your local garden center or other “big box” retail outlet. Such products might kill the ants you spray directly. But these represent a very small percent of the colony and will be replaced as fast as you kill them.
Next, wipe up where you’ve been spraying to remove the contaminates and other “repellent” chemicals found in traditional sprays. Use nothing but water (no detergent) to clean all surfaces. Traditional ant spray will scatter ants which is the worse scenario possible. Ants forced to scatter will often times “bud” and form new nests which just complicates the process.
Next, do not vacuum ants you see active. Instead, think of them as little “agents” you’ll be hiring to help distribute all the bait and spray you’re about to apply.
So before you begin, make sure all the old spray (and old bait) has been cleaned up and removed. Now you can get started..
WHAT IS THE BEST ANT BAIT TO USE? ^
We carry a wide range of ant bait and for the most part, they’re all effective. These baits have been created for professionals so they’re tested afield and only come to market if they work. That being said, there is no need to use them all. So based on the results we’ve seen over the years, we have identified two baits which work well attracting any species of ant. But you must use them at the same time and you must make placements where you see ants foraging.
These areas will be on countertops, in cabinets and along baseboards where ants are seen foraging.
The first of these baits is the DUAL CHOICE BAIT STATIONS. These are well suited for both sugar and protein feeding ants. The bait contained inside is split up so that there is effectively two “flavors” inside. This means no matter what your ants want to eat, the Dual Choice will have it covered.
Place stations out on countertops, in cabinets and basically anywhere ants are active. Space the stations about 5-10 feet apart and replace them as they empty. We’ve seen them get preyed upon and emptied in less than a week so inspect them daily to make sure you renew any that get cleaned out. But the more common result is to see a bunch of ants feed for 1-3 days and then back off. This is perfectly normal and stations with partially consumed bait will still work fine for 2-3 months as long as contain material inside.
Sold in 12 packs, plan on placing out at least 6 stations to start. And if you’re home is large with activity in several rooms, plan on using 3-6 stations a room.
THE BEST ANT GEL BAIT ^
The second bait to use in conjunction with Dual Choice is MAXFORCE ANT GEL. Gel baits are extra attractive to foraging ants since they’re moist. Maxforce uses a slow acting ingredient which takes 2-3 days to kick in and impact feeding ants. This ensures the bait is brought back to the nest and “shared” with other ants so that when it starts to work, it will kill many more than just the original ants which fed on it.
Each tube is 1 oz and you should plan on applying 1/2 of the tube in areas close to where you apply the Dual Choice stations. Placements should be spread apart by 2-3 feet and you only need to squeeze out small dabs, about the size of a grain of rice, where ants have been seen. If they’re in the area, they will find your placement within a day or two.
Once in place, monitor the bait daily and renew if its removed as needed until all ants in the home are gone.
For more “secure” placements, use REFILLABLE BAIT STATIONS to make your placements. These discs measure just 2.5″ wide, come apart easily and will hold plenty of gel or granules. They’re not tamperproof but they will protect the bait from dust and even most outside variables like rain allowing you to keep your gel fresh longer.
Here is a video showing ants feeding on the Maxforce Gel
ANT BAIT KIT FOR INSIDE THE HOME ^
If you’re just getting started with ant control in your home, get the DUAL CHOICE STATION ANT GEL KIT. This combines the Dual Choice 12 pack of stations with a tube of Maxforce Ant Gel so you’ll be all set for any ant in the home.
NEXT SPRAY INSIDE THE HOME ^
In general, the use of the ant bait above will usually be all that’s needed for inside the home. But as explained, the “shotgun” approach for treating ant infestations is best. And to use this method means treating all parts of the home even if you don’t see ants active. Often times ants will move through parts of the home unseen but if you have these areas protected, you will ensure they don’t continue to nest somewhere you haven’t baited.
So to make sure you don’t miss any part of the home, either bait all rooms or spray all baseboards with the non-repellent and “stealthy” ALPINE AEROSOL.
Alpine is well suited for us on ants because it will not be detected by foraging ants. They’ll readily walk over treated surfaces, pick up small amounts of the active and eventually bring it back to the nest where it will be “shared” with other members of their colony.
Alpine doesn’t work quickly; like the ant baits above, it will take 2-3 days for the active ingredient to “kick in” and start working. But by the time it starts to take effect, it will be too late for the affected nest.
Remember, ants will not die when directly sprayed so do not expect to see ants roll up and die if you spray any when you perform an application.
A single can of Alpine is ideally suited for treating all cracks and crevices where ants might be hiding. Treat around window frames, molding, baseboards, etc. Renew treatments every 2 weeks when ants are active; treat once every 1-2 months to ensure they don’t come back inside.
BEST ANT SPRAY LIQUID FOR INSIDE THE HOME ^
If you have a large home to treat and find the Alpine hard to use efficiently, go with a liquid. OPTIGARD uses another non-repellent active ingredient (like the Alpine) so it won’t spook the ants. And since its non-repelling, it won’t contaminate the baits either.
Add 1/2 oz of Optigard per gallon of water and expect to spray about 1/2 to 1 gallon along baseboards, door ways and windows where ants might establish scent trails. Optigard will last longer compared to Alpine so you only need to use it once a month when ants are active. Once gone, treat every 3 months for ongoing maintenance.
You’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to apply the Optigard and remember, its a non-repellent so make sure the sprayer you use is clean. Old pesticide, herbicide or some other spray will contaminate the Optigard and render it useless so its critical you use a good clean sprayer.
NOW SPRAY OUTSIDE THE HOME ^
Now that the inside has been baited and sprayed, its time to move outside and get ants where they originate – at the source!
FIRST SPRAY THE FOUNDATION WITH OPTIGARD ^
To start, treat the foundation of your home with the OPTIGARD listed above. And if you’re not planning on spraying inside with Optigard, use the PROTHOR or SYSTEMIC RTS listed below on your foundation. They’ll work just as well but are not designed for use inside the home like the Optigard; they’re for use outside only.
Plan on using at least 1-2 gallons and spray a “band” at least 3 feet wide along the homes perimeter. This band should be 2 feet up on the foundation coming up off the ground and then at least 1 foot out coming away from the foundation. You should also treat around windows, doors, shutters, gutters and any point of entry like where electric lines enter, AC pipes, etc.
Optigard should be applied once a month when ants are active; once every 2-3 months to ensure ants don’t come back.
SPRAY THE LAWN FOR LONG TERM ANT CONTROL
Since ants originate out in the yard before they come to your house, its imperative that you treat all grass, mulch and garden areas for long lasting control. Like the Optigard and Alpine, PROTHOR is another non-repellent ideally suited for the job.
Prothor will cover a large area effectively and only needs to be used every 2-3 months. Remember, the more area you cover means the longer lasting results you’ll achieve.
Prothor should be applied at the rate of .5 oz per 1,000 sq/ft when spraying for ants. So for a 5,000 sq/ft yard, you’ll need to use 2.5 oz of concentrate. For a 1/4 acre (roughly 10,000 sq/ft), you’ll need to use 5 oz of Prothor.
Use a good HOSE END SPRAYER to apply Prothor; with our sprayer you’ll add 2.5 oz per gallon and then fill it with water to the 5 gallon line. Next, hook it to your garden hose and spray the entire amount over 5,000 sq/ft. For a 10,000 sq/ft area, you’ll add 5 oz of Prothor to the sprayer tank and fill the sprayer to 10 gallon line.
If you have a small yard, say 5,000 sq/ft or less, you can go with SYSTEMIC RTS which uses the same active as Prothor. This package comes with its own “hose end sprayer” so you only need to hook it to a garden hose and start spraying (no mixing or other sprayer is needed).
Systemic RTS comes in quarts and one container will treat 5,000 sq/ft. One treatment should be enough for ants but you’ll want to treat once a month when ants are active; every 2-3 months to ensure they don’t come back.
BAIT THE YARD WITH MAXFORCE GRANULES ^
The last part of the “2 Prong Approach” spray and bait program is to bait the yard once the spray has dried. Since Prothor and Systemic RTS us non-repelling actives, they won’t “ruin” bait applied to the grass, flower beds, mulch areas, etc.
The best ant bait for the yard is MAXFORCE GRANULES. It uses a weather resistant protein attractant most any ant will find delicious. Both sizes come in a container you can use like a “salt shaker” so its very easy to apply.
To treat the yard, just walk around while lightly “shaking” the container. Small amounts will come out and remember, it won’t take much to get the job done. Focus on property borders, around trees or in any area known to have ant nests.
Maxforce goes a long way; use just 1 oz per 1,800 sq/ft of turf. This means for a 5,000 sq/ft yard, you’ll only need to apply about 3 oz. Use it after you spray with Prothor and retreat once every month when ants are active and every 2-3 months to ensure they don’t come back to nest.
SUMMARY OF “2 PRONG APPROACH” FOR CONTROLLING ANTS
In summary, ants can be annoying and persistent once established around the home. If given the chance, they’ll readily move onto structures and form there, inside to living areas.
Treating the inside with bait and spray will quickly get rid of active ants. But failure to treat outside means they’ll be back. To avoid having to deal with them inside throughout the warm season, treat the outside as explained above. This “2 Pronged Approach” of using both bait and spray inside and outside will control any type of ant and keep them controlled throughout the active season.
CONTACT US ^
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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