Hi, my daughter lives in an apt. in Houston, TX. She came home from a camping trip to find her kitchen swarming with little, brown ants. She called me saying it looked like “an infestation”! She had left her lunch box out on the counter and unfortunately they found it. Prior to this, she had only seem a few random ants in her bathroom. Obviously, she will report this to the apt. complex. But since she cannot legally spray the whole building and its perimeter, what (if anything) can she do in her own apartment to keep the ants out of her living space? Here’s her description as the attached photos are not that great: They have brown heads and the rest of their bodies are alternating stripes of light tan and brown. They are very small, and their butt piece is the largest of the 3 sections.
Believe it or not, this is an easy one. In most cases, its best if you can treat around the structures exterior as explained in our ANT CONTROL article. But this is generally not possible when the structure is an apartment. Furthermore, you won’t have access to all the other apartments and there could ver well be nests in several. The good news is you can still control them in your daughters unit and keep them from returning.
The key is to use a “non repellent” strategy. Generally can be done with bait and one of the new actives we have in the pest control industry. With the bait, Ants foraging into the apartment will find the offering, feed and die. But we’ve learned this will rarely kill the entire nest so in most cases, the ants would just keep coming back over and over so the problem rarely goes away for good when using nothing but bait or bait stations.
But a few years ago the latest generation of chemicals hit the market which are undetectable by insects. This means they’ll readily walk on the treatment, pick up a lethal dose and die within a few days of getting exposed. Combine this type of chemical with a good gel bait and you can control the active ants and keep them from returning. This happens because once they learn they keep dying upon entering the treated apartment, they’ll eventually learn to avoid it.
So to start, treat all baseboards, cracks and crevices around countertops and basically all areas where the ants have been seen or thought to be hiding. Use PHANTOM AEROSOL which is one of the new chemicals aforementioned. This low odor, non repellent spray won’t kill them when you treat. But don’t panic; this is very much by design.
Ants which walk over the treatment will be picking up the chemical and transferring it to other members in their colony when they return to their nest. After 3-4 days, the active will “turn on” and when it does, many more ants will die besides the one which touched the treatment. For this reason it can have a big impact.
One can should be enough to treat the average 1500 sq/ft apartment at least twice; retreat once every 2 weeks if you still see them after the initial application. Once they’re under control, treat every 3 months to insure they don’t come back.
The day after you spray the Phantom, bait these same areas with ANT GEL. This will be accepted by foraging ants still active in the apartment following the spray. Placements need to be small, about the size of a grain of rice, and the average apartment should only require 1/2 tube of gel per treatment. Use this once a week when ants are active; once they ‘re gone, treat once every 3 months to insure they don’t come back.
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