How Does Ant Bait Work?
While most people can’t tell one ant from another, there are actually dozens of species that may be found around your yard, home, and outbuildings. The most common home invaders include Argentine ants, acrobat ants, carpenter ants, fire ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, and pharaoh ants.
While that’s a big number of tiny critters, they have many things in common. Ants can contaminate your food, build mounds in your yard, and cause structural damage by hollowing out the wood in your home. Fire ants can deliver irritating stings which result in itching, burning, and swollen pustules on the skin.
Ants live together in large colonies, which may contain millions of insects. These efficient communities, full of prospective queens, larvae, and workers, are responsible for the continued existence of ants on earth. Scout ants leave the nest and wander far distances—sometimes right into your kitchen—in search of food and water to bring back to the nest. The scouts lay down a scent trail so that the workers can follow the trail between food and the nest. This ingenious system, which guarantees the colony’s survival, is also the ant’s Achilles heel when it comes to eliminating the pests from your property.
Bait stations take advantage of food-carrying ants returning to their colonies. The bait attracts the ants which feed on the insecticide within. After feeding, the workers transport the bait back to the nest. Within days, ant activity slows to a crawl and then ceases all together.
While spraying a line of ants in your kitchen with insecticide may provide temporary satisfaction, baits hit the ants where they live. This includes the spaces behind walls and cabinets, and beneath floors and concrete slabs. And according to Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky, “The more effective ant baits, sold in grocery and hardware stores, are Combat Quick Kill Formula bait stations and Combat Ant Killing Gels.” Bait stations contain a mix of insecticide and ant food confined in a plastic, child-resistant container. Place them around sites where ants are spotted and your pest problems will disappear.