Arm yourself against ants
Fight the good fight against this yard enemy
Spring has finally sprung, and people across the country are gearing up for a season of outdoor fun. Whether you’re picnicking, barbecuing or simply soaking up some rays, nothing crashes a party like an army of ants. However, with the proper tools, getting rid of ants is safe, easy and effective, indoors and out.
“ There are two basic ways to deal with ants,” says Stewart Clark, technical director of TERRO, the country’s leading pest control manufacturer. “Aerosol sprays offer immediate, short- term results. If you’re sitting down to eat, and ants come crawling up the table, spraying them with an aerosol product will provide temporary relief by killing the ants you see. However, there are thousands of additional ants in the colony that will soon find their way to your food. For a longerterm solution, turn to an ant bait product. This will actually get rid of the entire colony.”
Ant bait is the best way to eradicate entire colonies of ants. TERRO’s liquid and granular ant baits are made with borax. This natural ingredient has a very low level of toxicity for humans but is deadly to ants. As the ant foragers from the col- ony look for food, they are attracted to the sweet food in the bait. Unwittingly, the ants consume the food and carry it back to the colony to share. The result is the elimination of the colony - and your ant problems.
Clark offers the following tips to help control these pesky invaders:
Track down the problem
First, find one of your pesky invaders. Instead of killing the ant, follow it. Since worker ants are sent out from the main colony in search of moisture and food to bring back, following an ant is a sure way to find out how they are entering the area. Look for ants that are carrying small bits of food — for this, a bright flashlight and patience are needed.
Set liquid bait inside
The first and often only treatment step needed to control ants inside is to bait the ants with liquid ant bait ( available at hardware, home improvement and lawn and garden retailers.) The sweet liquid attracts ants quickly. The ants carry the bait to the colony, and this liquid is then distributed to other ants, including the queen. Baiting is the best way to control ants — the ants do the work, and there is no need for exposure to harsh chemical insecticides.
Place a liquid ant bait station close to where ants are located indoors. Using the bait station eliminates the problem of the bait drying out and gives the ants a continuous supply of liquid, day and night. Liquid ant baits are specifically designed to kill the worker ant in two or three days. This slow kill is needed to allow time for the foraging ants to make several trips to the bait, and deliver enough bait to the rest of the colony. On days four and five, there should be a significant decrease in the number of ants visiting the bait.
When searching for ants outside the home, look for “ ant highways” or foraging trails. These trails are simply a line of marching ants that leads from their home to yours. Often, these trails are most active during the morning or evening. Walk around the perimeter of the house and carefully check for ant trails. Pull back the garden mulch, turn over rocks, or look under pieces of wood in order to locate activity. Inspect around all potential entry points including windows, doors, exhaust vents, faucets and sliding glass doors. Also check for ants trailing up the sides of the building or along gutters. Remember: leaves and tree limbs in contact with a house are always special hot spots for larger carpenter ants.
Since most indoor and outdoor infestations are linked to a colony located under- ground outside the house, baiting ants outside may help provide a long- lasting ant solution. Products such as TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits offer an easy solution. Using the same ingredients as indoor Liquid Ant Baits, Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits are specially packaged to be durable and weatherresistant enough for outdoor use.
To bait larger areas, TERRO has created a new granular Multi- Purpose Insect Bait. Packaged in an easyto- use shaker canister, the Insect Bait uses the same Borax that makes the company’s liquid baits highly effective. Simply shake the granules onto the area to be treated, and you’re done. Children and pets may enter the treatment area immediately after application, and the granules are weatherresistant. In fact, in addition to regular ants, the Insect Bait is also highly effective against carpenter ants.
If ants are still present, it may be helpful to determine what species they are. The most common pest ants found in the United States are on TERRO’s web site at www. terro. com. Or, you can mail a sample ant to the company. TERRO ant experts will identify it at no charge and help you determine an action plan. For more information, visit Ask the Expert at www. terro. com, or call the company toll- free at ( 800) 837- 7644.