Arm your­self against ants

Fight the good fight against this yard en­emy

The Covington News - - Agriculture & Outdoors -

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.

Search out­doors

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.

Out­door bait

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.

Out­side opin­ion

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.

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