How do ant baits work?

Ants feeding on ant gel bait image

Ants are one of the more annoying insect pests. For anyone who has tried to eliminate an ant problem by using aerosols, you will know that they might kill the ants you spray, but it’s not long before they are replaced by their nest mates and the problem returns. 

To get lasting control of ants, it’s necessary to kill the queen in the nest, as well as the foragers, so that the colony is completely destroyed. In many cases the best way to do this is to use ant baits, which is why here at AllPro Pest Control we use ant baits in many of our ant control treatments.

However, it’s important to understand how ant baits work, so you can understand what to expect during an ant bait treatment.

Kill the queen, kill the colony

Ant baits consist of an attractive food component and a slow acting insecticide. Ants are attracted to the bait and take the bait back to the nest, where it is fed to other nest mates including the queen. The bait needs to be slow acting to ensure it is spread around the nest before it starts to have an effect and they realise something is wrong. Killing the queen is vital as without the queen – the egg laying machine – no more eggs can be laid, so even if a few foragers survive, the nest will still die out.

… but some nests have more than one queen!

But ant control is never that easy! The different ant species have different colony structures – some have more than one queen in the same nest and others (the hardest to control) have multiple queens in multiple nests, all part of the same colony. 

To eliminate the problem for good it’s necessary to kill all the queens. For large nests with multiple queens it means applying a large amount of bait. For some of the invasive ant species with multiple nests as part of the same colony, which can infest large areas, it is unlikely you will ever eliminate the problem. In such situations a combination of baits and sprays can be used to supress the problem.

Choosing the right bait

The other challenge in using baits in ant control, is that the different ant species have different food preferences, and these preferences change at different times during the year. AllPro Pest control access a range of professional ant baits and select the most appropriate bait for the ant species present – ensuring the ant bait is attractive to the species present and quickly taken back to the nest, is vital for quick control.

Ants feeding on ant gel bait image
Ants feeding on sugar based ant gel bait
Ants moving ant bait granules image
Ants taking protein and oil bait granules back to the nest

How long do ant baits take to work?

Although everyone wants their ant problem eliminated immediately, using baits to eliminate the colony takes a bit of time. Although you can see a drop in foraging ant activity within 24 hours of baits being places, it can take 1-3 days for small nests to be eliminated and 1-2 weeks for large nests. 

Whilst we use our expertise to apply the correct amount of bait for the size of the infestation, for severe infestations sometimes a second application may be necessary to ensure all queens have received a lethal dose.

Achieving lasting protection from ants, requires knowledge and access to a range of ant baits and specialist spray options, which is why it is generally a struggle for anyone attempting a DIY ant treatment. If you suffering from an annoying ant problem inside your home or in your yard, call the experts at AllPro Pest Control.