How Ant Baits Work To Get Rid of Ants
Making Your Own Ant Bait
If ants are nesting inside your home, the only real way to get rid of them is to use ant baits that will kill the entire colony at their nest. The main targets are the queens which are the core of reproduction. Most ants that come into or infest homes will usually be among Odorous, Pharaoh, Pavement or Argentine Ants.
Most people will not know the difference among those types of ants. They are all very small ranging from 1/16" to 1/8" long and in various colors from light brown to reddish-brown and black. Many refer to them collectively as simply sugar ants or little black ants. They all have similar habits and characteristics.
Why Ant Baits Are Most Effective
Don't waste your time squishing ants or spraying them with typical aerosol cans of insecticide. You will only be killing ants that you see. There will be thousands more in their nest. Some types of ants have multiple queens in a nest and will likely produce replacements faster than you can kill the ones you see.
If you expect to get rid of an infestation of ants, you must kill the entire colonies in their nests where they harbor. The queens are the primary target for obvious reasons. Ant baits are the only way to accomplish this.
Ant baits are a mixture of a food attractant combined with a lesser volume of slow-acting insecticide. Food entices ants. The insecticide is a delayed-kill. The bait is taken back to the nest where it infects the entire colony including the queens.
What Comprises An Ant Bait
Since some ants prefer sweets while others prefer oily or greasy foods. You can either perform a "survey test" or create a variety of baits to cover all bases. We'll discuss that a a bit later.
Use "boric acid" as the active insecticide. It is minimally toxic and very safe to people and pets when used as directed. It is not much more toxic than regular table salt and is available at most hardware stores. Always read the label for cautionary statements.
Boric acid acts as a stomach toxin on ants and even other insects. including cockroaches. Once ingested, it is slow-acting but results in the deaths of ants that consume it.
How To Make Homemade Ant Baits
Different types of ants may prefer differing attractants. Some ants prefer sweet foods while other like oily and greasy foods better. Check the activity on baits frequently. If one or the other seem to get greater attention, then change baits accordingly.
Increase the amount of ingredients to the projected volume needed, but keep the ratios the same. As a safety measure, use a plastic spoon and a paper plate to mix the bait ingredients and discard them when finished.
Sugar Sweet Bait (Ratio of Contents)
Oily Homemade Ant Baits (Ratio of Contents)
Best Placement of Ant Baits
Smear small amounts of the bait on small pieces of wax paper or pieces of index cards which can be taped to a surface with masking tape. Put the baits where ants have been observed and along regular trail patterns.
Use your own beginning judgements on the number of baits used. Quantity can be adjusted based upon activity and how serious your infestation may or may not be. There could be no infestation at all.
Place baits where children and pets cannot reach them. Do not put spray insecticides or house cleaning agents anywhere near the bait or along obvious ant trails. Those things will repel ants away from baits. During the day, you should begin to see ant activity within a few hours. After a few days, if activity is not obvious, consider moving the inactive baits to new possible locations.
Replace baits with a fresh batch when they begin to dry-out. You may also notice that ants are more attracted to either the sweet or oily baits. Switch out accordingly. If you are heavily infested, you should begin to notice a reduction of ants. Continue placing baits until all activity has ceased.
Ant Survey Test
If you are not sure whether ants are infested indoors or outdoors, perform a survey test. Put a ribbon of jelly on pieces of masking tape about 1/4" x 1 1/2" in a few suspected places especially near water sources and window ledges.
If you have ants nearby, you should notice activity in a few hours. If ants are observed feeding at those test locations, then replace the test samples with the actual ant bait. Ants can be nesting inside or coming in from outside. Either way, you should use the baits to kill the colony(s) wherever they are located whether it is inside or outside.
More Ant Related Information
How To Make and Use Homemade Ant Baits