[Ant Control Issue] Customer Communication

Features - Cover Feature: Ant Control Issue

Looking for some advice for your customer on their indoor ant problem? Here are 14 tips to help them help you.


Editor’s Note: The following was adapted from Techletter, a biweekly publication from Pinto & Associates, Mechanicsville, Md. To subscribe, visit www.techletter.com or call 301/884-3020.

Ants found indoors may be nesting in the structure itself or they may just be coming indoors looking for food or water. Whatever the case, there are certain steps your customer can take that will help with your ant control program:

1. Most ants feed on sweets or meats and greases. Wipe up spills immediately. Clean crumbs and drips from shelves, counters and floors. Don’t overlook hidden areas such as stove vents and drip pans that collect grease.

2. Don’t leave open containers of sugar, honey, butter or snacks on counters or tables.

3. Put leftover food away in sealed containers. Food in cardboard boxes or plastic bags should be transferred into glass, metal or plastic containers with tight lids.

4. Leave pet food out only briefly, then remove it.

5. Remove piles of papers or stacked bags, which can provide ant nesting sites.

6. To keep ants from crawling up kitchen tables or other standing objects, place double-sided sticky tape around the legs.

7. Do not use insecticides or strong cleaners near areas that have been baited or sprayed for ants.

8. Store household garbage away from ant-infested sites in sealed bags and containers. Empty the garbage frequently.

9. Rinse food containers for the garbage and containers for recycling before tossing them into the bin.

10. Eliminate excess moisture. Repair leaky faucets and roof leaks. Replace wet and rotting wood.

11. If you can, follow the ant trail to the point where it enters your house. Then caulk cracks, add weather stripping to doors and take other measures to eliminate ant entrance points.

12. Many ants co-exist with aphids, feeding on the sugary “honeydew” the aphids secrete. Make sure that there are no plants with aphids indoors or against the building.

13. Check cut flowers for ants before bringing them indoors. Ants may take up residence inside a potted plant. Place it outdoors and soak it repeatedly with water to force them out.

14. Bring in only small quantities of firewood at a time to avoid bringing in overwintering ants.


Where to Place Indoor Ant Baits

Both Pharaoh ants and Argentine ants are difficult to control indoors. Both can have multiple colonies and multiple queens within each colony. Inecticide sprays or dusts often trigger a colony to break into smaller colonies, making control even more difficult. That’s why baiting is an effective control method.

No matter which indoor bait formulation you choose, it’s important to know where to place it. In addition to baiting wherever ants have been seen, try bait near these locations as well:

Water sources. Around sinks, tubs, toilets, water fountains, air conditioners, dishwashers, potted plants, aquariums and in laundry rooms.

Food sources. Near pet food, kitchen counters, stoves, pantry shelves, microwaves, vending areas, break areas and on windowsills where ants feed on dead insects.

Heat sources. Near light fixtures, electrical boxes, heat ducts, hot water heaters, radiators and near appliances such as refrigerators.

Check and replace baits often. Move baits that have no activity. If you’re dealing with an extensive infestation, surveying and prebaiting with a non-toxic bait will save time and the unnecessary use of bait. Once you’re satisfied that you have a number of active baiting sites, replace your food baits with an active bait formulation. Source: Pinto & Associates


Louisiana Obtains Special Label for Crazy Ant Control

Louisianans battling crazy ants now have a new weapon with the announcement of a special label to use the insecticide Termidor on crazy ants in Louisiana, according to LSU AgCenter entomologist Dennis Ring.

The U.S. EPA-approved label allows for 0.06 percent Termidor SC treatment 3 feet up the side of structure and 10 feet out from the foundation, Ring said. It also provides for a 10-foot radius treatment around electrical equipment and similar utility installations to help protect any electrical apparatus from shorting out.

Paratrechina longicornis (Photo: Eli Sarnat, USDA Identification Technology Program, http://itp.lucidcentral.org/id/ant/pia/, bugwood.org)

The label, which is valid for five years, allows for up to two applications per year at least 60 days apart. Approval is for all parishes in Louisiana.

“Timing is important,” Ring said. He recommends the first treatment in spring when ants appear in large numbers and the second treatment “when they come back.”

Crazy ants “nest under anything that holds moisture,” Ring said. “People need to get things off the ground — including planters, yard toys and that sort of thing — even plastic bags.”

The ants are a nuisance pest, he said. They don’t sting, but they do bite.

Commonly known as the Rasberry crazy ant or hairy crazy ant, their numbers build up and may become a great nuisance to homeowners, Ring said.

“If you walk among them when numbers are high, in three to five seconds hundreds of ants can get on you,” he said.

Crazy ants displace everything, including fire ants, Ring said. “But people who have this ant want their fire ants back. They’re that much of a problem.”

The ants, which came to the United States from South America, spread naturally, but they are moved much more rapidly through the actions of humans. They may be moved in any material or container that is infested.

“It is extremely important that these ants are not moved into new areas,” Ring said. “Carefully inspect incoming materials to make sure they aren’t moved.” Source: LSU AgCenter, 12/11/12