What to Do When Ants Aren’t Taking the Bait

Whether it’s the bait, the location, or the size of the infestation causing the ants not to accept baits, these situations require PMPs to think and act strategically.

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July 29, 2019

You arrive at a property anticipating a routine ant job, and it turns out to be anything but ordinary. Your usual control methods have not worked, and you are left wondering what step to take next. Whether it’s the bait, the location or the size of the infestation causing the issue, the case requires you to dig deeper and solve the problem using another strategy. 

A common problem pest management professionals (PMPs) run encounter with ant control is ants not taking the bait they have laid out. In these situations, technicians should consider whether the bait they have chosen is meeting the colony’s nutritional needs, said Kevin LeMasters, president of EnviroPest, based in Loveland, Colo. Ants may not consume a bait if it does not contain the food sources they need during a specific time of year. When picking a bait, it is important for PMPs to consider the growth and development patterns of ants. This way, they can choose one that best appeals to them. 

As ant colonies develop in the spring, they usually look for food sources high in fats and proteins. In the summer, on the other hand, ants rely on food sources rich in carbohydrates, which they use to support their growing population. PMPs can consider these factors as they evaluate their bait options and select ones that meet the ants’ needs. However, the nutritional needs of an ant colony can change quickly, so using a bait that accounts for multiple food sources can be an effective form of treatment. Rockwell Labs’ InVict AB Insect Paste contains a mix of fats, sugars and proteins that will attract ants at various times of year.  

Another issue that causes trouble for PMPs is ants entering properties through unusual locations. Typically, ants infiltrate properties by climbing across tree branches that touch the side of a house or crawling through cracks, gaps and crevices in a building’s structure. They tend to nest in walls, wood, foam insulation and areas where water leaks have occurred. However, ants are not limited to just these entry points and can find other ways to enter a structure.  

At Peachtree Pest Control, based in Brunswick, Ga., sales manager Jeff Ford once experienced carpenter ants coming in through an unexpected location. Carpenter ants continued to appear on a property, and no one could figure out where they were entering. Technicians went out at dusk and dawn, searching for trails and signs of nests. Eventually, they discovered the strange source of the infestation: the home’s jacuzzi cover. Eliminating the ants required a combination of physical control and crack and crevice treatments.