Get Them While They're Young

Friday August 3, 2012


Mr Pest Control


How do you control eggs of ants before they hatch?

Estrella, FL

Mr Pest Control


Eggs of arthropods are generally tough to try to kill, but we do have some possibilities. Ant eggs, like other insect eggs, are still "breathing" and alive, so chemicals that come into direct contact with them may have the ability to get inside and disable them. We have heard from vendors selling us IGR products that these active ingredients can affect the development of flea eggs on contact, or cause the eggs produced by a female cockroach to be sterile or lower in vigor. A look at the labels of a few IGR's shows that they state they can kill or affect all stages of certain labeled insects, including the eggs. So, an IGR may be your best bet.

The problem with eggs of ants is that they are not likely to be exposed where they can be treated directly. Flea eggs are going to start on a pet, which may be treated with an IGR in Precor 2000, for example, and affected right at the beginning. The eggs fall into the carpet and may be treated with an IGR applied to that area, so we have the ability to directly treat the eggs of some pests. But, ants are somewhere down in the soil in a well protected colony, so how do we get the IGR active ingredient to them? This could occur if foraging ants were able to pick up the IGR on the surface and carry it down into the colony. I don't know that there is any evidence that liquid IGRs can adhere to the body of a foraging ant and be re-distributed to other colony members, in particular the Queens, so even if that does work I am not aware of it. 

But, some insect baits are IGRs, so that would be a possibility. Unfortunately, the only bait products I can think of that are IGRs are labeled for fire ants and a few other ants, so using them for general nuisance ant control may not be legal. A number of IGRs are labeled for exterior use for ants and other insect pests, most of these containing Nylar as the active ingredient. These are not baits, but they are labeled for use directly onto or into ant nests, and this direct application could really enhance the ability to get that IGR down into the colony where it finally will contact the eggs, larvae, or the Queen as she develops eggs. 

Mr. Pest Control

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Please note, Mr. Pest Control is answering questions supplied by PMP customers across North America. His answers are generated from industry and manufacturer-provided information. The answer may not be specific to the laws and regulations for your State, Province, Territory or Country. In addition, products mentioned may not be registered and or available in all areas. Always check with your local Univar office for specific information to your area. Always read and follow label directions.