As a group, ants are often the number one pest encountered and the number one cause of callbacks. There are many variables to consider when picking the best ant bait for your operation, but choosing a bait is only half the battle. As good as today’s ant baits are, they still have to be applied in the correct environment and match the ant food preference or they will not bring satisfactory results.
First and foremost it’s important to correctly identify the ant species you’re dealing with. Misidentification or, more frequently, no identification, almost always results in unsatisfactory results. Once the pest is correctly identified, a PMP can find out what type of food source is most attractive.
The time of year is also important to consider. Most ant species go through food preference shifts during the year. In the spring and early summer proteins are often most effective because the queens (s) need the nutrition provided by proteins to create eggs. In the middle of the summer and fall, however, many ants prefer carbohydrates, especially in a true liquid, thick liquid or gel. By then, the queens have produced all or most of the eggs they will need for the year and carbohydrates are more efficient sources of food.
Environmental factors must be taken into account as well, rain being the biggest factor. The baits themselves are food ingredients and should be thought of as such. No ant bait, regardless of formulation should be placed unprotected where rain can ruin and/or wash off the substance. Some granular baits claim to be able to withstand multiple inches of rain without degradation, but the active ingredients are very water soluble and will wash off almost immediately. Thus, many PMPs think using a more “durable” bait as being sound science when, in fact, they are just feeding the ants a free meal after the active ingredient is washed off in the rain or irrigation.
Heat is also an important environmental factor, but that affects primarily storage conditions rather than applications. Many ant baits, particularly the true liquids and some of the gels can suffer rapid degradation when stored in the vehicle during the summer months. It is easy, however, to bring the baits into the office for overnight storage which may help prolong the effective life of the product.
Maxforce Ant Solutions from Bayer address different ant species, food preferences and environment.
• Maxforce Quantum is a long-lasting liquid gel formulation, rich in carbohydrates
• Maxforce Complete is a nutrient-balanced granule formulation, rich in proteins.
• Maxforce Fleet – the latest ant management solution from Bayer - offers fast colony control in a moist, thicker gel bait formulation.
For more tips and information on effective ant management, visit environmentalscience.bayer.us/ maxforce-ant-solutions.
Footnote: This advertorial was adapted from an article that previously appeared in PCT magazine based on a five-question interview with Dr. John Paige III, Senior Scientist with Bayer.