Bait formulations clearly have demonstrated value to PMPs, not solely from the efficacy they deliver, but also by meeting requirements of a changing marketplace of political and regulatory trends. By definition, baits combine an active ingredient with an attractive food source. Natural foraging behavior provides a window of opportunity for a PMP, to provide invading ants with a resource that will be collected and purposefully returned and shared with colony mates. The result is forcing the ants to deliver the controlling insecticide themselves.
However, field experience taught us making ants harvest a bait — in sufficient quantities to reach the critical colony members (queens and brood) — isn’t as easy as it seems. Ants have specific biological requirements that dictate what and when different types of foods are collected.
Ant species identification is the fundamental first step in management. Feeding preferences and foraging behaviors should be researched for the local species challenging PMPs. These behaviors must be considered when choosing a bait. An effective active ingredient won’t perform if the bait matrix (food/water/attractants) doesn’t match the foraging needs of the colony.