Ants are incredibly complex social insects, requiring a sophisticated approach to their management. As such, we cannot expect to achieve acceptable levels of control unless we elevate our knowledge and efforts regarding their behavior. When assessing an ant infestation, the first step is to identify the species correctly. All ants are not created equal. Proper identification will give us the necessary information regarding food preference, harborage, trails and economic/public health impact. Taking a cookie-cutter approach to ant control is a recipe for frustration. At a minimum, knowing that ant colonies’ survival depends on the sharing of food, our default control option should be the use of as many baits as possible.
Thankfully, we have a great deal of options when it comes to ant baiting, including gels, solids, syrups, liquids and granulars containing a host of food matrices and active ingredients with multiple modes of action. Which ones we select will depend on the species, nutritional preferences, climate, season of the year and particular topography — not to mention competing food sources, harborage sites, points of entry and other conducive conditions. Did I mention that we’re dealing with complex organisms requiring advanced approaches?
Never forget that pest management is a craft that blends science, technique and due diligence. Nowhere is this more evident than in the approaches to ant management.