Choosing the best bait for ant control


March 26, 2019

Dr. Jamel Sandidge, BCE Research Entomologist, Rockwell Laboratories

Dr. Jamel Sandidge, BCE, Research Entomologist, Rockwell Laboratories

Ant baits have become a major tool in the battle against structure-invading ants. But how do you choose the best bait for the situation? As a pest management professional (PMP), I used a technique I called the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Test”: Some ants prefer sweets/carbohydrates (the jelly), while others prefer fats and proteins (the peanut butter). Many ants switch from one source to the next, depending on the needs of the colony. It can be a predictable seasonal preference, or a rapid switch to take advantage of a new food source.

How do you determine what the colony needs? Ant species identification is the first major key, but often this will only reveal the general preferences of the species — leaving the question, what bait do I choose? Thus, carrying baits that contain a source of protein and fats, in addition to sweet baits containing primarily sugar and carbohydrates, is essential. Test the colony by placing small portions of each bait near the workers. Continue your inspection, then return after a few minutes to see whether a clear choice has been made. Adding a perimeter granular bait that contains fats, oils, sugars and protein also will provide a selection that even the pickiest ant colony will likely accept.


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