We spoke with eight industry suppliers to take the pulse of today’s ant control tools, and the trends that are on the horizon for pest management professionals (PMPs). Read on for their insights and announcements. We also want to know what ant service strategies you’re implementing, and what you hope to add in the near future. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMVAC Environmental Products
Dr. Charles Silcox, Product Development Manager
RECENT INNOVATION: Our Navigator SC insecticide controls ants and other pests in numerous settings and applications. Its active ingredient is fipronil, a non-repellent active ingredient belonging to the phenylpyrazole family. Formulated as a water-based suspension concentrate, Navigator SC kills and provides residual control of such ant species as acrobat, Argentine, big-headed, carpenter, crazy, odorous house, pavement, pharaoh and thief. The insecticide can be applied as a low-pressure spray dilution to the exterior of the structure where labeled pests enter and trail around the structure, or where they crawl and hide. Apply along the foundation exterior perimeter to an area 1 foot up and 1 foot out from where the ground meets the foundation. Navigator SC insecticide also may be applied as a foam treatment into wall voids to control ants and other listed pests when construction practices, soil subsidence or other factors make it difficult to establish a continuous treated zone with conventional liquid application methods.
PREDICTIONS: We foresee new bait active ingredients and formulations for ant control in the future. Ant invasions are affected by many factors, including weather conditions. To provide effective ant control, PMPs will need to consider not only which active ingredient and formulation works best, but also location, moisture and temperature.
Joe Barile, BCE, Technical Service Lead
RECENT INNOVATION: Our recent launch of Maxforce Fleet complements the full Maxforce Ant Solutions portfolio, designed to take the guesswork out of ant baiting. Our solutions address different ant species, food preferences and environments. Maxforce Fleet’s carbohydrate-rich, fipronil-based gel formulation features a thick consistency that acts quickly and lasts a long time. Also part of this portfolio of products is Maxforce Complete Granular Insect Bait, a nutrient-balanced granular formula, rich in proteins. Finally, there is Maxforce Quantum Ant Bait Gel. This carbohydrate-rich, long-lasting liquid gel formulation retains and absorbs moisture to keep it attractive to ants for longer service intervals.
PREDICTIONS: Controlling ants currently generates significant revenues for PMPs. However, with increasing scrutiny by regulators, environmental activists and the public at large, we foresee the management practices of the future may be very different from those of today. Limitations on active ingredients, as well as restrictions on non-public-health pesticide applications, will mean that the locations of treatment sites, the frequency of treating, and the total measured deposit of active ingredients on a property are going to be subject to change. To address these challenges, PMPs will have to consider adapting their service by rotating active ingredients based on seasonal ant pressures, incorporating baits into their programs and using contact granules effectively.
Control Solutions Inc.
Dr. Janis Reed, BCE, Technical Services Manager, Product Development Team
RECENT INNOVATION: CSI’s new ant and termite management solution, Fuse, features Combination Chemistry — providing two non-repellent active ingredients with two modes of action into a single formulated product. With an innovative perimeter pest application chart featuring a choice of rate and a choice of spray swath, PMPs can customize their exterior perimeter pest management strategy the way they want. CSI is constantly looking at novel, unusual and innovative ways to manage pests. Ant management is no different. With our newly installed aerosol plant, we are looking at new ready-to-use spot treatment solutions available in an aerosol can. We currently have Spectre PS, our ready-to-spray chlorfenapyr aerosol, for PMPs to use as an interior application and in limited areas outdoors. This non-repellent product is excellent for ant control, as well as other pests such as cockroaches.
PREDICTIONS: PMPs will continue to face new challenges from numerous sources. One important factor for ant management, specifically, is the introduction of non-native ant species. Tawny crazy ants, red imported fire ants, Asian needle ants and others can often be tough to control. PMPs must keep up with their identification skills and knowledge on biology and harborage. Additionally, regulations and restrictions will continue to evolve and change. PMPs need to be ever-vigilant in knowing and understanding the products and tools they choose to use. This means careful label reading and following those labels even more carefully.
Innovative Pest Control Products
Alan Bernard, Founder and Entomologist
RECENT INNOVATION: Our major focus is on nuisance ant species that have evolved to keep queen(s) hidden and safe, allowing quick replacement of foragers that may be killed by sprays, while she remains protected. Green Way Liquid Ant Bait is a slow-acting, 1 percent disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) bait that can be transported through the colony, reaching the queen(s) for effective colony elimination. Most ant problems originate outside structures, so we developed the Antopia 6 bait station to protect liquid and granular baits from rain, sprinklers and desiccation. If ants have made it into the structure, try Gourmet Ant Bait Gel — a 6 percent DOT active ingredient gel bait with a stable formula that won’t become runny, even after hours in a hot service truck. To keep our baits fresh, we invented the Ant Café Refillable Insect Bait Station, which holds just 0.25 ounce of bait. The bait is protected from the environment, so it stays effective longer, while counters, cabinets, pets and children are protected from the gel. Last fall, we introduced the Ant Café Pro Bait Station. It has all the features of the original Ant Café, with improvements to the capacity (.50 ounce) and security of the bait chamber seal. We also created the Bug Bar Refillable Insect Bait Station, which can be filled with a wide range of ant or cockroach baiting products. As with our Ant Cafés, Bug Bars can be used with liquid, gel, granular or solid baits.
PREDICTIONS: Though our climate may be changing, pest ants will continue to thrive in homes. Areas of the country that were previously cooler are going to become warmer, becoming even more habitable to invasive pest species. We also will continue to see pressure from the environmental movement to limit broadcast spraying of insecticides. Therefore, we predict an uptick in the use of containerized bait placement outdoors for ant control.
Greg Baumann, VP, Technology Services & Regulatory Affairs
RECENT INNOVATION: Ants have emerged over the past five years as perhaps the most difficult pest to manage. Certainly, bed bugs have taken the industry by storm since the late 1990s, but ants still rank as a top pest in difficulty to control and most frequent calls. To answer the call, Nisus held listening sessions with PMPs to determine the best approach to ant management. Though it is no surprise, professionals determined the best approach to ants uses integrated pest management (IPM): inspection, identification, multiple pest management measures, and repeated monitoring. Nisus listened and developed DominAnt Ant Bait, available at 5.4 percent borax or 1 percent borax for large colonies such as Argentine ants, where lower concentration and more volume might be preferred. The liquid bait is formulated with a shelf-stable food matrix. In addition, Nisus developed a proprietary pre-filled ant bait station, allowing the technician to snap open the station with one hand for placement, with no tools needed. The liquid stays in the station, and its large supply reduces the need to frequently go back to replace empty stations. For a double strike, place liquids in exterior stations and place pre-filled snap open bait stations inside or outside where the ants will gain quick access.
PREDICTIONS: Nisus researchers adopt multi-year strategies to keep in tune with trends, and complement those trends with new and innovative products and delivery systems. We predict toolboxes of the future will include fewer products that require measuring, using single-service packaging, and products will have a prescribed rotation. This strategy will assure the customer there is value in hiring the professional because the industry hears the customer, reacts to their needs and provides knowledge through the proper use of innovative products. In turn, this will show our customers the continuing value of our industry.
Dr. Cisse Spragins, Founder and CEO
RECENT INNOVATION: Rockwell offers a comprehensive selection of products to control ants. Our leading product is InTice 10 Perimeter Bait (pictured), which is widely used as part of a standard perimeter service to control ants and other insects, prevent infestations and reduce callbacks — particularly for ants, which are often a leading cause of callbacks. InTice 10 is a boric acid granular bait with an exclusive, 10 percent active level that reduces cost and increases potency. It lasts for up to 90 days outdoors. We also offer gel baits, namely InVict AB, which is ideal for spring ant baiting, and the preferred choice for protein/oil feeding ants year round; and our patent-pending InTice Gelanimo, which is a unique rigid hydrogel featuring all the benefits of sweet liquid ant baits, without the risk of spilling or ants drowning in it. Our EcoVia line offers green spray options for kill and repellency. And our non-repellent dusts, BorActin (boric acid) and CimeXa (silica) provide additional options for long-residual ant control.
PREDICTIONS: Ants are the leading pest PMPs encounter in most areas of the U.S. With numerous species of pest ants, the observed adaptation of species like odorous house ants to form massive colonies in suburban environments, and various invasive ant species, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Consumer demand and environmental regulations are driving growth in the market for green treatment options. I think we’ll see increasing use of existing green options, as well as the emergence of innovative new approaches outside of traditional synthetic chemistry.
Dr. Eric Paysen, Technical Services Manager, Professional Pest Management
RECENT INNOVATION: Syngenta offers a full, diversified line of ant control products. Advion Ant (pictured) and Optigard Ant gel baits are specially formulated for maximum palatability and effective active ingredient delivery deep within ant colonies. Their differentiated food-based formulations can complement each other as part of a sweet-feeding ant bait treatment protocol. Advion fire ant bait, while specifically formulated for fire ants, also has high efficacy against other lipid-feeding ants, like big-headed ants. In the residual spray category, Optigard Flex and Tandem insecticides are good choices for early-season ant management. They provide systemic uptake in vegetation to manage honeydew-producing ant food sources like aphids, as well as the trailing ants themselves. Additionally, Arilon insecticide is a water-dispersible granule that contains the active ingredient indoxacarb, which can effectively control large super-colony species like Argentine ants with low toxicity to non-target insects. For perimeter ants, Demand CS insecticide can provide long-term residual control and high ant mortality in a microencapsulated formulation.
PREDICTIONS: In ant management, there is no “one-size-fits-all” protocol across species or regions. As these pests continue to be one of the top challenges and opportunities for PMPs across the country, we’re seeing companies raising the bar on their ant management skill sets. For example, technicians are becoming more proficient with ant identification and tailoring treatments to particular species and habitats. I expect more companies will start to realize the potential profits that their local expertise can yield.
Mel Whitson, Senior Field Technical Services Manager
RECENT INNOVATION: One of our most innovative ant control solutions is Zenprox Xtend Aerosol. It combines the protection of etofenprox with the long-lasting defense of (S)-methoprene to knock down pests and prevent future infestations. Zenprox Xtend Aerosol can be used as a broadcast spray, crack-and-crevice spray or void treatment. We recommend treating window casings, doorways and under doorways and baseboards to eliminate entry points for ants and pest sightings. Great for indoors and outdoors, the broad label controls more than 20 pests, making it a well-rounded tool for PMPs. Nuisance ant control is important to home and business owners alike. With ants making their way inside buildings while foraging for food, we know the challenges facing PMPs when ant infestations are severe. We’re always looking into new solutions for the marketplace, including some new options for ant control.
PREDICTIONS: Proper ant identification is vital to effective treatment. As the market has adapted to the increased number of imported ant species in the U.S., such as the ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) and pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), individual species of ants have products tailored to controlling them. I foresee an increase in options for species-specific products, and a larger variety in granule size to fit the needs of controlling single species.
*FEATURED PHOTO: DR. GERRY WEGNER