An out-of-sight approach to ant baiting


June 22, 2021



Household ants are the No. 1 nuisance pest encountered by consumers.

In a survey conducted by the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) in 2012, 100 percent of the pest management firms surveyed reported they had performed ant management services in the past year. These findings are no surprise, as ants continue to be one of the most common causes of callbacks in the pest control industry.

Many customers have learned from experience that it’s a mistake to ignore even a few ants, since worker ants will quickly recruit others if a source of food is located. A few ants can quickly turn into a full-blown infestation.

When using ant baits, manage expectations by explaining to customers how they work to control an ant colony. Describe the time-consuming process of how ants feed on a slow-acting bait, and how they then carry the bait back to other members of the colony. This will temper your customers’ urge to call whenever they see ants visiting a bait station or application site.

To enhance this approach, though, also try making “out-of-sight” bait placements. Labels often require baits to be placed into cracks, voids or other inaccessible areas to limit non-target exposure. But from a customer satisfaction perspective, you need to do more.

When selecting bait placement sites, first determine which direction the ants must travel to get to their nest. Your goal should be to place the bait as close to the nest site as possible. Ants carrying food are heading to the nest: Observe and follow them before placing baits.

For example, don’t make worker ants carry baits from a crack on one side of the kitchen, across the counter and to another crack through which they travel to the nest. Rather, get your bait to the ants as efficiently as possible so they will spend less time traveling through your customers’ homes during the management process — and customers will be less likely to encounter these pernicious pests.

About the Author

Dr. Jim Fredericks, PHOTO: National Pest Management Association

You can reach Dr. Fredericks, BCE, executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), at

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