We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial advisory board members to tips for vacations for you and your employees. Here are some of the experts’ responses from our July 2022 print edition.
Please take a minute to answer our latest one-question poll on this topic and let us know how you promote disinfecting and sanitizing services: Reader poll: What’s your favorite ant inspection tip?
PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board and Regular Contributors
Greg Baumann: “For tough ant issues, track on the ants’ schedule, not ours. For example, some carpenter ants are best tracked after dusk.”
Judy Black, BCE: “When the customer has reported ants but they aren’t visible when I arrive, I like to try to draw them out to figure out where they are coming from and where they are traveling to return to the colony. You can use non-toxic items, such as beef jerky, a sports drink or candy, or actual ant baits with different matrices. Be patient; it could take several minutes for them to appear. But because a watched pot never boils — and I’m impatient — I tend to go on to inspect other areas and return a while later to see whether I got any action on the ‘lures.’”
Dennis Jenkins: “My favorite tip is one that seems very obvious to me: proper identification. Ants behave very differently by species. If you think you are treating for one species and are wrong, your treatment efforts may not work — or worse, you may make the problem get worse. Baits? Barriers? What kind of bait? Taking the time to view the specimen under some level of magnification and making sure of the species will dictate what treatment is needed and give you the best control.”
Jerry Schappert, ACE: “I use a bait-and-switch approach: I ‘recruit’ as many ants as possible to several baited areas, then ever-so-lightly mist them with a non-repellent, which they spread for me as well as the bait. An added plus is that the trail gets thicker, and I can usually follow it back to source.”
Mark Sheperdigian: “I’d rather walk on the boardwalk than the beach. Ants are no different. Pay special attention to raised smooth linear surfaces such as wires, hoses and even seams and junctures that have a straight line to follow.”
Hamilton Allen: “All ant nests aren’t created equal. Some species create earthen homes, while others use everyday objects around a home for shelter. Always inspect under rugs/mats, hose reel containers and flower pots. You might just stumble upon the source of the infestation.”
Michael Broder: “You have to be curious to find nesting areas. Don’t be afraid to open things up and move things around. Only treating ants as they forage for food may not be enough if major nests remain on the property.”
Foster Brusca: “You must have a good inspection kit before performing the inspection. This kit should have a good flashlight with extra batteries, an inspection mirror, vials for collecting insect samples, tweezers for collecting insects, and a multitool. Also, you must have something to take notes on, such as your smartphone or pad of paper, because if you did not document your findings, it did not happen.”
Doug Foster: “My favorite ant inspection tip is one I heard from Dr. Austin Frishman years ago: If you are having trouble finding where the ants are in a home, ask the kids. They are at ant-level and see things you don’t. It has served me well, and I have used it many times to solve an ant problem.”
Paul Hardy: “As with any insect problem, start with an inspection inside and outside. Identify the ant before any treatment. Many times, applications may not be needed. Mechanical methods could control the situation and remove what the ants are living on.”
Dr. Faith Oi: “The key to ant management is trailing. Use trails to find the infestation source. Place bait along trails or wipe trails down for small infestations to remove pheromones.”
Desiree Straubinger: “My favorite thing to do when looking for ants is to make one trip around the area dispersing a small amount of a widely accepted ant bait on the ground. On my second trip around, I look for the ants carrying the bait, making them easy to see and identify.”