Take your time to identify ants


January 31, 2023

Alan Bernard, Founder and Entomologist, Innovative Pest Control Products

Alan Bernard, Founder and Entomologist, Innovative Pest Control Products

Use your time and resources wisely. Talk to your customers. Ask them where the ants are being seen, their color and size, when the ants are being seen, and how many ants are being seen at one time. Their answers should help you to narrow down the species of ant at the account.

If ants are present during your visit, try to identify them yourself and use your knowledge to guide your treatments. Look for sources of food and water that are attracting them. Speak with your customers about sanitation practices that they can use to help eliminate the attractors.

Most ants, except for pharaoh ants and occasionally carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.), are coming from a nest outside the structure. Inspect for ant trails outside the structure. Place small amounts of honey mixed in water on window ledges as you inspect, and see whether the mixture attracted any ants. Inspect potential entryways such as cracks in the framing or space around water bibs or drainpipes.

Once the ants, their sources and their entryways are identified, choose the appropriate control measures. I find that direct treatment of nests with liquids or dusts will give the fastest results. If nests cannot be located, try gel bait in the structure for quick elimination of foragers. Try liquid bait outside where ants are trailing to eliminate the nests outdoors. Monitor the results; retreat as necessary.

Finally, if you are successful eliminating an ant infestation, remember the potential for another population to come along. They may have different food or spatial preferences, so a continuing program is recommended.


About the Author

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Alan Bernard is an entomologist and founder of Innovative Pest Control Products, Boca Raton, Fla.

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