The range of biology and behavior among ant species tends to make them formidable foes for professionals.
Thirteen industry suppliers share the latest on the ant control solutions they offer for pest management professionals (PMPs). Read on to learn about their latest products, as well as inspection and treatment tips — and industry segment predictions. We also want to know about the ant control and prevention methods you’re deploying, and what you hope to add soon. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sylvia Kenmuir, BCE
Senior Technical Services Representative
RECENT INNOVATIONS: When it comes to fighting ants, it’s the colony that poses the biggest challenge. Non-repellent chemistries can help, such as Alpine WSG Water Soluble Granule Insecticide, Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide, and Phantom Termiticide/Insecticide.
Termidor SC has the added benefit of transfer, allowing the product to move from ant to ant during their everyday activities such as grooming. (Source: Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide dose transfer BASF Internal Study with the University of Georgia.) Phantom acts like its name — appearing like a ghost, quietly and slowly killing the ants.
In addition, while there have been many changes to bait formulations over the years, BASF is proud to offer a consistent and long-used bait called Advance 375A Granular Ant Bait (pictured). Originally introduced in 1991 under the Prescription Treatment Brands from Whitmire, this bait is still one of the most successful tools in the BASF portfolio of products.
PREDICTIONS: Small insects such as ants have ample opportunity to accidently be introduced each year to the U.S. from other geographic locations by hitching rides on vessels, products and plants. Even native ants can become a problem as people move to new houses in areas where the native species didn’t reside before. Continuing to develop effective solution options will allow PMPs to take advantage of ant biology and behavior, regardless of species.
Control Solutions, Inc.
By Dr. Brittany Campbell, BCE
Technical Service Manager
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Control Solutions Inc. (CSI) recently launched its proprietary Doxem Plus Fire Ant Bait. It features CSI’s Combination Chemistry with three different modes of action: an adulticide and two insect growth regulators (IGRs). This innovative bait can control fire ants all season long, killing queens and entire colonies. Additionally, it can prevent new fire ant mounds from appearing for up to three months.
Foraging fire ants pick up Doxem Plus Fire Ant Bait, then take it back to their colony and share it with their nestmates. This eventually kills the queens and eliminates entire colonies. This product allows for both broadcast and mound applications. For larger areas, broadcast treatments may be necessary. Mound treatments can be beneficial for targeted applications in small areas, or if a few mounds pop up between treatments.
PREDICTIONS: Imported fire ants, of which there are several species in the genus Solenopsis, are continuing to spread across the United States —the red imported fire ant in particular (S. invicta, also known as RIFA). As soil temperatures become more favorable in areas, the spread of these public health pests is not likely to stop anytime soon. PMPs providing services in areas with fire ants will need to remain diligent to help protect their customers.
By Matt Remmen
Technical Market Development Manager
RECENT INNOVATIONS: During the spring and early summer months, ant populations are searching for protein because their queens need the nutrition from proteins to create eggs before the middle of summer. Maxforce Complete granular insect bait has a balanced formulation rich in proteins, which makes it an extremely effective treatment during this period.
Maxforce Complete offers precise, long-term control on a wide variety of species, including acrobat ants (Crematogaster ashmeadi), pavement ants (Tetramorium spp.), carpenter ants, odorous house ants (OHA) and more. It is also flexible: It can be applied as a crack-and-crevice treatment, as a broadcast treatment, inside tamper-resistant stations, as a mound treatment, and around the perimeter of the property.
It is essential to communicate clearly with customers how the ant baits will work. Remind them they might see some increased activity immediately before the population is reduced. Explain how baits attract the pests before the active ingredient (AI) works to eliminate the colony. Also, let them know it is likely that the infestation already has been there for quite a while. Because treatments can take time, provide customers with a timeline to manage expectations.
PREDICTIONS: While sprays will continue to be used for prevention, baits will continue to grow in importance. At Envu, we believe baits often can be the most effective treatments because ants will collect bait and share it with their colony. To ensure the maximum reduction of ant populations across colonies, we recommend applying baits directly adjacent to any visible ant trails. As the industry continues to gravitate toward baits, our team is eager to help PMPs achieve the best results possible by sharing this type of industry-leading expertise and recommending the most effective products.
Innovative Pest Control Products
By Ken Kupfer
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Innovative Pest Control Product’s Greenway Liquid Ant Killing Bait continues to excel, providing excellent ant recruitment and destruction of their colonies when deployed in combination with KM’s Sentinel Pro Insect Activated Bait Delivery & Reactive Monitoring System. (Full disclosure: I am co-founder of KM Ant Pro LLC.)
Greenway stays fresh and attractive for more than eight months when dispensers are only receiving minor ant activity — with bait being added, replenishing what remains, negating waste. We are co-participants in agriculture, protecting food crops, and our system is deployed at global ecologically sensitive endangered species sites engaged in destroying superorganism tramp ant species.
Still, our roots and purpose are in professional pest management. Providing the rugged, durable Sentinel Pro System for supercolony invasive ants, and as an addition to preventive services, has proven to be a big winner for participating companies. What we have found to be of primary importance is to provide immediate assistance to PMPs in real time while they are on-site. Implementing direct response communications, along with site location satellite imagery, is helping us assist PMPs with out-of-the-ordinary encounters with supercolony invasive tramp ant species, wherever they might appear.
PREDICTIONS: We foresee a continuing increase in uninvited insects that will thrive in urban and rural environments based on human habitation, and the availability of water sources. At the same time, populations of beneficial arthropods and soil-enriching microorganisms will continue to decline.
By Dr. Ryan Neff
West Coast Technical Field Specialist
RECENT INNOVATIONS: The Sumari System, comprised of Sumari Insecticide and Sumari Ant Gel Bait, recently was introduced to the market. Sumari Insecticide is a concentrate that has excellent residual (up to 90 days outdoors) and no signal word. Sumari Ant Gel bait, meanwhile, is a sugar-based formula that works well on sugar-loving ants like Argentine (Linepithema humile) and OHA.
For unicolonial, multi-nest species, we recommend the Sumari System, which lets you spot-treat foraging trails and bait near treated areas to draw ants across the material. This increases the number of workers that come into contact with the treated zone and provides a food source that can be fed to the queens and larvae back in the nest.
PREDICTIONS: With international movement by people and goods continuing, we will continue to see invasive ants pop up across the globe. Not long ago the Asian needle ant (Brachyponera chinensis) was introduced as an invasive species to the East Coast. Meanwhile, the European fire ant (Myrmica rubra) is taking a foothold in the Pacific Northwest.
As control methods for primary ant pests reduce populations, we will see an increase in secondary pest ant infestations. Dark rover ants (Brachymyrmex patagonicus) in southern California are a great example of this. They form small colonies very close to Argentine ant nesting sites and co-exist alongside them. As treatments reduce Argentine ant populations, rover ants sometimes emerge as the primary species.
We also are seeing an increase in restrictions on popular materials used for ant control. As the number of tools available to PMPs decreases, it becomes even more important to understand the colony structure and behavior of pest ants to gain control quickly.
By Greg Pettis
VP of Business Development
RECENT INNOVATIONS: What has five eyes and flies? You might be surprised to learn that it’s ants. I recently learned from my son Shawn Pettis, ACE, PHE, that newer research reveals that in addition to the two compound eyes, some ants have up to three simple eyes called ocelli that use polarized skylight or even celestial cues for flight navigation like birds — or even the SR71 Blackbird’s navigation system. Go figure, just when you thought your battle with ants was complicated enough!
The battle between man and beast has been raging forever and can range from bears on the range to ants in the kitchen. When it’s ants in a commercial kitchen, though, you need to proceed with caution.
While offering protection in food/feed manufacturing, processing and service establishments, Nature-Cide’s Insecticidal Dust has a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempt status thanks to its ingredients being on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) 25(b) list. Bakeries, cafeterias and similar facilities also are on the label, and applications are permitted in both food/feed and non-food areas of food establishments as a general surface, spot or crack-and-crevice treatment, even while the facility is in operation.
In addition to problems showing up inside, Nature-Cide’s Insecticidal Dust is effective outdoors for a variety of ant species — including pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) and fire ants — with the ability to treat 18 to 24 inches from the outer edge of their mounds.
PREDICTIONS: We predict the metaphorical noose will tighten via additional regulations in the next five years, and greener options will become more attractive to customers. Pest control companies that have been proactive in green product choices will do well.
By Andrew Fisher, BCE, PHE
Professional Pest Business Unit Specialist
RECENT INNOVATIONS: The main goal when treating ant infestations is to eliminate entire colonies, as targeting a few worker ants will not solve ant problems. The exclusive gel bait matrix of SureKill Ant Gel Bait makes it attractive to many of the most common nuisance ant species, including pharaoh and Argentine ants. Its imidacloprid formulation allows for the transfer of the AI back to colonies, including the queens. With a lower concentration of imidacloprid, its delayed response enables the AI to build up in colonies over time and ultimately can lead to the collapse of the ant populations.
Once applied, the gel resists drying out and remains palatable for ants longer by staying moist through the hygroscopic characteristics of the bait matrix. This not only allows for the bait to stay palatable to ants after the initial colony collapses, but it also increases the likelihood of consumption by other foraging ants from potential satellite colonies. With a composition mix of proteins and carbohydrates, SureKill Ant Gel Bait is an excellent option to include as a primary or rotational bait for treatments year-round.
PREDICTIONS: Ants continue to be a top competitor for PMP callbacks. So far, 2023 has had higher recorded temperatures than prior years. If this continues, it will be safe to assume ant activity also will rise in conjunction with the temperature. Ants are cold-blooded insects, so their body temperatures are regulated by the environment around them. When the temperature rises, ants become more active and might venture out of their nests to search for food and water, especially to feed their growing larvae. It will be more crucial to have threshold action plans in place for ants this year than in years prior. Making sure to keep an arsenal of ant bait that is effective and readily available is key when increased ant callbacks are likely.
By Kim Kelley-Tunis, ACE, BCE, PCQI
Senior Director of Field Services
RECENT INNOVATIONS: DominAnt is a liquid, borax-based bait that can be used indoors or outdoors, targeting a variety of ant species. It can be placed in refillable bait stations.
PREDICTIONS: Predicting the future of ant control almost has become as challenging as controlling the pests themselves. In fact, most traditional ant control strategies have focused on the use of a liquid residual, usually a non-repellent, to prevent ants from entering structures. However, the number of customer callbacks has shown this strategy, while moderately effective in the short term, offers little long-term control and affects only those ants that cross the pesticide barriers.
In recent years, we have seen a shift in mindsets that recognize that to successfully control these pests and support our customers, we must focus more closely on ants’ biological and behavioral differences, shaping our control strategies around those differences. The key is to begin control programs with thorough inspections that not only identify the type or types of ants, but also those areas where they are infesting customers’ structures. By placing a liquid bait such as DominAnt in these carefully selected areas, foraging ants that typically look for liquids and a quick source of energy will be more likely to encounter the bait. Then, because DominAnt is a slower-acting insecticide, the ants will have time to take the bait back to the colony; if that bait is available in sufficient quantity, it will kill both the colony and the queen.
As we continue to identify new pest ant species, and as the geographical range of other pest ants continues to spread, manufacturers will work to develop additional solutions and strategies for the improved control of ants.
By Anna Berry, BCE
U.S. Technical Director
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Although not typically associated with ants, insect light traps (ILTs) can be valuable tools in the spring when winged swarmers leave their nests. Brandenburg and Synergetic ILTs can attract swarmers, which can help identify the nest’s location early on. For preventive measures, B&G’s Primeline and AccuSpray Elite sprayers are ideal for applying residual or repellent products in small or large quantities. Additionally, B&G’s multi-dose bait gun allows technicians to apply the label-dictated amount of bait consistently, reducing waste and preventing over-application.
By the end of the year, we plan to launch our improved Pressurized Tank Top (PTT) that can be attached to our B&G Primeline sprayers, making indoor and outdoor ant treatments faster and more efficient. The PTT eliminates the need to pump during service calls, reducing fatigue and improving efficiency with consistent flow rates and uniform spray patterns.
PREDICTIONS: Our team predicts a growing reliance on bait as the primary control method for ants, accompanied by an increasing need for small-capacity sprayers for targeted applications. As the use of bait becomes more prevalent in ant control, investing in a reliable bait gun will become increasingly important. Dependable ant control equipment can reduce wasted formulations and bait products, maximizing overall budget and improving efficiency.
Pest Control Insulation
By Chris White
VP of Sales
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Thermal Acoustical Pest Control (TAP) Insulation from Pest Control Insulation (PCI) is made from recycled paper and treated with a special formula. Installed in attics and walls, TAP Insulation provides a barrier that, when penetrated, will kill pests within a short period.
Ants are attracted to buildings because of the warmth, protection and food they can provide. TAP Insulation contains a technical-grade orthoboric acid formula toxic to ants and nearly two dozen other labeled pests that commonly invade homes and businesses, including cockroaches, silverfish, bat bugs, earwigs, stink bugs and more.
This makes TAP Insulation an all-in-one service offering for PMPs. TAP Insulation also is environmentally friendly and can help reduce energy costs — up to 30 percent — by regulating the temperatures inside buildings.
PREDICTIONS: We predict ants will become more prevalent in homes as their natural habitats become less hospitable because of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. This might result in increased infestations and damage to homes.
Climate change also could affect the availability of ants’ food sources, which could impact their behavior and distribution. For example, if there are fewer plants or insects available for ants to feed on, they might be more likely to seek food inside homes.
In addition, extreme weather events such as floods or droughts could displace ant colonies, causing them to seek refuge in homes and other structures. This could result in higher levels of ant activity and potential damage to buildings.
By Dr. Cisse Spragins
Founder and CEO
RECENT INNOVATIONS: With multiple pest ant species of importance, control is not one-size-fits-all. Rockwell offers a wide range of products to address every ant control scenario.
InTice Thiquid (pictured) is one of the most effective products for a wide range of pest ants. Exclusive to this liquid bait label, the diluted bait also can be spot-sprayed outdoors on foundations, fence posts and other stationary objects. Non-repellent insecticide can be sprayed in the same area. The bait attracts ants to treated areas, and they get a double-whammy effect, taking the bait and the non-repellent back to their nests.
InTice Gelanimo, meanwhile, is Rockwell’s patented “rigid gel” bait that delivers borax and high moisture content in a sweet bait matrix ants love. The gel doesn’t drip or spill, and ants can feed over the entire surface without risk of drowning.
Rockwell’s granular baits for ants and other pests include InTice 10 Perimeter Bait, ideal for quarterly service programs. InVict Xpress Granular Bait with imidacloprid features fast action against ants and other pests, while InVict Blitz contains imidacloprid on a bait matrix specifically designed for mega-colony ants.
The EcoVia botanical range features several formulations effective against ants when fast knockdown and strong repellency are needed. Finally, Rockwell’s non-repellent dusts, CimeXa (amorphous silica) and BorActin (boric acid) offer long-lasting protection in indoor areas.
PREDICTIONS: With the number of pest species and ants’ evolving behavior when present in newly urbanized areas, combined with the ongoing push toward more environmentally friendly solutions,
I expect we will continue to see the need for a variety of tools for effective ant management.
By Dr. Tim Husen, BCE, PHE, PCQI
Technical Services Manager, Professional Pest Management
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Advion MicroFlow insect bait is the latest ant management tool from Syngenta. This highly palatable, dry flowable bait, containing 0.22 percent indoxacarb (IRAC Group 22A), is labeled for ants, cockroaches, crickets and more. It reaches deep into voids, cracks, crevices and other structural entry points where ants nest and forage.
Advion MicroFlow offers PMPs an alternative or complement to traditional gel baits for interior or exterior use. With 95 percent of the bait particles less than 3 millimeters in diameter, it can be applied with commonly used dusting equipment such as electric, bulb and bellows dusters.
PREDICTIONS: Be on the lookout for new nuisance ant control products in the future. The regulatory clock is ticking on many currently available sprayable ant control products, formulations and AIs. Finding viable candidates to fill these potential gaps will become essential. Newly formulated bait and liquid-dilutable products containing new, non-repellent AI classes are a big step in the right direction. Additionally, stay tuned for an ant guidelines sheet coming soon from Syngenta, which will offer technical recommendations for proper, thorough ant control.
We’re hopeful ant management toolboxes will become even more diverse within the next several years. Structure-infesting ants can’t be controlled with a single tool. That’s why Syngenta recommends PMPs frequently review their ant management strategies and incorporate new products, AIs and formulations, such as dry flowable baits. They also should continue using ant identification-based physical, mechanical, cultural and sanitation control options.
By Mel Whitson
Director of Sales
RECENT INNOVATIONS: Ant infestations can spur frequent callbacks and numerous headaches for PMPs and clients. Identifying the ant species and observing foraging habits are key, but using effective ant baits will help eradicate infestations efficiently.
Zoëcon offers Antack Liquid Ant Bait to help PMPs reduce callbacks and reinfestations. Approved for indoor and outdoor use (except in California), Antack Liquid Ant Bait features the AI spinosad, which targets an ant’s nervous system to wipe out colonies and queens of numerous nuisance ant species. Antack Liquid Ant Bait features a built-in dispensing tip for filling bait stations to treat ant infestations in residential, industrial or recreational locations.
For outdoor control of fire ants, Extinguish Plus offers long-term colony control. For immediate relief, turn to ProBait Formulation for Professionals.
PREDICTIONS: Ants can be problematic for clients at any time of year, but as rainfall increases and temperatures rise in many areas, PMPs should be prepared for an increase in volume for ant infestations. The team behind Zoëcon Professional Products is always innovating to help PMPs control the toughest infestations, providing the resources and support needed to keep ants at bay.