2024 Ant Management Supplement: Declaring victory over persistent problems

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July 1, 2024

Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2024 Ant Management Survey asked readers to share the details about the largest ant infestation they battled. Read on for a couple of war stories.

Invasion of the ghost ants

Photo: NPMA

Photo: NPMA

The owner of a very nice home in an established section of town near a river had ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) trailing in several rooms. The ants were coming from an unmanaged neighboring property with unkempt foliage and other debris. We baited and only gained temporary control. We then discovered the ghost ants were not only coming from the neighboring property but were also coming from a few nests on the homeowner’s property and her home’s wall voids.

Because we could not treat the neighbor’s property, we used a multi-level strategy: We treated the perimeter of her yard, the perimeter of her house, we baited the ants, and we treated the nests we found. It took a few months to gain control; ghost ants change their preference for bait so we rotated through several types to ensure they would keep eating it.

Still, the homeowner had ghost ants all over her house. As it turns out, she had been using over-the-counter repellents, so the situation was kind of a mess. We asked her to clean up all yard debris, put away the all-day pet buffet and refrain from spraying her over-the-counter products.

I’m glad to say, she is still a customer. We are still working on getting the neighbor signed up!

Often, customers wait until infestations are well established and they have tried over-the-counter remedies before they call a pest management professional. This results in large infestations that have been spread around the home and property. We ask customers to refrain from using their own treatments while we are working on their ant issues.

Infestations that stem from a neighboring property are more common than you would think! Consider treating the yard perimeter, the home perimeter and using baits.
— Denise Trad-Wartan, ACE, CEO, Trad’s Pest Control, Jacksonville, Fla.

Dying in a hot tub

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HD6HQFP

Pavement ants Photo: ©Gene White

I’ve found nests in BBQ grills, chairs, tables and other weird spots, but this was the most extreme location by far: We found a major colony of pavement ants (Tetramorium spp.) living inside of a broken, unused hot tub.

The customer had our Home Protection Plan, so we began with a perimeter spray around the home’s foundation, doors and windows. During the second treatment a couple of weeks later, we concentrated on the interior kitchen and exterior deck by spraying and using gel baits. These were the main areas where the customer continued to see active ants, and normally, these treatments should have worked. But when the customer reported seeing ants after two thorough treatments, I knew something was not right.

I worked with the technician and knew that everything was done right. The right barriers were in place, but because activity persisted, we had to dig deeper to find the nesting sites. When you get issues like this, it is not what you have done, but what you haven’t done. We had to find what we missed.

The hot tub, which had been broken for years, was in the backyard, right below the deck where the customer was finding ants. It didn’t take long to find an active ant trail that led to a nest in the hot tub’s cover. As we treated, we lifted the cover to find an incredibly huge colony under the cover and inside the broken hot tub. I believe this issue must have been going on for well over a year.

The basic spraying may have helped keep the ants out of the house in the past, but at this point, the ant population was just too high to keep them away from the home. Once we found the nest, one intensive treatment by one technician successfully eliminated the colony.
— Michael Broder, President, BHB Pest Elimination, Wallington, N.J.

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About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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