How to Control Ants like a Professional - DIY Pest Control
Ant Control made easy - Fipronil non-repellent Insecticides (Fipforce Aqua & Termidor)
The humble ant is arguably responsible for more re-do’s/recalls for pest managers than any other single pest. Why?
Like termites, ants are social insects, with a structured caste system. Ants often exist in large communities (nests/colonies) within a well-defined and orderly hierarchy, where each individual performs it’s functions and duties with military like efficiency and precision.
There are thousands of known ant species in Australia but the ants which usually become pests in urban, industrial and agricultural environments are loosely referred to as ‘Tramp Ants’, These tramp ants are broadly divided into two main groups, Black Ants and Brown Ants.
Depending upon many contributing factors (species, seasonal conditions, lifecycle stage & colony requirements), ants have varying food preferences which they constantly scavenge for.
Ants can be difficult to control. They can be tracking great distances from a colony in a neighbouring property, to a food source tens of metres away. Ants often nest inside cavities between building levels, inside walls, roof voids and moisture affected timber. They represent a huge challenge to pest managers and property owners alike.
Prime Objective with Ant Control
The prime objective with ant control is to locate and treat the nest (the source of the problem), whenever and wherever possible. Location is sometimes tedious and time consuming. When ants set up camp in buildings, it’s sometimes necessary for holes to be drilled into walls and voids, such as inaccessible ceiling/floor cavities, to reach the nest (if you’re confident of the location).
Sometimes however, the offending ant colony cannot be found. In those situations, any attempt at control usually comes down to one of three options:
- OLD chemistry - Repellent insecticidal applications
- Problem solving – Ant bait applications
- NEW chemistry - Transferable insecticidal applications
- OLD technology - Repellent insecticidal applications
The inherent problems with using repellent insecticides to eliminate social insects like ants are well documented. Synthetic pyrethroids have been used extensively for urban pest control since the 1980s. Ants and other pest insects like roaches readily detect synthetic pyrethroids via sensors on their antennae and spiracles which excite / repel the insects and result in them scattering.
Consequently, the target pests, if only partly affected, can recover from the limited exposure and subsequently become tolerant to synthetic pyrethroids. This tolerance can then be passed on to the next generation when breeding, ultimately resulting in pyrethroid resistance.
Repellent insecticides can often shift invading ants from one area into a another. The objective is to eliminate the source of the ants, not temporarily deter or repel them.
2. Indirect treatment by baiting
Baits are valuable tools when considering ant control options but there are many important factors to consider. Most ant baits work………but only if eaten by the ants. So palatability is paramount. (Optigard is the best ant bait for sweet ants and Advion ant bait gel is best for meat ants).
The best active ingredient in the world will fail if the ants don’t consume the bait because the matrix is unattractive. Not all baits are created equal. It can be a case of trial and error.
Macro and local weather patterns and the phase of the colony can also influence how much ants eat and what they eat, which can vary between carbohydrates, fats & proteins according to the species. For example, a particular species of ant may favour sugar based foods most of the time when simply maintaining the colony through the cooler months but will favour a protein based diet when raising immature nymphs as the warmer months progress.
In addition, adult ants can only digest liquid foods. Although they will pick up solid or granular foods where it gets stored in their crop, a flexible storage area in their alimentary canal (throat) and then transported back to the colony to feed to the young ant larvae.
So if you’re challenged with analysing ant species, colony numbers, their food requirements & preferences, climate and weather patterns, you maybe best to utilise ant control methods & chemistries which are a bit more forgiving.
- Transferable insecticidal applications
The active ingredient in FipForce Dust, Fipforce Aqua & Termidor and Anthem Insecticide Granules is Fipronil. This molecule has a truly fantastic track record with a unique mode of action in that it is transferred from one ant to the next, all the way back through the workers, soldiers, larvae and queen(s), resulting in the collapse of the colony.
These products are non-repellent, which means the ants forage back and forth through the treated areas, without being deterred or repelled.
The ants actually help you do your job and contribute to their own demise by transferring your Fipforce/Termidor & Anthem to each other. Effective ant control often involves both internal and external management methods. Whether it’s ant nests in structures / foraging ants inside / nests & colonies outside / foraging ants outside, all bases are covered when combining these products.
Another distinct advantage of Fipronil based products is your reduced material & labour costs. With the ants assisting in the distribution of the active ingredient (whether it’s the liquid, dust or granules), this equates to less product and less work for you applying it.
As an example, the label Mixing Rate is 6mls of Fipforce Aqua / Termidor per litre of water and label Use Patterns outdoors are:
Nuisance ants – 300mm up and out from where building or structure touches ground. At 1 litre/25 lineal metre. Most residential average around 75 linel metres around the perimeter. This equates to 3 litres of mixed formulation.
Spot treatment away from house/structure (ant trails, landscaping, fences, under pots, around base of trees & stumps, path edges, etc) at 1 litre/16m2 or 60ml/m2. This may equate to 5 litres or more.
All up an external treatment with FipForce Aqua may typically involve approximately 10 or 15 litres of mixed ready to use formulation. That’s economical.
Every job is unique and as such, each job requires particular active ingredients and formulations depending on the pest to be treated, the extent of infestation, type of construction, environmental and safety issues, prevailing weather conditions, customer expectations and so on.
So, if you’re not an entomologist, biologist and climatologist all wrapped up in one and you would rather eliminate the ant problem instead of relocating it, try the simple effective solution with Fipforce / Termidor and Anthem Fipronil granules.