Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Quick Tips
Although ants are annoying when they come indoors, they can be beneficial by feeding on fleas, termites, and other pests in the garden. While spraying chemicals inside the house might seem effective, doing so will not prevent more ants from entering. Because most ants live outdoors, focus efforts on keeping ants from entering buildings. Combine several methods such as caulking entryways, cleaning up food sources, and baiting when necessary. Avoid using pyrethroids (e.g., bifenthrin and cypermethrin), especially on hard surfaces such as driveways or sidewalks or around the foundation of buildings. These products pollute waterways.
Make your house less attractive to ants.
When ants invade your house:
How baits work:
Pesticide baits work by attracting worker ants who then take the product back to the nest where the entire colony, including queens, can be killed. The pesticide must be slow acting so workers won’t be killed before they get back to the nest.
How to use baits:
Place baits near ant trails and nest openings. Prepackaged or refillable bait stations or stakes are the safest and easiest to use. Active ingredients in baits may include boric acid/borate, fipronil, avermectin, or hydramethylnon. Liquid borate (0.5-1% borate in sugar water solution) baits in refillable bait stations are best for severe Argentine ant infestations. Replace baits when empty and reposition them, or try a different bait product if ants don’t appear to be taking it. It can take 5 to 10 days to see fewer ants.
Minimize the use of pesticides that pollute our waterways. Use nonchemical alternatives or less toxic pesticide products whenever possible. Read product labels carefully and follow instructions on proper use, storage, and disposal.