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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants


Boric acid bait

Baits by themselves will not usually control argentine ants; also employ exclusionary tactics.

Managing Argentine ants with baits

  • Sweet sugar baits such as boric acid (use low concentrations with less than 1% of the active ingredient) are highly attractive to Argentine ants throughout the year.
  • Protein baits are attractive to ants in spring when colonies are producing new offspring. (Baits like fipronil or hydramethylnon are effective.)
  • Place baits in late spring or early summer when populations are low.
  • Place baits outdoors; avoid indoor baiting as that may attract more ants into the home.
  • Place baits near nests, trails, or along foundations.
  • Baits should be placed in protected areas away from children and pets.
  • Offer small portions of each bait to see which one is preferred before employing an extensive baiting program.
  • Follow up regularly to make sure bait is working and place fresh bait as necessary.

How baits work

  • Worker ants are attracted to the bait and take it back to the nest where the entire colony, including queens, may be killed.
  • Bait must be slow-acting so workers won't be killed before they get back to the nest.
  • Results may not be evident for several weeks.
  • Killing workers does little to control the colony, because as few as 1% of a colony's foraging worker ants are able to provide sufficient food to support nestbound queens and larvae.
  • Bait stations or ant stakes are easiest to use and safest for the environment.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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