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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

Use baits to manage satellite colonies of carpenter ants.

Managing carpenter ants with baits

  • Boric acid baits that have a low concentration (less than 1%) of the active ingredient and are formulated in a sweet liquid are slow acting and non-repellent.
  • First attract ants to a nontoxic food like a sugar-milk solution or sliced crickets.
  • Once ants feed from this food source, replace with several different toxic baits that are labeled for carpenter ant control and let them choose.
  • Place baits outdoors; indoor baiting may attract more ants into the home.
  • Place baits in protected locations inaccessible to children and pets.

How baits work

  • Worker ants will be 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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