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How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

Hydramethylnon bait

An extensive baiting program combined with sanitary and exclusion practices is essential to managing pharaoh ant populations.

Managing pharaoh ants with baits

  • Baits are required in every area that ants are active; place them so that foraging workers from all colonies contact and feed on them.
  • Combination fat-based baits with sweets are more effective for a longer period of time than using sweet baits alone.
  • Hydramethylnon, sulfuramid, boric acid (use low concentrations with less than 1% of the active ingredient), and fipronil are effective alone or combined.
  • Before employing an extensive baiting program, offer small portions of each type of bait to see which is preferred.
  • Baits should be placed in protected areas away from children and pets.
  • Place baits throughout the house:
    • in corners or edges of cabinets, pantries, window sills, closets, or dark voids, such as walls
    • near plumbing pipes, under bathroom sinks and faucets, near base of toilets, around stoves, ovens, and under carpets
    • inside outlet boxes, sockets, and switch plates
  • Place baits outdoors:
    • around windows, doorways, and foundations
    • along porches or patios and flower boxes

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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