UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page


SKIP navigation


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
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   Contact webmaster.