War on Ants.

first_imgWhen you make your spring chore list, don’t forget to “feed”the ants. To fight ants properly, experts say you have to knowa little ant biology.”To get rid of ants, you first have to know their dietand their habitat,” said Dan Suiter, an Extension Serviceentomologist with the University of Georgia College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences.”You’ve also got to kill the queen,” Suiter said.”Everything an ant colony does revolves around the life ofthe queen.”Spring is New Colony TimeSpring is when new ant colonies form. “The reproductiveants fly into the air, mate and drop to the ground,” Suitersaid. “Male ants then die. The queen’s wings fall off, andshe goes off to nest and make a new colony.”Knowing the ants’ diet is important when selecting a bait-basedpesticide product.”Ants feed on sugar from plant honeydew and on proteinfrom dead insects,” he said. “In the spring, they mostlyeat proteins. In the fall, they eat sugars.”Treatments with the wrong food base don’t work.”If the bait contains a food the ants aren’t eating,”Suiter said, “you’ve wasted your time and money.”One product covers both diet bases.”Raid produces a double control product that includesboth the protein and sugar diet,” he said. “It’s child-resistantand comes in see-through packages so you can easily tell whento replace the product.”Suiter found Combat ant baits effective, too. Both brands arewidely marketed through grocery stores.”They’re the only commercial products that use an insectprotein base,” Suiter said. “And there’s obviously somethingto that.”Baits and Granulars Work BestAnt control products come in many forms, but baits are amongSuiter’s favorites.”Baits are so effective because ants share food,”he said. “They take it back to the colony and share it withother ants, including the queen.”In his lab at the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga.,Suiter tested baits to find the most effective formulas.”Select a bait,” he said, “that includes anyof these active ingredients: sulfuramid, hydramethylon or fipronil.Avoid buying anything with propoxur as an ingredient. This justrepels ants. It doesn’t kill them.”Suiter ranks granular products high, too.”Granulars get down into the thatch and mulch where theants live,” he said. “The only problem is they haveto be watered in, and with the current drought, come June andJuly you may be facing an outdoor water ban.”Dusts Work Well, But Less is BestPesticide dusts are effective if applied correctly.”Homeowners tend to think that if a little bit is good,a lot must be better,” Suiter said. “They apply toomuch. Dust is effective forever, but there’s a knack to applyingit. Less is best.”Liquid sprays are effective. “If you buy a liquid thatcontains pyrethroids,” Suiter said, “you’re probablyspraying close to the same product a pest control company wouldapply. You may have to invest in a sprayer though.”Aerosols are Suiter’s least favorite ant control. “They’rethe most widely sold type of ant and home pest control products,but I have no use for them,” he said. “They kill onlythe ants you see, and they leave oily residues on your countertops.”But people like the instant gratification they provide.”You push a nozzle and you’ve got dead ants,” hesaid. “And now they come in colorful cans and pleasant scents.The only time I would ever use them is if I had a party in 10minutes and needed the ants dead quickly.”Whichever product you choose, use it outside.”That’s where the ants live,” Suiter said. “Youmay see them inside, but they’re only coming in for resourceslike water.”last_img

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