Ant Baits

These baiting articles provide useful information on ant foraging behaviour, baiting techniques, the latest ant bait products.

Ant Baits

Ant baits are the smart way to control ant infestations, especially if the nest cannot be located (which is a majority of the time). Often pest managers will only use ant baits to control an ant problem, but sometimes they will be combined with spray treatments, depending on the species present and nature of the problem.

There are a variety of ant baits on the market targeting different ant species,  based on their food preferences (sugar, oil/ fat or protein) and available in different formats (liquids, gels and granules), which allows application in different situations.

How do ant baits work?

Ant baits consists of an attractive food element and a slow-acting insecticide. Ant bait is places along ant trails or in areas where the ants are foraging. The ants feed on the bait and take it back to the nest. It is important to choose the correct ant bait for the ant species present, based on their food preferences.

It is important that the insecticide in the bait is slow acting, so that the bait can be taken back to the nest and spread to other nest mates (especially queen) before the insecticide starts to take effect and the ants realise something is wrong. Providing enough bait is applied for the size of the ant nest present, generally speaking the bait will have a big impact on the foraging ants within 1-3 days and will kill the nest within 1-2 weeks.

Do ants eat liquid or solid food?

Generally ants are liquid feeders – they can’t chew solid food. Liquid and gel baits are easy to suck up and transfer back to the nest.

However, granular baits do actually contain liquid, although they look dry – imagine a sponge containing a small amount of liquid. Foraging ants will suck up some of this liquid before taking the attractive granules back to the nest. Although the adult ants cannot chew solid food, the larvae can digest solid food by regurgitating digestive fluids onto the solid bait, turning it into a liquid which can be fed to other ants. Granular baits are a great option for some species, especially when large areas need to be treated.

More information on ants.


Here we look at the learnings pest managers can take from large-scale ant baiting programs – such as those tackling the red imported fire ant – and how they can be applied to smaller pest jobs. 

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