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STEAK OR CAKE? TASTE TESTING WITH ANTS

When dealing with ant infestations, Syngenta offers a choice between two market-leading gel baits: Advion and Optigard. Both are highly palatable and offer comprehensive control, but are different in flavour. So, which one do you choose? Should you opt for the cake or the steak?

Do you prefer steak or cake? 

As professional pest managers, we know different species are attracted to specific flavours, whether it’s sweet carbohydrates and honeydew (a sugar-rich liquid secreted by aphids), or proteins and oils. To further complicate matters, ant flavour preferences can also change over time, depending on what season it is, the age of the colony, and if the nest is under stress.

Knowing how to attract the ants you are dealing with makes bait uptake and colony elimination easier: the more bait consumed, the better the transfer of toxin back to the nest. The easiest way to do this is to conduct a taste test. Find the pathways the ants are travelling along from the nest to the food source; place a dot or line of Advion and Optigard, and wait to see which one they go for. Both are highly palatable and offer comprehensive control, but are different in flavour.

More on Advion and Optigard’s comprehensive control

Advion Ant Gel combines food-grade carriers with highly effective attractants and has demonstrated appeal to as many as 19 major pest ant species. Its formulation is so attractive that ants have been shown to favour it above other food sources. Advion also contains the power of the non-repellent active ingredient work horse indoxacarb.

Indoxacarb offers a unique mode of action compared to other active ingredients. Metabolic activation is the process in which an insect’s own internal enzymes change the molecular structure and attributes of indoxacarb. During this process, insects cleave off the carbomethoxy group from indoxacarb, converting it into a MetaActive form. Normally, molecular degradation reduces the effectiveness of insecticides. The opposite is true with indoxacarb; the metabolic activation process actually increases its effectiveness. The MetaActive compound is the more powerful form which attacks the insect’s nervous system resulting in paralysis, followed by death. The MetaActive activity ensures a delay in effect, allowing ants to consume the bait and return to share the toxin with others in the nest. In this way you can achieve colony control and reduce the need for re-treatment in the future.

Optigard Ant Bait Gel features a highly palatable bait matrix that controls a wide variety of ant species (including Argentine, carpenter and black house ants) without staining treated surfaces. Optigard is known for its durability under harsh environmental conditions, even in outdoor conditions where it maintains palatability after exposure, which means ants will continue to feed even if the product dries out. The non-repellent active ingredient, thiamethoxam, transfers easily back to the nest, eliminating colonies to avoid callbacks.

Carrying both products in your truck is the best way to make sure you are covered for different ant taste preferences.

Mike De Luca, Technical Manager – Lawn & Garden, Professional Pest Management