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Keep ants out of commercial accounts with granular baits.

Pest management in commercial accounts such as hotels, schools and hospitals is all about prevention – you certainly want to avoid callbacks in between regular service calls. Inspecting the land surrounding buildings to determine the species present and population density is vital for developing a suitable management regime – it’s all about population control, to stop the ants getting into the building in the first place.

The best way to control ants in outdoor areas is with granular baits. Carrying out a treatment in spring eliminates nests before they have the chance to build up numbers and become a problem. Obviously once an area has been cleared of ant nests there is always the danger of re-invasion from surrounding areas, so you need to be vigilant. However, typically a second baiting application in early-mid summer, a few weeks after mating flights, should be enough to keep the populations in check.

In sensitive accounts, pest managers are often limited in the products they can use. Distance Plus from Sumitomo Chemicals is an unscheduled product and can be used in a wide range of situations – ideal for schools and hospitals areas. Developed from the bait used in the Queensland fire ant program, Distance Plus only contains the insect growth regulator, pyriproxyfen. Although this provides benefits in terms of its safety profile, it does mean it can take several weeks to eliminate colonies. Best suited for targeting fat/oil feeders such as coastal brown ants (Pheidole megacephala), Distance Plus has a better fit in springtime applications when there is no need for the rapid control of large population numbers.

For year-round control or outdoor ant problems, Synergy Pro granular bait (main picture) is the best option. Containing two different food granules – one oil based, one protein-based – Synergy Pro appeals to a broad range of outdoor ants, even as their food preferences change throughout the year. With its dual active combination of hydramethylnon and pyriproxyfen (IGR), it targets all life stages in the colony, delivering control in one to two weeks.

If you are taking on a new account where a significant ant problem already exists – or the species present is a multi-nesting, multi-queen species (as is often the case with invasive ant species) – the use of a perimeter treatment with a non-repellent spray in conjunction with an outdoor baiting program is the best way to prevent ants getting into buildings.

Charles McClintock, Professional Products Business Manager, Sumitomo Chemical Australia