Tips for Quickly Eliminating Large Ant Infestations

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If there’s one type of insect that causes a multitude of problems for homeowners in the summertime, it’s ants. From the painful stings of fire ants, to the destructive behaviors of carpenter ants, to the foraging of odorous house ants, these tiny pests manage to wreak havoc on the properties they infiltrate. Knowing how to deal with them quickly and efficiently can make the experience easier on pest management professionals (PMPs) and their customers.

Whether the problem is indoors or outdoors, there are many strategies and product solutions for getting exterminating ants process. Here are seven tips to help you eliminate large ant infestations.

#1: Inspect the property. Regardless of the circumstances, PMPs should examine a property before they settle on a treatment method. This allows them to assess the situation and address the specific needs of the case. The key is “always inspecting first — no matter what type of ant we’re dealing with,” said Jimmy Arnold, owner of Peachtree Pest Control, based in Brunswick, Ga.

#2: Get to the source. Determining where an infestation originated can help simplify the treatment process and show that not every infestation is as complicated as it seems. The root of the problem can sometimes be as small as standing water or a bowl of pet food that has been left out.

“If you do a thorough inspection and figure out why and where the problem is coming in, sometimes it’s so simple,” said Patsy McIntire, co-owner of Bug Express Pest Control, based in San Angelo, Texas.

#3: Implement an Integrative Pest Management (IPM) protocol. At Peachtree Pest Control, PMPs rely on an IPM protocol consisting of seven steps: the interview; the inspection; pest identification; development of a control plan; implementation of a control plan; documentation of a control plan; and evaluation and follow up.

The protocol focuses on “educating customers and providing better service” and can be applied to the control of different ant species across the country, Arnold said.

#4: Follow the trail. Locating the ant trail can help PMPs eliminate a large infestation, said Wesley Parker, owner of Washington-based Parker Eco Pest Control. Ants rely on trails to guide them to food sources and then back to their nests. When PMPs follow the trail, they are led directly to the source of the infestation.

#5: Use the right bait. The feeding patterns of ants change throughout the year, making them an important factor for PMPs to consider as they select their bait. During the spring, ants focus on growth and reproduction, so they search for food sources that are high in fats and proteins to feed their developing colony. But “as ant colonies increase in size throughout the summer months, they require carbohydrates to sustain the population,” according to Rockwell Labs.

Some of Rockwell Labs’ bait options include the InVict Xpress Granular Bait, a blend of six different food forms that quickly treats large infestations, the InTice Gelanimo Ant Bait, a sweet, high moisture bait with a “rigid gel” formula that attracts many different ant species, and the InVictAB Insect Paste, which contains a blend of proteins, sugars, carbohydrates and fats that is ideal for spring treatments.

#6: Assess options for physical control. If ants enter a property through cracks or crevices, PMPs can consider physical control options. “Caulking and other physical exclusions” are environmentally friendly ways to not only control current infestations, but also to prevent future ones from getting in through the same area, Parker said.

#7: Take preventive measures. PMPs might not be able to prevent infestations that have already occurred, but they can incorporate preventative procedures into their control practices to stop future infestations from happening.

Removing tree branches from near homes and reducing the amount of mulch on the sides of houses can help reduce the likelihood of infestations, said Arnold and Jeff Ford, sales manager at Peachtree Pest Control.
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