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A Simple Solution to a Big Problem with Little Ants

Controlling Little Black Ants Inside the Home

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Swarm of Little Black Ants
Courtesy of Flickr.com

You wake up one morning and it just happens. Your kitchen, which until this morning could have been on the cover of Martha Stewart Living, is now crawling with hundreds of little black ants. Not the thing you want to see before your first cup of coffee. But before you rent that hotel room, know that there is a simple, relatively painless way to solve your indoor ant problem.

There are two main methods of getting rid of ants – spraying or baiting them. As a professional Exterminator, using liquid bait is generally my solution of choice when treating a house for these pests. Fortunately, this liquid bait is also readily available for purchase at hardware stores and major retailers, like Wal-Mart or Target.

The best-selling brand of liquid ant bait is Terro, but you can pick up any brand, as long as it is a liquid form. However, Terro has so much market share that the brand has become synonymous with the product, like Band Aid or Kleenex.

Terro comes in two forms and application is easy:

  • The first product is a small bottle of liquid contained in a perforated box. You tear the box into squares and place a few drops of the liquid on those squares to make a homemade "bait station." Place two or three of these stations around your kitchen, or wherever you see ants. As with all pesticides, read the entire instructions on the box, including the safety information. A 1-oz. bottle of this type of ant bait costs around $4.

  • The second is a box of clear plastic, pre-filled bait stations. With these, you never handle the bait directly. Just snip the end of the bait station with scissors, and place two or three on a level surface in the area of the ant activity. A six-pack of stations costs around $8.

There are several advantages to using liquid ant bait vs. ant sprays:

  • Baits have the benefit of the insect voluntarily ingesting the toxin, so less toxic material is needed than when using a surface spray. Keep in mind, regarding toxicity, the active ingredient in Terro is boric acid, also found in laundry booster (Borax) and contact lens solution, and is considered one of the safer pesticides on the market.

  • They aren't airborne, so you, your pets or plants won't be exposed to the toxin through "accidental drift."

  • If spilled, you can easily clean the surface with liquid detergent/dish soap.

  • The ants come to you instead of you trying to get it to them.

  • It's a mobile insecticide. Ants bring the bait back to their nest - this is their secret hiding place that you can't reach. And when they get home, they share the poison with their friends and family.

  • The "palatability factor" - in a liquid form, it's extremely attractive to the ants and is easily eaten and digested.

  • It doesn't have the potential to backfire and cause the nest to move to another location in the house. You always run this risk when spraying a group of ants.

  • You're solving a symptom with a spray, but you're curing the disease with a bait.

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