Ant repellents and ant baits are two popular ant control products for either eliminating ants or keeping them out of the home. These options work very differently, so it’s important to understand your choices so you can select the right solution for your house.
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An ant repellent is something that deters ants from entering your home. When ants encounter repellents, they will generally choose to look elsewhere for their food source. Repellents are not guaranteed to keep your home ant-free, but they do make it less desirable for ants that are looking for a place to build a nest or find food.
If you already have ants in your home that have discovered a food source or constructed a nest, a repellent is unlikely to solve the problem. The ants may avoid the repellents, but they will likely find another route to their destination that bypasses your ant repellent. A repellent will redirect ants but does nothing to kill off an existing colony.
If your home is currently ant-free, using repellents can help keep it this way. It’s best to use this type of deterrent to prevent problems, not to solve those that are already existing. Apply repellents around doors, windows, and other entry points.
Some common ant repellents include:
Ant baits are products that are appealing to ants as a food source, yet poisonous when consumed. Ant bait is often placed in ant traps. The ants will ideally pick up the bait and take it back to the colony where it is consumed by other ants in the nest, including the queen. Ant baits are most effective when you eliminate all other food sources for the colony, so your bait is widely consumed.
There are many different types of ant baits that you might use. Some are more effective than others. When you’re selecting your ant bait, it’s important to understand how it works. Some baits kill ants quickly while others take time to be effective. Baits that take longer to kill the ants have a greater chance of getting deep into the colony and impacting the entire nest, so a slower solution is often more effective in the long term.
When you’re using an ant bait, it’s important that you resist killing the ants and leave their trails intact. The ants must be able to follow their trails to the bait and safely carry it back to the nest for this method to work. If you can identify the ant species in your home, this will increase the effectiveness of your baiting strategy, because you can select a bait that appeals to them. Some ants prefer sweet foods while others seek fatty items.
If you’re using DIY ant baits, you may need to try several options. Ants can become resistant to certain baits, so you should try different choices, rotating them every few weeks to find a poison that’s both alluring to the ants in your home and effective against them. Remember that ants won’t pick up a bait that doesn’t appeal to them as food. If you have small ants, a granular bait may be too large for them to carry back to the nest. Knowing your ants is the best way to ensure success.
Ant baits are a very common solution and one that’s often employed by professionals. A knowledgeable exterminator will have access to effective ant traps that are suited to the exact ant species that’s in your home.
Now that you understand the difference between ant repellent and ant bait, it’s time to select the right solution for your pest control needs. If possible, locate the ant nest to determine whether they’re living in your home or simply foraging for food there. If you have an ant nest inside the building, you need to use ant baits to kill the nest and eradicate the problem. If the nest is not in the house, you might be content to deter them with an ant repellent and leave them alone outside the home.
Identifying the type of ant that you’re dealing with may help you make this decision as well. Destructive species like carpenter ant are undesirable. Even if they’re not in the home now, they may expand and begin building in your dwelling if left undisturbed. Red ants cause nasty bites that may deter children from playing outside. This is another species you’re likely to want to simply get rid of no matter where they are on the property.
Ant sprays are often categorized as ant repellents, but you need to examine the product you’re working with to properly understand how it works. Ant sprays that kill on contact are only effective for the ants that you see in your home. These won’t help you eliminate the nest, because the queen and ants that remain in the colony are not impacted by these sprays.
Some ant sprays contain a poison that doesn’t kill on contact. Ants carry this poison back to the nest after walking through the spray and spread it throughout the colony. This may work, but it’s important to practice proper safety measures with a spray product. Make sure it’s not toxic to pets or children and that it’s used in a safe manner.
Understanding the difference in ant repellent vs ant baits will help you make the right choice for your home. Whether you’re dealing with a current infestation or looking to prevent a future one, there are smart solutions available. Speak with a pest control professional to learn more.