Ant Treatment Techniques

Range of Treatment

In the battle against pest ants you may find a range of treatment that varies widely. The most typical approach is to establish a perimeter barrier around a building the fend off attacking ants. This is for obvious reasons called “the perimeter treatment.” Some companies will restrict their treatments to within a certain footage from this perimeter, but by and large, the perimeter treatment is defined at “2 feet up and 2 feet out.” But you do find further variations on this idea, such as the Do-It-Yourself technique of using “Chinese chaulk” (not recommended due to potentially dangerous products within the chaulk and lack of regulation around it) and other homeowner attempts to surround the house with a protective barrier.

Establishing a perimeter is a good idea, yet there are concerns that doing so also means placing pesticide on concrete walkways and driveway areas surrounding the building, which could lead to pesticide run-off into the sewer system.

Building perimeter treatments will not help if ants are finding their way into your home by scaling trees and shrubs, entering windows and roof lines.

You may hear advertised the “zone of defense” approach, where different areas of the yard and garden are addressed with different or similar products. This has its’ merits, as ant populations usually original farther out on a property and this technique addresses them where they are before they get into your home.

As treatments move further out into the yard or garden, likewise as treatments move upward to rooflines, windows and other elevated surfaces, there is increased risk of drift. Drift is defined as the propendency of pesticides to blow or be blown from the area of desired treatment to an unwanted area. This is often a concern when unsuspecting neighbors, who may be actually present behind a fence or have a loved pet nearby, is inadvertantly sprayed via drifting pesticides.

Granules are often used for outdoor treatment. These products have the physical ability to move through surface materials into the soil, where liquid products might simply dissipate on the surface. Granules can drift just as liquid formulations. Despite their weight, they are still projected as they are dispensed, causing them to easily be pushed into areas that are undesirable. Often these granules land on hard concrete surfaces. Occasionally, a pest control company will get a caller saying that granules were found on a patio or driveway. These products should not occupy hard surfaces. When they do, there is a likelihood of them contributing to sewer run-off.

Micro-encapsulated Formulations

Both liquid concentrates and granules are now available in micro-encapsulated time capsules. There is good and bad to this new development. On the positive side, the pesticides last longer. On the negative side, the pesticides last longer. The sooner the pesticide dissipates, the more we are able to control long term impact. If pesticides last longer, they are also more likely to eventually leach into the ground water and cause water contamination.

Interior control of Ants

In previous years, indoor treatments focused on wall voids, interior perimeters along baseboards and other obscure infesting points, such as wall electric circuits. Dust formulations were often used behind walls and in sockets, combined with repellents around baseboards. Dusts last a very long time and many pest control companies and homeowners swear by them, but they are also easily misplaced, as dusts are what they are and tend to blow easily into areas they do not belong. We have seen instances of dusts on countertops and computers. Repellents also caused breakouts of ants all over the house as the ants would move from areas of repellency to other sections of a home that did not exhibit these repellencies. It was common to see ant infestations that started on the first floor suddenly move to the second floor shortly after a treatment.

Pesticides should never by used on food handling surfaces or other areas where people, especially those at increase risk or sensitivity, can come in contact. We recommend using baits or highly localized treatments above ground level, so that pesticide does not drift into unwanted areas.

Ant Baits and Non-Repellents

Pest control has changed due to the advent of advanced ant bait formulations and non-repellents. Originally, baits where of a tocixity and chemistry, that the ants died quickly, before they returned to the nest. In the past several years, ant baits and non-repellents have been formulated for a slow death, one that will use the characteristics of social insects to regurgitate food to other colony members, so as to kill the ants back at the nest, where the majority of ants are present.

Organic and Natural Ant Products

Organic or natural products fall into the repellent group of products. Though they do not have the sophisticated properties of non-repellents and baits, they have gained tremendous appeal among the environmentally conscious members of society. These products tend to have “less residual” capability, meaning that they do not last long. But with any of the repellents, it is common for the repellency and kill potential to drop off rapidly after treatment. Organic ant baits and repellents can be used effectively, preferably on a prevention basis. Organic products are now being constructed that contain other kill factors that do not require synthetic chemistries, but rely on new scientific approaches to attack the unique structure of insect life.

Killing the Target Pest

Due to health concerns and the history of kill offs of “non-targets” or as we would say in war, “collateral damage,” pesticide manufacturers are rethinking their formulations to use the unique characteristics of ants to target ants only, without impact on other life forms. More will come of this approach in years to come, but we are also sure that they will be followed by groups focused on proving, rightly or wrongly, that the new pesticides as well, produce non-target kills that are harmful to the environment.

The Evolution of Ant Treatment Techniques

The only thing sure about ant treatment techniques is that no matter what we do to alleviate ant infestations, the ants always win. But we can make our lives more pleasant by control techniques. Old methods of ant control will hang around and new ant treatment techniques will evolve to address regulatory, personal health and environmental concerns. Products will be removed from the market, such as DDT and Diazinon and new products, such as Fipronil will replace them, only to in turn be replaced with new chemistries, methodologies and techniques to outsmart ants.

Got Ants? Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with an ant infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.

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