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Ant Traps
Old 08-04-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
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Ant Traps

Looking to gather more data on indoor ant traps... we had a home invasion about 2 wks ago. Some bloody battles were fought w/ hundreds of bodies
sometimes as late as 2AM ...weapon was mostly 409 on paper towels. After the 3rd day or so, we got a box of Raid traps for the home. They are advertised as better because they have multiple entry points and the entriy points are at floor level. For the first 2 days, the invading armies went everywhere except into the traps. I called the manufacturer and asked if their marketing was better than their traps. They told me people keep buying them so they must work, that I should wait about 10 days for results, and that the ants might go in when I wasn't looking. We continued the battle w/ our first and only weapon but left the Raid traps in place. A week or so later and the invading army is mostly gone.

I thought at first that the Raid traps must finally have taken hold as the manufacturer claimed. I then stocked up on a 2:1 sale at the local hardware store ....different brand though. When I opened them up, the design was different...only a single entry point and not at floor level. Also the new ones were not in a sealed plastic envelope like the Raid and since the intent is to not use them until the 3 mo. life of the Raid is past, I don't know if the new ones will lose their potency (or maybe already have lost their potency on the shelf).

Anyone have any real world experience with different brands of these things? Did they work?

How about similar things for outside in the yard?
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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I've had zero luck with any ant bait product other than Terro, and while they aggressively visit and collect from the Terro baits, it doesnt seem to put a dent in the outdoor nests. I actually bought a handful of products at home depot about a month ago when the ants were going wild in my yard, and laid them all next to each other. They went for the terro. None were at all interested in the raid, ortho or other baits.

But then again we have the dang Argentinian ants. They're all from the same original colony in argentina so the queens co-habit a nest, will split and recombine nests and reoccupy an empty one. So its more a war of attrition and resupply.

Most effective approach I've used is to spray the foundation and any obvious nests/presence with a good product made for the purpose a couple of times a year, and if they get in the house I put something tasty out for them like cat food, wait for them to find it and get a good train going, then I periodicaly vacuum them up until they're gone. They'll send another wave a day later. Then they disappear. I'm going to try the terro indoor baits this winter if they get by my foundation barrier...
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Anyone have any real world experience with different brands of these things? Did they work?
How about similar things for outside in the yard?
It depends on what your ants are looking for. Instead of constantly feeding them yummy poison, it's better to persuade them to go elsewhere.

Our most frequent invaders are little (1/8") black sugar-seeking ants. Terro ant bait works great in either the tiny rectangular plastic sealed containers or the larger outdoor-sized cups. It's basically 5% boric acid in sugar water, and it's generally considered non-toxic to pets & kids. You can find boric acid in some old-school eye washes or in boxes of Borax.

We've also been tormented by grease-seeking ants, even smaller than the black ants and almost translucent. Sweet doesn't work with these guys, but a little fat or butter or Crisco in the Terro helps. You may have a local ant-bait liquid specially made for grease-eaters.

Carpenter ants tend to ignore all the baits. They're looking for wet, moist wood. I'd be happy to hear of a foolproof way to poison them.

We occasionally get ants seeking water. We dry out the water and lay out more Terro bait.

We've had ants attracted to our teen's room (guess who forgot to take her lunch out of her backpack), our bunny's litter box (yummy pellets and uric acid) and dead geckos. Once we remove the attractive nuisance, the ants leave.

Once or twice a year a huge rainstorm will dump 2-3" on our property in 24 hours and upset the entire ecosystem. The ants will get flooded out and relocate, and sometimes we're just in the way (or the first dry place they find).

The most important step of all is to patiently track the little buggers to their outside source and put the bait there. For example, our sugar ants will go from their nest around the entire perimeter of our house (over 200 feet) without actually coming inside, just to get at a trash can. If they're coming in through a hole in the tile floor grout, caulk it or fill it with ant bait. If they're coming in through a wall, caulk it and then put ant bait outside. If you're lucky enough to find their ground nest then surround it with bait.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:17 PM   #4
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Some ants like the argentinians will actually switch from grease to sweet depending on the season.

We get the migrations too, after the first heavy rain and the first couple of really hot days. They want out of the ground in the rain and you can nail them climbing into the trees or structures, and they want back into the cool ground when the 100 degree weather rolls around.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:48 PM   #5
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For an outside barrier around the foundation, I put some 'diatomaceous earth' in an old salt/pepper shaker and sprinkle the powder around the foundation. 'Diatomaceous earth' consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It's very abrasive to the exoskeletons of critters like ants, crickets, roaches, and earwigs, and also keeps slugs and snails away. It basically rubs their underbellies raw, and they dehydrate and die. It needs to be reapplied once in a while, especially after a rain. It can also be applied with a puffer bulb thingy in cracks or other tight places like between cabinets & appliances, and also around door and window trim.

The other evening we noticed some piss ants parading through kitchen, so I sprinkled about 1/8 teaspoon of 'd-e' around where we saw them. The next morning.....no more living ants....only deceased ones. Haven't seen any more since then.

You can usually find 'diatomaceous earth' at garden supply houses or hardware stores. I have a 4# bag of it that cost about $10. A little goes a long way! A 4# bag will last me for at least 2 or 3 years. It's not toxic but can cause irritation if inhaled or ingested, or if you get it in your eyes....so I recommend wearing a face mask and goggles. (Of course I very seldom take my own advice about masks and goggles.)

I sprinkle a little of it on the ground around our hostas, tomato plants, and pepper plants and haven't had any problems with slugs or earwigs at all! Don't put ON veggies or their plants, just around them!!!

Years ago we used to spray chlordane around the foundation every few years, and it killed any insect that came in contact with it.....for several years. It worked.....so they banned it's use. Then we used diazinon....it also worked quite well, though it didn't have the staying power of chlordane. It worked....so they banned it's use too. Then we started using dursban.....it worked better than diazinon but not as good as chlordane......guess what......they banned it's use too!

I guess the government doesn't want us to be murdering insects. So the only other alternative to out-right insecticidal homicide, is to put plenty of sugary substances around so the little buggers () eat enough of it, and then just hope they develop terminal diabetes.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:48 PM   #6
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We have several varieties of ants on our property and we've declared a truce with the ones who stay outside. We leave them alone because we have an acre and there are so many we could never make even a dent in their numbers. But as soon as the weather heats up the annual migration into the house begins. First there's a few scouts round the kitchen sink and in the bathrooms and then a few with wings show up. Over the years, we've tried every new remedy including most of the ones mentioned above. Some work well for a while and then - here they come again!

We used 409 too, kaneohe, and it seemed to work best if we left a trail of bodies there for a while - that really confused them. They wouldn't use that same entry point again - but they'd find a new one. It got a bit messy with dead ant bodies all over the kitchen floor.

My SO - a retired engineer - has come up with something that has worked very well for several years now. He tracked them up into the attics and as soon as we see any sign of them at all he bombs the attics and the inside of the house. He only has had to do this once each season for the past few years. He also sprinkles some ant repellent round the foundation where he sees the trail entering the house. So far so good ever since he's done both these things.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:24 AM   #7
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If you saw "ants with wings", they're most probably termites.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:14 AM   #8
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Years ago we used to spray chlordane around the foundation every few years, and it killed any insect that came in contact with it.....for several years. It worked.....so they banned it's use. Then we used diazinon....it also worked quite well, though it didn't have the staying power of chlordane. It worked....so they banned it's use too. Then we started using dursban.....it worked better than diazinon but not as good as chlordane......guess what......they banned it's use too!
The foundation of our rental home was poured onto a chlordane treatment. Never seen a single ground termite, although the ants haven't noticed the chemicals. Some of the older homes around here were built on top of lots sprayed with DDT.

Our exterminator says that Termidor is also an effective ant-killer... for about three months. Too expensive for that "maintenance", but a good idea if a home is being put up for sale.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:16 AM   #9
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I use borax in the box (just sprinkle it under the sink and I also use it in the RV) and it works for light invasions of house-type ants.
We also have RIFA (fire ants) here, and have pretty much given up on any sort of effective, inexpensive treatment for them. Just dealing with the mounds close to the house with Amdro. Fortunately, they don't come in the house.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:23 AM   #10
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If you saw "ants with wings", they're most probably termites.
Not necessarily true. There are plenty of ants with wings when they are swarming. Look at the little buggers with a magnifying glass. If they have 3 body parts (head, thorax, abdomen), they are ants. 2 Body parts (head and body) they are termites.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:30 PM   #11
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Kaneohe,

I have used Grant's ant traps and was happy with them. I used them on the second floor of the house for "scout ants" that came up through the piping. They take the stuff back to their nest and it slowly poisons them.
For invasions, I use Black Flag spray. Must follow the supply route. Kill en route and spray their entrance possibilites. This has worked for me in the past. Holds em off for a couple of weeks. My location at the time was California. "Multiple entrances" could pose a problem for this strategy.

Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:45 PM   #12
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The best solution for Argentine Ants would be little Brits

For ants inside the house, the Boric acid based traps work best for us.

The clear plastic Terro little tubs. But if they are somewhere visible, you get to see dead ant bodies piling up inside.

Have also used the Terro Outdoor Boric Acid based traps, inside. They have a white plastic round tub that has a foil seal on it. And a green plastic base like a little swimming pool with ramps, that has locking tabs and two pokers to tear open the tub when it is inverted onto it. They last a long time, and are pretty clean. Over time, the water inside dries out, causing the Boric Acid to become a semi-solid that the ants don't seem to care for. After a month or so, I open it up, and add a few drops of water, and stir with a toothpick back to a heavy liquid.
C'mon in, ants, the water's fine!

Carpenter Ants
Here, they are looking for hot dry attics. They will walk hundreds of feet over fence rails, bricks, etc. to get to where they finally enter. Have used ADVANCE Carpenter Ant Bait with success. It's expensive. And you have to keep it up a while, because at first it looks like it's not having any effect. But as a lightweight flake-type bait, it isn't easy for me to position. The wind blows it away. It can't be out in the sun, or else it must go rancid, and they won't touch it. And it has to be exactly in their path, they literally have to crawl over it. So it's tough to try to meet all of those real-world requirements for Carpenter Ant bait positioning here, where it's hot and sunny, windy, and brick houses.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:57 PM   #13
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Years ago we used to spray chlordane around the foundation every few years, and it killed any insect that came in contact with it.....for several years. It worked.....so they banned it's use. Then we used diazinon....it also worked quite well, though it didn't have the staying power of chlordane. It worked....so they banned it's use too. Then we started using dursban.....it worked better than diazinon but not as good as chlordane......guess what......they banned it's use too!

I guess the government doesn't want us to be murdering insects. So the only other alternative to out-right insecticidal homicide, is to put plenty of sugary substances around so the little buggers () eat enough of it, and then just hope they develop terminal diabetes.

My father was an exterminator for awhile... and I also was one... we used to use the chlorodane for roaches inside the house and termites in a trench outside... but it was very potent... I used it for my sister's house about 30 years ago... you can dig around the trench and still get a stong oder of it...

I am surprised they banned diazinon and even more so dursban.... neither was that 'potent' and broke down pretty rapidly... but then again, most people use WAY to much and maybe it was getting into the waterways and such... it would be interesting to read why they were banned..

Dursban was supposed to be the 'end all' when it came out... and they had a version that was low order... made it great for the homeowner who did not have to put up with that awful smell
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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If you saw "ants with wings", they're most probably termites
Mature carpenter ants nest (5-7 yo) create winged ants (to spread the colony). MaxForce has developed the best carpenter ant bait on the market IMO. Here's a link:

Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel for Carpenter Ant Control

Ant world has never been the same!
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #15
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When we first saw these flying ants we thought they might be termites, though they seemed smaller, so we took them to the local Dept of Agriculture and they identified them as ants. Didn't give us any new ideas about how to get rid of them, however!

Over the years, we've taken half a dozen samples of bugs and snakes we've found on this property to them and had them identified by the staff. Several types of ants, wolf spiders (which we thought looked like the brown recluse - but wasn't!) Gopher and king snakes and Jerusalum crickets - which look ferocious but are harmless. Our gardener from South America is terrified of them, but he's not at all concerned by the black widow spiders.

Here's a comparison of ants and termites I got off the internet.


Flying Ants

The sight of flying ants in and around the home alarms most people. Contrary to popular belief, flying ants are not always a sign of termites or termite infestations in a home.

Ants Versus Termites Picture
The three main points to consider are the number of main body parts, shape of antennae and length of wings. With this picture you can easily tell the difference between flying ants and flying termites or swarmers.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:06 PM   #16
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Thanks, Telly, tryan, I've just been putting up with them when they've been on the march. Maybe this will help discourage the migrations from stopping by.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:40 PM   #17
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Kaneohe,

I have used Grant's ant traps and was happy with them. . My location at the time was California.

!
I was happy to hear this....didn't want to bias the input so didn't list this as the one I just bought on a 2:1 sale just as reserve ammuntion after the 3 mos. life for the Raid runs out. Also in CA so hopefully it will work as good for me. What I think I learned about life of product.....shelf life about
3 yrs; effective life in use 3 mos.....the claim is that the shorter life in use is because the bait gets removed by the ants , not because of the evaporation of some chemical as I thought at first.

Thanks, all, for the other input.....what I learned is that ants seem to love Terro based on people seeing them swarm on it. I sure hope it also kills them . What if the Terro-exposed ants lived long enough to tell the whole world where the sugar-based boric acid was before they died. The swarm would keep increasing and you wouldn't be sure it was actually killing them. Need to have some faith, I guess. Also learned to scratch their bellies outside w/ diatomaceous earth. I never seem to be able to find the point of entry from outside tho that sounds like a more root-cause solution if you could locate them.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:12 PM   #18
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I've just been putting up with them when they've been on the march. Maybe this will help discourage the migrations from stopping by.
Trick is to put the bait on an ant trail. Just follow one or two until they meet up with others. Then stand for a minute or two to ensure others follow. Put a line of the bait over the trail .... you're all set. 3-4 days later: ants B-gone. I've also removed a food source and replaced it with bait for the same results.

PS. not sure sweet ants will take to the carpenter bait. For sweet ants I use Terro Ant Killer.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:26 PM   #19
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do a search on ants "three pronged". I was reading some of these, and they seemed to make sense. They talk about how you need to use a three prong approach to get them eradicated, or they will just come back.

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Old 08-06-2008, 04:34 PM   #20
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We had a pesistent carpenter ant problem (4-5 years running). This was before MaxForce came out with thier bait. Spray all you want ... they multiply faster than you can kill them. Needed to find the nest. Did some online research ... said look where it can be wet ... look where the wood is soft. Pull the window moldings and look for "dust".

All the trails lead to the play room. So I pulled the window moldings and saw the saw dust. Tried spraying with the moldings off; still we had ants. Sooooo I went out side over the window and drilled into the sofit using a dryer vent hole saw. Didn't see ants, but spayed the heck out of area. Bingo!! Ants squirming EVERYWHERE (but dieing imediately).

Bottom line: need to find the nest.
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