Baiting vs. Spraying

As the summer begins here in Houston, one of the insects that will be “bugging” many homeowners will be the little nuisance ants.  There are many different types of nuisance ants out there.  The more popular ones are either the crazy ants, rover ants, or ghost ants.  These ants do not bite, but they will get into any food left behind and generally be a pain in the butt to all homeowners.

When we get the call that a customer has ants in their house, we usually know what kind of ants they are and can usually take care of it quickly.  At least that is the plan.  The first thing we need to do is educate the customer on what kind of ants they have and why they are in their home.  The next step is to figure out the best method of eradicating their issue.

There are two main ways of getting rid of these ants either by crack and crevice spray or baiting.  The customer usually likes to see us spray the ants dead because that is a quick fix and if they have ants at 3:00 they won’t have them at 3:20.  The problem with spraying is that even though you kill the visible ants there are many more not visible that are under counters or behind walls.  When we spray the ant trail all that does is put stress on the trail and the ants decide they will just start a new trail at another part of the kitchen.  Four days later the home owner has the same issues.

The better way of dealing with this issue is to bait the trail.  We have used many different types of baits, but the one that seems to work the best right now is called opti-guard.  We find where the ant trails are and apply drops of the bait.  We can also bait the trails outside the home where the ants may be entering.  At the time of baiting we may see 3 or 4 or 5 ants.  In 20 minutes or so, we want to see 20 or 40 ants.  Now the homeowner usually freaks out when I tell them that’s what we want, and it’s ok.  We want them coming out of the woodworks.  What the ants will do is to eat the bait and transfer it to all the other ants.  I tell the homeowner the areas where I put out the bait may be full of ants for the rest of the night.  It’s ok if it is.  Leave them alone and let the bait do it’s job.  The next day all the ants should be gone.  Now I also remind the customer we live in Houston and the bug world is crazy weird in Houston, so I’m never surprised at anything these days.  If for any reason the ants are still there after a few day then please wipe up the bait gel and give us another call back.  We will go with plan B.  What ever that may be.

For the most part we never have to go with plan B, because the baiting usually works.  For the exterminator it’s very important that we educate the customer on why the bating will work and make sure they know it’s a slower process than spraying but in the long run will be more effective.  We also have to let them know that “crazy ants” are easy to get rid of, but hard to eliminate.  Which means it’s usually a yearly issue and the customer will probably see them again at one point.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps!

Scott McGrath