Ant Bait Guide

Most Effective Products

Ant-Trax Ant Bait
Gel Bait
As low as $21.99
Ficam Insect Bait
Granular Bait
As low as $21.99
Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait
Liquid Bait
As low as $60.27
Keith's Pro Tips

"Wait until ant populations are low and sufficient time has passed after ant bait placements before using other insecticide products. Baits placed at the same time as repellent insecticide will not be effective as ants will avoid the bait."

Ant Bait Guide: How to Kill Entire Ant Colony By Baiting

This page is an expert guide on getting rid of ants from your home and yard with professional ant baits. Follow this easy to use guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee you will be successful in controlling ant populations by learning more about ant baits and the pest itself. 

When many homeowners hear the term baiting many of them imagine placing a food source with a type of insecticide for ant elimination. However, this method is not entirely successful on its own and often leads to a more serious infestation. While there are many ways to create your own ant bait, using a professional ant bait is one of the easiest and guaranteed methods against ant infestations.

As strange as it may sound, you do not want to kill ants too quickly or disturb their mounds as this will only cause ants to spread further in your property. Additionally, the ants you are seeing are only the worker ants. Just by killing the visible worker ants you do not kill the entire colony, which is where the use of ant baits come into play.

Controlling ants can be a very difficult process and requires a combination of cultural, sanitization, chemical treatments, and lastly your patience. There are many things to consider when picking the best ant bait for your homes infestation, but choosing a bait can be done by following this DIY guide.

What Are Ant Baits

An ant bait is made up of an active ingredient from a pesticide or toxicant and usually mixed with an attractant made from a food ingredient. Ant baits are available in several different formulations from liquid baits, gel baits, bait granules, bait dusts, or containerized bait stations prefilled with bait, which are often called ant traps.

Liquid Ant Baits: are pesticides formulated in a liquid manner that sometimes need to be mixed with water and placed in a specific bait station to be used. Depending on the manufacturer, most liquid ant baits are mainly concentrated with sugar solutions to attract and eliminate sweet-feeding ants, and not many other ant species.

Gel Ant Baits: is a thick or syrup-like pesticide material in a prefilled bottle, syringe, or small tube to be discreetly applied in hard-to-reach cracks, crevices, voids, or on ant trails. This type of ant bait is more commonly used as it can easily be applied to indoor or outdoor cracks and crevices and controls most ant species.

Bait Ant Granules: are simply small to medium size granules that are formulated with only insecticides and not attractants. Unlike other baits, bait granules mainly work as direct toxicants when ants come into contact with the material. They will then digest the granules then perish or it may cause immature stages of ants to stop growing before sexual maturity and/or the queen ant to be sterile as it may be formulated as an insect growth regulator. These type of baits are not to be confused with granular insecticides, which function more as a repellent contact insecticide while granular baits function by ingestion and transfer.

Bait Ant Dusts/Powders: are like granules in which they kill ants by contact and contain no attractants, with the exception they are formulated as a light, fine powder. Ant dust baits work exceptionally well in confined spaces or specific isolated areas such as wall voids, electrical outlets, or direct application on ant mounds depending on the label. In contrast, bait ant granules can be applied more to open spaces such as around a homes perimeter, into the soil, and outdoor or indoor crevices depending on how its labeled.

Ant Bait Traps: is a type of liquid ant bait enclosed in a plastic container, however, ants will not be trapped. In fact, it lures the ants into the container towards the bait and allow them to bring it back to the inside of its ant mound to spread to other colony members. Depending on the ant bait trap, they are mixture of proteins or carbohydrates (sugars, starches, cellulose) and some type of toxicant. Compared to other type of ant baits this type of bait is limited to small treatment areas and cannot be used for large treatment areas or enclosed spaces.

How Ant Baits Work

Most ant baits come pre-packaged or already formulated with the mixture of an insecticide or toxicant and food attractant. Often, ants will bring the bait material back to the colony to share with other ant members and the queen, slowly killing them off one by one. Baits are usually slow acting so the foraging ants have time to make their way back to the nest and feed other members of its colony.

Most gel baits are sugar-based whereas most granular baits are protein-based.

What is the Best Ant Bait to Use

Some types of ant baits have advantages over other types of baits. What is critical to remember is that when determining which ant bait is the best will be based on the ant species.

Generally, ants will fall into one of two categories: sugar feeding ants or protein feeding ants.

Sugar ants seek out all types of sugar based foods such as spilled juice, raw sugar, fruit, or honeydew made by other insects. Protein feeder ants or just regular ants are known to feed on insects dead or alive, meats, greasy foods, bread, and more. However, both type of ants may not feed exclusively on one type of food source meaning that a sugar ant will still feed on protein foods and protein feeding ants on sweet food sources depending on the species.

Determining what type of ant species you have in and around your home will depend on several factors such as the location where foraging ants are found or their nests, appearance of the pest, and your geographical location within the United States. There are several ant species, but they can easily be identified in our ant control guide.

Take note of what type of food the ant is feeding on as this may help determine if it is a type of sugar ant or protein feeding ant.

What is Ant Bait Made of

When deciding between ant bait products consider the active ingredient being used. The active ingredient in the ant bait is the specific compounds or components of the bait that kills or controls the ant.

Most ant baits are composed of a rather small portion of the active ingredient and the rest of it with either carbohydrates, proteins, oils, or a combination of these all together. While the active ingredient will tell you how and why the bait will impact the ants, the other list of ingredients will determine if the bait will be consumed.

Look for active ingredients on the ant bait product label and learn more about each active ingredient difference as it may be the key to colony elimination and long-term relief.

Hydramethylnon: is an organic compound belonging to the chemical class trifluoromethyl aminohydrazon and also functions as a metabolic inhibitor. As an ant bait, it will spread over where ants are foraging then interfere with the ants cell ability leading to the inability to digest food. This condition usually occurs in approximately 72 hours, resulting in the ants death.

Fipronil: is a phenylpyrazole chemical and is used to control a wide variety of pests, including ants. This insecticide is relatively new to the pesticide industry, and it kills ants by ingestion or when they come into contact with this active ingredient. When ants come into contact with this chemical it will disrupt their central nervous system, leading to hyperexitation of the insects nerves and muscles. Fipronil can take several minutes or hours to kill ants depending on its formulation. Often this type of active ingredient is used because its a non-repellent, allowing ants to make contact with treated areas without repelling them for effective elimination.

Boric Acid (borate): is the most common active ingredient in ant baits. Boric acid is a naturally occurring chemical found in soil, water, and plants. While this active ingredient mainly functions as a stomach toxicant it also hinders the ants nervous system by contact or when ingested. An irritant, boric acid is also known to harm an ants exoskeleton. Each of these functions results in death of ants within 24 to 28 hours.

Abamectin: is a type of nerve poision derived from the soil bacterium streptomyces avermitilis. Although its an act of natural fermentation of this bacterium it is still classified as a toxicant. It attacks the nervous system of ants, causing paralysis within hours then dies within 3 to 4 days.

Indoxacarb: is a relatively new chemical that belongs to the oxadiazine chemical family. This chemical works by blocking sodium channels in the ants nervous system when they come into contact with it or ingest the white powdered solid material. This process begins immediately, but it does not provide an instant kill to ants instead it could take 3-10 days for their death.

Thiamethoxam: is a second generation neonicotinoid compound that belongs to the new chemical subclass thianicotinyls. This chemical causes certain types of receptors in the ants' nervous system resulting in overstimulation of their nerve cells, then paralysis and eventual death within 3 to 5 days.

Pyriproxyfen: is a broad-spectrum insect growth regulator that mimics the natural hormone in ants and disrupts their growth. It will not kill ants, but will stop immature ant stages from reaching sexual adulthood and stunt the queen ants ability to lay eggs thus stopping future generations of ants.

Where to Apply Ant Baits

Ghost Ants Feeding on Food Liquids

Before you set your ant bait be sure there are no other food options available in the treatment area by wiping down surfaces with a wet rag to remove crumbs or food odors.

Avoid any type of soap, bleach, or other chemical products as this could interfere with your ant baits success. Seal exposable food is sealable plastic containers and properly dispose of exposed uneaten pet food to limit food competition.

Follow application sites as stated on your ant bait label, but most ants baits will be placed closest to where the pests are most active, areas where ant activity is most likely to occur such as around drains or in cabinets, directly on ant trails, or areas where ants are likely to enter your home.

Be sure to place baits in areas inaccessible to children and pets.

How to Use Ants Baits

Before applying and handling any type of ant bait you will need to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Depending on your preference and ant species will determine which ant bait to use. We recommend using a slow-acting gel bait as they are more diverse in application sites and can allow the bait to be thoroughly distributed among the entire colony.

In this section, we will specifically focus on gelt baits, granular baits, and liquid baits. 

Ant-Trax Ant Bait is a versatile ready to use ant bait gel that eliminates many kinds of ants both indoors and outdoors. Other recommendations we suggest is Ficam Insect Bait as a granule bait application against ants like carpenter ants, or Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait for a liquid ant bait option for sweet-feeding ants.

Step 1: Determine How Much Ant Bait to Use

Measuring Square Footage of Treatment Area

Figure out how much ant bait to use by measuring the square footage of the treatment area. To do this, measure the length and width of the treatment area in feet then multiply them together (length X width = square footage). For acreage, take the square footage and divide it by one acre (square footage / 43,560 sq. ft. = acres).

Keep in mind that bait is an attractant. If you use too much, you could end up attracting other pests like cockroaches. However, if you use too little then your current ant infestation will seek out other food sources before the queen ant can be killed.

Step 2: Set-Up Gel BaitAnt-Trax Ant Bait Gel Placement

If you are using an ant bait gel like Ant-Trax Ant Bait then you will apply 4 pea size drops of product per square yard of treatment area. Place the Ant-Trax Ant Bait closer to ant trails and areas of activity. Numerous small Ant-Trax Ant Bait placements will provide quicker control than large bait placements.

Step 3: Set-Up Granular BaitFicam Insect Bait Outdoor Placement

Ficam Insect Bait is a ready to use granular insecticide bait that will kill many crawling pests, including ants with the active ingredient orthoboric acid 5.0%.

Apply Ficam Insect Bait at a rate of 6 oz. per 100 sq. ft. of treatment area. Spread the product granules along where you have seen ant trails and areas where you suspect has an ant infestation.

For an outdoor perimeter application against ants, apply at the rate of 4 lbs. of product per 1,000 sq. ft. of your homes perimeter.

Step 4: Set-Up Liquid Bait

Applying Liquid Bait

Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait is a borate based liquid ant bait that attracts sweet-feeding ants such as white-footed ants. Like other liquid baits this product will need to be diluted with water and placed in a specific ant bait station to be used.

Depending on the severity of your ant infestation, use a 1% dilution of Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait for mild ant infestations or a 2% dilution of this product for severe ant infestations.

To achieve a 1% dilution of Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait use 5 fl. oz. of product with 25 fl. oz. of water to achieve 1 quart of finished product. For a 2% dilution of Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait mix 10 fl. oz. of product with 20 fl. oz. of water to attain 1 quart of finished product.

How to Know if Ant Bait is Working

Ant Trail

It may be alarming at first, but a sudden increase of ants when the bait is first placed is to be expected. When ants travel to and from the bait they will leave behind a pheromone trail that lets other worker ants know where to find the available food supply. This explains why at first you will see more ants when using ant baits.

Based on the active ingredient of the ant bait, its formulation type, and additional food sources that are available will determine how long it will take for ants to be eliminated.

Consider additional cleaning methods like wiping down counter and pantry shelves, sweeping and vacuuming floors, and placing food in sealable plastic containers to increase your ant elimination efforts. Other methods such as sealing cracks and crevices on the outside and inside of your home with caulk will stop ants from entering or nesting near your home.

Take into account that the use of insecticides, cleaning agents, detergents, and exposed food sources will deter ants away from the baits being used. 

Key Takeaways

Will Ant Bait Bring in More Ants

  • Ant baits are designed to attract ants so you may see an increase in ant population from when the bait was placed. However, after the labeled days the bait should reach the colony for complete elimination.

Can Ant Bait Be Used Outdoors

  • Depending on the manufacturer, most ant baits can be used outside. For serious ant infestations, we recommend using granule baits like Ficam Insect Bait for perimeter applications and larger treatment areas against ants. Baits such as liquid ant baits or ant bait traps are more for indoor ant control than outdoor ant control.

Is Ant Bait Safe for Pets

  • Ant Baits are safe to use around children and pets when applied according to its product label instructions. Always wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling and applying the product. Some ant baits such as Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait must be used in an ant bait station.
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    Ant-Trax Ant Bait
    $21.99 - $49.99
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    Ficam Insect Bait
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    Terro PCO Liquid Ant Bait
    $60.27 - $60.27
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