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Grease Ants? Thief Ants

Bug Lady posted this on Oct 12, 2016
This is the second year I and several neighbors have been overrun with ants.  They are almost too small to see yet they bite.  I have been told by a friend that they are called grease ants.  They seem to have great eyesight and a terrific sense of smell.  I may chop meat for instance on my kitchen counter (using chopping board) and wash well when finished.  Yet they seem to appear even while I work.  They will come back to the cleaned meat or grease area in the night and there will be a counter top covered with them.     No place in my house is tight enough to keep them out.  I would guess they are 1/16 inch.  When I am in bed they are there with me and do their little bites. 

Last year I bought a huge amount of boric acid and went around the whole circumference of the house (mobile home).  It did not work at all.  This year we are using a formula using orange oil,, vinegar and a little dish soap.  It kills them instantly on contact but does nothing to stop them any length of time.  Before that I bought several different kinds of ant traps which they were completely indifferent to.

Thank you for reading this long list of woes
Your professional opinion would be greatly appreciated.





Why we put these 2 products together: This kit covers all the basis of food sources for a large majority of ants. See below for specific applications for both items.
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  • Complete pest control kit is perfect for the average size home. Contains 2 tubes of Advance 388B Ant Gel & 8 Advance Dual Choice Ant Bait Stations plus Plunger.
  • Contains Advance Dual Choice and Advance 388B active ingredient Abamectin B1. 
  • The only professional ant bait Advance Dual Choice with two professional attractants!
  • Each station contains a protein blend and a carbohydrate/oil blend in separate walled compartments, giving hard to control ants and irresistible choice.
  • Originally developed for Pharoah ants because spraying will cause their colonies to split and bud, worsening infestations.
    Advance 388B Ant Gel: Controls Ants (Including, Acrobat, Allegheny, Argentine, Bigheaded, Cornfield, Crazy, Ghost, Harvester, Little Black, Odorous House, Pavement, Pharaoh, Pyramid, Whitefooted, Thief and Honey). 
  • INDOOR: Apply gel indoors in areas where ants are seen, including areas behind the refrigerator, stove, around water pipes, in cracks and crevices on window and door sills.
  • Renew bait as needed.
  • Apply only in areas inaccessible to children and pets. 
  • OUTDOOR: Apply small, pea-sized bait placements where ants congregate or are seen entering the building.
  • Bait near or in cracks, crevices or void spaces around windows, door jams and sills, eaves, patios, garages, under stairwells, and crawl spaces.
  • Other areas where ants travel, hide or nest may also be baited (i.e. fences, trees, tree holes and around concrete slabs and asphalt covered areas).
  • Renew bait as needed, keeping in mind that outdoor gel placements may dry more quickly than indoor placements and may have to be replaced more frequently. 





Grease ant is a name commonly used for one of the smallest ants found in homes in Iowa. These ants are technically known as thief ants. They are very small; only l to l.5 mm (1/16th inch)long. They are smooth and shiny and may be yellow to light or dark brown. Indoors, these ants nest in cracks and crevices of walls and cabinets, under floors and behind baseboards. The nests are frequently difficult to locate since the ants travel great distances in search of food. Though they will eat almost anything, these ants prefer to eat grease, fats and meats. Grease ants form a trail from the food to the nest and the moving columns of ants can be located with careful inspection.

These ants are very persistent and may be difficult to control. Ready-to-use insecticides applied into cracks and crevices in the vicinity of the nest may be effective, though re-appearance of the ants after a week to 10 days is common. Better control success has been reported when ant bait is used.

Most available ant baits must be mixed with a grease or oil to make them attractive to grease ants. Any grease or oil that can be mixed with the bait should be effective. I suggest vegetable oil, peanut butter or a raw pie dough mixture of shortening and flour. The bait-oil mixture must contain enough grease to be attractive, but not so much as to dilute the active ingredient below where it will be effective. Though exact proportions of the most effective mixture are not known, I suggest starting with one drop or of oil, to 5 to 10 drops of bait. If ants are not attracted to this mixture, try another oil or increase the amount of grease in the mixture.

Small amounts of the bait and oil can be mixed together on wax paper and then transferred to the area of ant activity. The bait can be placed on small squares of paper, the non-sticky side of small masking tape strips or directly on the ant trail. Baits must be used with care. Make sure the bait is out of the reach of children and pets. When ant activity has ceased, carefully dispose of the remaining bait.

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