Bait is an effective tool for fire ant control. Most fire ant bait is made with a food attractant with an active ingredient mixed in. The ant workers take the bait back to the nest and share it with all of the other ants in the colony. If all of the ants eat a dose of the bait, the colony will begin to die. If the queen eats some of the bait, she will die and there will be no replacement ants produced.
Ant baits are made with several types of active ingredients. Several brands contain an insecticide as the active ingredient. When an ant eats a dose of this bait, it dies. Every ant has to eat a dose of bait or receive a dose from another ant. It usually takes time for this type of bait to work. A few brands of insecticide bait can eliminate a fire and colony in a few days. However, Most ant bait that contains insecticide takes a few weeks to get complete control.
Some brands of ant bait contain an insect growth regulator (IGR) as the active ingredient. The most commonly used IGR works by killing the eggs that the queen produces. When there are no new ants produced, the colony starts to die. This type of bait usually takes time to work. Some people use this type of fire ant bait as a preventive treatment.
The bait package label will have important directions. The label will specify how much bait should be applied. The label often prescribes the amount of bait to apply for every one thousand square feet. It is often easier to treat very large yards in sections. Multiply the length by the width to find the number of square feet in each section.
Fire ants forage for food in the grass, so the bait should be applied in the grass. Bait that goes on top of the mound will usually be wasted because the ants will not eat it. Some types of ant bait can spoil if they get wet, so be sure to read the label and watch the weather.
When the yard is fire ant free, the ants from the neighbor’s yard ill try to invade. The bait package label will have directions that explain when to re-apply the bait.