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Outdoor Ant Baits to Eliminate Ants in Your Yard

June 10, 2021
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Ants can be quite destructive to all yard types once their numbers begin to get out of control and in plague proportions. The ant colony can cause significant cosmetic damage to your lawn as they create mounds of excavated soil on the surface of your yard known as an ant hill. Their damage can then transfer to paving and other areas around the home. By utilizing a few different methods and ant killer products, you can deal with your ant problem in no time.

So what’s the outdoor ant bait for yard that can effectively exterminate the ant infestation? Ant baiting is one of the best methods for getting rid of an ant infestation in your yard. There are different types of ant bait products such as granule baits, powder baits, liquid ant baits, and reusable bait stations. To choose the best ant baiting product, homeowners should consider the ant species, the most strategic placement for the ant bait, and the durability of the ant bait.

Ant Infestation in the Yard

Ants such as the household ant can be active year-round, but primarily become a concern once the first warm, sunny days of spring arrive. They continue to grow more active as summer approaches, and only slow down again once fall arrives. These pesky ants prefer dry, well-drained soil in an undisturbed low-traffic area. 

A healthy lawn with a nice healthy thatch layer and plenty of green leaves is not a welcoming environment for ants. Ants prefer yards that are in poor health, which are sparse or patchy in areas. Yards in this condition become a perfect environment for ants to thrive and flourish. Yard-dwelling ants such as fire ants, carpenter ants, and field ants are generally not an issue because these are not the stinging sort, but some species have a habit of undermining grass roots and can cause large dead patches in the lawn.

How Do Ants Damage the Yard?

Since ants form social communities, which can live in an area just a few inches wide or in a space many feet across, ant populations and their associated problems will vary. Ant hills can be an unpleasant sight and kill off your grass. Large populations of ants and ant hills can make your yard unwelcoming for leisure activities. Additionally, ants on your property provide an invitation to other pests. Having one pest on your property is often a sign that your yard and home may be infested with others.

Ants such as field ants, farming ants, and army ants can all damage your grass if the situation is left untreated. Field ants' mounds damage the grass. They destroy the grass's root structures, causing brown spots to develop in the greenery. Ant mounds can also make the surface of your grass uneven and tougher to mow. Army ants move together in large groups and kill all of the foliage in an area. A group of army ants can eat and destroy entire sections of your yard, killing the grass.

How Does Outdoor Baiting Work?

Baiting ants offers an entirely different strategy for managing ant infestation. Rather than attempting to spray the ants directly with a killing chemical, ant baits use safer materials, usually boric acid, a naturally occurring substance that’s also found in cleaning boosters and contact lens solution. Most ant bait traps are a mixture of something ants are attracted to. Bait trap contains carbohydrates, proteins, oils, or a combination of these attractants along with an active ingredient. Different attractants are more effective against different species of ants and at different times of the year. Ant species such as odorous house ant, little black ant, pavement ant, and sugar ant prefer sweet baits. On the other hand, carpenter ant, fire ant, pharaoh ant, and Argentine ant will go for protein-filled baits. The goal is to have the worker ants bring the ant bait back to the colony, feed it to the queen, and eventually kill her and the entire colony.

The key to successful ant baiting is observation. Make sure that the bait you use is attracting the type of ants in your yard. Place a small amount of bait in the bait station where you see ants foraging and then watch how they respond to the bait for a few minutes. If the ants show no interest in the bait, try a different bait until you find one that they will readily eat. Most ant baits are slow-acting and don’t kill the ants quickly. Therefore, you may continue to see ants for a week or more after baiting.

Different Types of Outdoor Ant Baits

Closeup of a fire ant hill with ants working busily

1. Granule Baits

Granular baits are one of the most versatile pesticide formulations in the pest control industry. You can use granular baits to treat all kinds of pests that are found on your property such as ants. Granular bait is especially effective as an ant killer because it kills ants before they even get a chance to try and make their way indoors.

Bait granule is usually used to spot treat ants or other pests on your lawn or garden or as preventative treatments around structures. However, for the best possible results, it’s wise to spread the granule bait over an entire area where the insects forage for food. 

Granular baits are food particles treated with an insecticide or an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). Granule bait consists of a solid particle that contains an insecticide impregnated into the granule as well as attractants and food particles for the target insects. The type of ant killer insecticide inside a granule bait can vary, from more natural ingredients such as borax, boric acid, or diatomaceous earth to synthetic or man-made insecticide materials such as synthetic pyrethroids and neonicotinoids.

2. Gel Ant Baits

Gel ant baits take advantage of the natural behavior of ants traveling their ant trail. Foraging worker ants are attracted to the sweet formula of the bait. After consuming the bait, the foraging ants will return to the nest and share the bait with the rest of the colony, including the queen. If an ant ingests the active ingredient Indoxacarb, its nervous system is disrupted, ultimately ending in death. Gel formulations of pesticide baits are packaged in small tubes. They’re applied in small cracks and crevices where ants are entering, preferably in their ant mound or ant nest. Gel products are now available to home users as well as professionals and can be a useful tool in an IPM ant killer.

3. Reusable Bait Stations

Reusable bait stations or dispensers are more useful than prepackaged baits for more difficult ant problems. Reusable stations can be opened, checked, and refilled as needed. This is particularly important for liquid bait, which may be rapidly consumed or dry out. Some stations have removable cups that can be filled with two or more types of baits to offer ants a choice. Examples of liquid ant bait are Amdro fire ant bait, Terro liquid ant bait, and homemade liquid bait.

Bait stations protect baits from photodegradation and disturbance from other organisms. Some types of bait stations can be permanently installed into the ground or attached to outside walls or pavements in areas around schools or other buildings where ants are a frequent problem. The bait stations may be hidden in mulch so they’re not immediately visible to children or pets.

Learn more: Natural Ant Bait Recipes That Actually Work

Application Tips for Ant Baits in Yards

Girl observing ant nest with magnifying glass

1. Safely place and store ant baits

Place the bait station near the line of ants close to their point of entry so they have to crawl over it, but be sure it’s out of reach of children and pets and not near food that could become contaminated. It’s also recommended that ant bait stations are placed where ants can easily find them. Avoid placing them in areas that are accessible to pets and small children. Place baits near nests, on ant trails beneath plants, or along edges where ants travel. Space them every 10 to 20 feet outside around the foundation and at nest openings (if they can be found). Place gels in cracks and crevices behind and under appliances, cabinets, sinks, or closets.

Read more: What Are Child Safe Ways to Bait and Kill Ants?

2. Avoid competition

To improve bait effectiveness, be sure to remove any particles of food, residues of sweet liquids, or other attractive material from cracks around sinks, pantries, and other ant-infested areas. Ants eat a wide variety of foods, including seeds and fruit. They especially like foods high in fat. Keep all tempting foods away from the baited mounds so that the ants feast only on the bait.

3. Monitor ant bait regularly

Check and refresh bait stations regularly. Baits can dry up or become rancid and unattractive over time. It’s also important to leave enough bait for the ants for several days. If the ants carry away all of the bait before you refill the bait, then they may leave that area and go somewhere else before enough bait is spread within the colony. Large ant colonies may require multiple locations and amounts of bait. It’s recommended to place bait that’s enough for 4 days after you see no more signs of feeding by the ants.

4. Be patient

Most bait stations are slow-acting and don’t kill the ants quickly. It takes time for the bait to affect the ants. You’ll probably see ants during this period, but remember that they’re busy spreading the bait. Don’t disturb or kill the ants with ant spray or other means. Spraying the flying ants or the area baited will contaminate the bait and likely repel the ants away from the area. Doing so will disrupt the destruction cycle already set in motion.

Read more: How to Exterminate Indoor and Outdoor Ant Infestation With Ant Baits

Free Your Lawn From Ant Infestation With Positive Pest Management

If you’re spotting a lot of ants in your yard, contact the pest control experts at Positive Pest Management. Our ant control experts can identify, get rid of, and prevent the ants indoors and ants in your yard from getting into your home.

At Positive Pest Management, our technicians are trained to get rid of ant colonies that may be plaguing your yard. Our team can also identify other issues that having ants may be causing, and we’ll recommend steps to remedy the problem. Give us a call to schedule your ant extermination so you can enjoy your yard this summer.