Ant Baits Need Time to Work

Q. I put ant bait out in various places in my kitchen about two weeks ago, but I’m still seeing ants. Why isn’t it working? Do you think the ants could be immune to the bait?

A. I doubt if what you’re seeing is insecticide resistance. What you’re seeing is probably just normal ant behavior when exposed to bait. Most people don’t realize that baits work slowly. We expect an immediate response when we apply insecticides, but baits are not like sprays. Actually, it’s a good thing that baits don’t kill the ants right away. A good bait is one that doesn’t kill the ants until they have had time to feed on it and carry it back to the colony. In the colony, the bait is shared with ant larvae, other workers, and the queen, eventually eliminating the colony. If the worker ants died from the bait before returning to the colony, the colony wouldn’t be destroyed. It also takes some time for the bait to be passed around to every ant in the colony.

It usually takes several days to start seeing results from most ant baits. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize that you are seeing fewer ants than you used to. Be patient. Baiting is usually a better option than spraying insecticide because, while spraying will kill the foraging ants, it does not affect the rest of the colony and other ants from the colony will soon be back in your kitchen.

If you don’t start seeing results soon, there are several reasons why the baiting may not be working. (1) It may be that you haven’t placed the bait in spots where ants can find it. Place bait where you have seen ants trailing, and also near water sources such as sinks and dishwashers, near areas where the ants have been feeding, and near heat sources such as light fixtures and appliances. (2) It’s also possible that whatever the ants are feeding on in your kitchen is outcompeting the bait. If the ants have plenty of other food available, they may ignore the bait. Make sure you’ve eliminated other available food for the ants. Make sure the ants are not also feeding somewhere other than the kitchen. (3) You should also be sure that you haven’t accidentally repelled the ants away from the bait. If you’ve sprayed any insecticide or used any strong cleaning products near your bait placements, the ants may be avoiding those areas. (4) Make sure that the ants haven’t eaten all of the bait. Keep bait available for them until they are gone.

If after a reasonable amount of time, you still have ants, call Colonial. We can set up an ant management program tailored just for you, based on your situation and the type of ant that is causing the problem. Our trained technicians know how to locate those hidden ant nests and know just where to place ant baits for the best results. Best yet—our work is guaranteed. No more ants…we promise. Call the pros! We do ants so you don’t have to!


    1. Scott MacKerron says:

      I just have a question? I’m using Raid Ant Baits outdoors for Native Fire Ants to AZ. How long to Raid Ant Baits last?

      Thank you

    2. I had best luck with the liquid baits. Usually ants will go right to em. One time they went near a week without touching it. I spiked it with a few grains of sugar and they emptied it.
      Since then, I spike them all prior to setting.

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