I think there are least three ant colonies living in our house right now that’s why we’re finding it very difficult to eradicate them this time. No matter how clean we try to be, the ants still win in the battle. We tried every DIY solution possible, but they just proved to be temporary. Finally, we succumbed to a commercial product that we only found in our favorite hardware store.
There were two other ant bait products in the store but we chose Terro Liquid Ant Killer II because the box says that it contains borax. We’ve been searching for borax — not the flux kind — everywhere, and found this instead. We tried it at once. We placed the bait at two different spots where we found ant trails. After a few minutes, the ants were greedily feasting on them.
We observed over the next few hours that the ants in the baits increased but ants that don’t belong to the same trail seem to be reluctant to approach the bait. That’s when I decided that they might be from a different colony.
This is how the bait works: ant colonies that feed on sweets will send scouts to search for food. The sweet ant bait will attract the scouts and they will send reinforcements. The worker ants will carry the bait back to their colony, which they will feed to their queen. The borax in the bait will kill the queen, cutting off reproduction in the colony. Meanwhile, all the other ants in the colony that have eaten the bait will die within a day or two.
So far, it looks like the bait is working, given the fact that the ants went for the sweets. Depending on how big the colony is, total eradication might take about a week or so. I’ll monitor my observations and blog them here. I have yet to see the results before I recommend the product.
Two days have passed since we first tried Terro Liquid Ant Killer II and we can see significant improvement in our ant problem. The morning after we first placed the baits, we found that the ants have completely consumed the liquid. So we refilled the supply, using small dishes this time so we can put more of the product in the baits. The result? The liquid in bait #1 is still being devoured by some ants, but there are now only a few ants around bait #2.
I’m not sure if the ants devouring bait #1 still belong to the same colony as the ones that consumed the original bait. The original bait in this photo is the one on the leftmost side — the one that has been surrounded by dirt. The ants were said to have surrounded the bait with dirt to protect their food source from other colonies. While ants don’t seem to like sharing their food with others, I don’t think that the ants on this bait today are still the same as the ones from the other day. I think the original ants are already gone and the bait has attracted a smaller colony. Either that, or that the colony has relocated. The ants today seem to be following a different trail. Where they come from seem to be just right beside the bait. I think the reason why there are fewer ants on the bait is because they alternate among themselves, now that the bait is very close to where they nest. That’s just what I think — I’m no expert on ants, so I might be wrong.
Bait #2 is the more critical bait because it’s just right outside our kitchen window. Its original consumers are now nowhere to be found … dead, I don’t know. The ants we were targeting for this bait were the ones that ransacked our food storage boxes and probably live behind our kitchen cabinet. I can still see a few ants walking in our kitchen, but not as plenty as the ones marching around before we used the product. The ones that are now feeding on the bait are the black ants — not our enemies at all. Our enemies are the small red ants that sting so badly. I saw a few of them lying dead on our kitchen counter this morning, and if that is the effect of the product, good for us!
I will continue to monitor our ant problem and observe the effects of the product. By the way, I saw an unusual ant earlier today. It’s bigger than the other ants and was just by itself. It landed on my arm and when I tried to catch it, it jumped (or flew?) and landed on the kitchen sink. I drowned it and showed it to my husband, who said that it was a male ant. Uh-oh, that only means one thing: mating season is here. No!
Five days after first using the product, all ants from baits #1 and #2 have disappeared. Over the weekend, we set up two more baits where we’ve seen different groups of ants marching (baits #3 and #4). Bait #3 — which is just a few feet away from bait #2 — seem to have killed the ants within 24 hours, while bait #4 is still attracting some ants. Overall, we are quite pleased with the performance of the product.
We still refill the baits once they are consumed, just to make sure that any new colony will be wiped out before they become a menace. We notice that a few new ants do approach the baits, but they’re too few (and too busy with the bait) to do any damage.
I believe that ants are useful to the ecosystem but when they invade your home, they become major pests. For the ants that mean no harm, I guess we could just consider them as collateral damage. But for the ants that have the makings of an enemy, we call this prevention. My husband and I (and even our cat!) have had enough ant bites already so it’s time for us to retaliate.