Why are ants so successful at creating callbacks for PMPs?
Baiting for ants can be very much like baiting for trout. Sometimes they attack with vengeance and keep attacking. Other times, no matter how you wiggle the line or change its depth and location, nothing strikes. Like a patient fisher, an ant baiter has to have patience re-assessing after each failure and try new approaches to achieve success.
According to a survey published in PMP Magazine, ants continue to cause large numbers of callbacks, with 39 percent of Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) having a five percent or higher callback rate.1 Here are some possible scenarios as to why your ant control wasn’t working, along with tips to beef up your ant baiting skills.
- Your bait was located at ground level, but the ants were trailing from trees onto the roof line and then into the structure. A similar scenario is that the ant species you were trying to control fed at night, but the bait was placed during the day and a different ant species ended up consuming the bait during the daylight hours. Make sure you have correctly identified the source and timing of an ant infestation before placing the bait.
- Your ant inspection techniques resulted in moving critical items around, which disturbed the ant colony. This disruption caused the ants to move entirely into the structure. Be cognizant of your inspection practices and think critically about how certain actions could affect pest patterns in the future.
- You used an ant bait that had a carbohydrate base, but the ants needed protein instead. Today there are ant baits on the market that contain both ingredient bases to get around this problem.
- Your liquid ant bait dried out too quickly, creating a high concentration of toxicity within the bait. This meant the ants returning to the nest never reached the queen. Recently, manufacturers have been able to get around this issue by formulating ant gel baits to retain the correct amount of moisture (Optigard® ant gel bait and Advion® ant gel bait from Syngenta Professional Pest Management are two such products).
- Your bait may not be able to compete with other food sources in the area, such as pet food left out overnight. To avoid this issue, encourage homeowners to store pet food elsewhere once their pets are finished eating.
These are just a few of the ant callback issues that I have encountered. However, we are still learning and researching problems and solutions as we advance in the ant management industry. Now you can go fishing (I mean ant baiting) with a few more tips in your pocket.
1 Information retrieved from PMP Magazine, http://www.mypmp.net/2014/04/17/the-marching-dead-pmps-and-zombie-pests-ants/
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