How to pick the right formulation for your tough ant infestation
By Eric Paysen, Ph.D., Technical Services Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management
Tough ant infestations can cause even the most seasoned pest management professionals (PMPs) to scratch their heads. Ants are incredibly diverse and have adapted to virtually every surface on Earth. This diversity means a treatment strategy effective on one species is often completely useless on a different species — even at the same account.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one universal solution for every ant infestation, but there are many great tools for finding success. To deliver reliable results:
- Recognize the local ant species and know when you’re dealing with an atypical infestation
- Know the treatment strategy that works best for the species you’re managing
- Be versatile and ready to try something different if your first attempt doesn’t get results
- Understand how various formulations work and how they impact ant populations
To control many diverse ant species, a variety of insecticide formulations have been developed. Below is an overview of each formulation type and how they can be used successfully against difficult ant populations.
These cover many active ingredients and specific formulations and can be broken into two broad categories:
1. Pyrethroid insecticides, with fast knockdown and potentially repellent effects, are best for:
- Treating nesting and potential nesting sites
- Providing a barrier around structure entries
Formulations like Demand® CS insecticide with iCAP technology™ and Tandem® insecticide with iCAP technology™ are especially effective because they feature unique microcapsules that:
- Protect the active ingredient from environmental exposures
- Stick to the insect’s exoskeleton
- Can prevent repellent effects
2. Slower-acting active ingredients are unlikely to stimulate repellent behavior, provide delayed mortality and are easily passed to nestmates through horizontal transfer. This category includes Optigard® Flex liquid insecticide and Advion® WDG insecticide, which are designed for tough ant infestations and best used:
- When pressure from super-colony ants is high
- As a perimeter treatment
- For following leading edges and existing ant trails
- In conjunction with baits
Baits give PMPs high levels of control with low doses of active ingredients. They combine food materials with slow-acting active ingredients, which are eaten by worker ants, carried back to the colony and consumed by larvae and other ants through trophallaxis. Control generally begins within 24 hours.
Ant baits fall into two categories:
1. Gel baits are palatable to sweet-loving ants, including many super-colony ants, and include: 2. Solid granular baits, such as the following products, incorporate oils and proteins in their formulations: Ants can be picky and change their tastes. Apply a test spot to see if they readily consume the bait. If they don’t accept it, try other baits, as one will usually do the trick.
An often-overlooked formulation, granular insecticides like Demand G insecticide provide a long-lasting residual and quick contact mortality. Applications settle through surface obstacles to reach ants in the soil. A thorough application can prevent ants and eliminate potential breeding grounds.
Syngenta is proud to offer a full line of ant management products and the know-how to help you tackle your toughest infestations. If you have ant questions or need ideas, reach out to your Syngenta territory manager or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
©2020 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Advion®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, Optigard®, Tandem®, with iCAP technology™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).