Is It Better To Spray Or Bait Ants To Banish Them From Your Home?

It's never a good sign to find ants in your home because where there is one, a large colony is never too far away. Yet, whether you stumble upon a single ant or a large group, you will want to find the best way to deter ants and keep them away from your home for good. 

Though there are ways to get rid of ants without using poisons, most people choose between the spray or bait methods. They either spray the ants with repellent or insecticide or they use ant baits to keep the insects away.

When you see an ant in your home, it's often a gut reaction to squash it, though squishing an ant is not the best thing to do since pheromones can be released that beckon nearby colonies to come retrieve the body, and the last thing you want is more ants coming to your home.

Is spray or bait the best method to deter ants?

Many sprays can kill ants and roaches. However, according to Venom Pest Control, only 20% of ants leave their colony so the odds of getting all the ants nearby are slim when using sprays. Initially, when you spray with an insecticide, it will kill ants and you might think the job is done, but the colony is still thriving and can still invade your home.

If you spray an ant repellent, which will just deter them, it could make the problem worse, according to Dr. Death Pest Control. The repellent will be carried back to the colony and that may cause the colony to respond by becoming stressed. Their response may be to grow a bigger and stronger colony, which will eventually reinfect your home.

On the other hand, ant baits attract ants that are searching for food who then enlist more ants to come and join in on the fun. The bait is toxic and when ants that reach the baits go back to their colonies, they bring some of the bait residue back to the colonies, which ends up killing off the colony. For this reason, Venom Pest Control advises that baits are your best option for controlling ants.

The lowdown on ant baits

Professional pest control experts can install baits around your home but you can also buy ant baits in stores and online. There is a wide variety of ant baits available. including enclosed baits like Combat and Raid or liquid baits such as Terro. Combat and Raid also carry gel ant baits.

Combat and Raid contain toxic chemicals to kill ants. Combat relies on hydramethylnon and claims to kill the queen as well as the whole colony. The main ingredient in Raid is abamectin which claims to kill ants for up to three months.

Terro uses a different agent and its main ingredient is borax, which is a compound containing the mineral boron. When used properly, borax has relatively low toxicity in humans and is even used in certain applications such as hand soap and toothpaste. In ants, however, it slowly destroys their digestive tract which leads to their eventual death. This slower process allows ants to take the bait back to the colony and distribute it throughout, eliminating the population completely. Terro maintains that their ant baits not only kill ants but other pests as well, including cockroaches, crickets, earwigs, silverfish, and even slugs and snails.