Chemical Control Options for Ants

When attempting to control ants with chemicals, the most basic options are direct application to the mounds or a broadcast application. With a broadcast application, there is more insecticide used and greater risk to the area ecology so it should be used only where there are extreme numbers of mounds. It must be noted, that to reduce your ant populations, you must kill the queen. So either application of chemical control must meet that objective to be considered a success. In this article we review direct and broad cast applications for ant control.

Mound Treatments:

If you are planning on using the individual mound treatment, you must be sure that the chemical goes deep into the mound to reach the queen. If using Liquid Treatments, drench the mound so that the liquid chemical is able to seep down into center and reach a many ants as possible. All ants in contact with the chemical insecticide should die in less than a day. Be aware that spring and fall are the preferred application times because of the moderate temperatures of 70 – 85 degrees. Hot summers find the ants resting deeper into their mound making it more difficult to reach them. If you must make application during the hot summer months, chose early morning or cooler evening times. Follow all directions on the chemical application of choice to ensure the efficacy of your product. Mixing incorrect ratios might serve to worsen your ant problem instead of curing it.

NCSU.edu recommends the following rates of application for liquid chemical control:
Apply the drench at a rate of approximately 1 gallon per 6 inches of mound diameter. At this rate, for example, a mound measuring 12 inches across would receive 2 gallons of insecticide drench. The amount of drench applied is more important than the concentration of insecticide in the drench. Thoroughly wet the ground to a distance of about 2 feet around the mound. Sometimes the drench does not kill all fire ants in a treated colony. The surviving ants will construct small mounds within 10 to 15 feet of the parent colony. Several days after the application, search the area around the treated colony for new mounds and treat them with the insecticide drench. Keep children and pets away from the treated area until it is dry (or as designated on the pesticide label).

If you chose to use Ant Baits for your mound treatments be aware that the baiting product may be compromised by exposure to very hot and humid conditions in a relatively short amount of time. Consider using baits in spring time before weather conditions are extreme. Also, you can put ‘food’ out near suspected ant foraging sites to gauge where yourbait would be best utilized. Then sprinkle bait around the mounds according to label directions. An application of liquid chemical maybe used 5-7 days after baiting application to make sure all ants are effectively controlled.

Broadcast Applicatons:
If you have reached the conclusion that a broadcast application of chemical is your best option to control your ant problem, consider weather conditions before application. Most broadcast chemicals will need water to be applied for them to be effective. Apply the treatment directly before a rain is forecast and save yourself some work. Consider using broadcast applications during a spring and fall rotation to keep your ant problem to a manageable threshold.

Click HERE for a full listing of appropriate chemicals for ant control.

Monica Bird (933 Posts)

Monica’s compassion for her customer's struggles with pest control issues and passion for pest control stems from over 10 years in the industry. With a master’s degree in entomology, she uses her knowledge and experience in chemistry, insects and pests to educate her customers.


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