by Joe Barile, BCE, Technical Service Lead, Pest Management & Public Health, Bayer Environmental Science
Ants naturally go into a state of inactivity during winter months. However, colonies (whole or satellite) that may pass the winter inside or under, structures may become active.
Such conditions may occur under building slabs, around heat ducts and furnaces, around appliances and when the stronger, late-winter sun warms, building voids. The sudden appearance of ant species such as carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.), odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile), pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum), and Little Black Ants (Monomorium minimum), can generate calls while there is still snow on the ground.
PMPs may respond by applying aerosol and/or residual insecticides to areas of observed activity only to be frustrated when new complaints are received within a day or two. A more effective method is to apply the appropriate Maxforce ant bait to areas of entry to ‘intercept’ winter foragers. Typically, these colonies are ‘winter stressed’ seeking food and more importantly, water. The humidity levels in building interiors drop dramatically during heating season, putting additional stress on ant colonies.
Just as it occurs during the warm season, Maxforce ant baits will be shared among the colony members. The Maxforce Domino Effect® will result in elimination of the colony. Maxforce Fleet is the preferred product for controlling foraging carpenter ants. Its honeydew-like matrix is formulated with specific feeding stimulants that carpenter ants find Simply Irresistible™.
Place the appropriate Maxforce ant baits into cracks and crevices that ants have been reported emerging from.
Look for activity around utility and plumbing penetrations, around appliances generating heat, and anywhere ants may find food and water. Maxforce Quantum may be applied in the supplied bait stations in areas inaccessible to children and/or pets. Remember to read and follow all product label directions.
With the environmental and physiological stress that these winter foragers endure, interception baiting will result in fast, effective elimination of activity before your customers even notice a problem and call for a reservice. Remember that winter activity may be an indication of a larger infestation that will return ‘in-season’ as colonies become active again. Make a note to reinspect, or plan a comprehensive ant management program when the warm weather returns.
For more information, contact your local Bayer Pest Management & Public Health Representative.