“With the weather warming up soon, ants are going to be making their presence felt in and around homes in Australia.” explained Rowan Gregson, Technical Solutions Advisor at Sundew Solutions.
“Excluding termites, ants are considered to be the number one pest in Australia and it’s no wonder considering how widespread they are and how persistent they can be. They are also the most likely pest to result in a call back for pest managers, so getting it right the first time is vital.” said Rowan.
There are a number of pest species of ants, but mostly they tend to be classified as “black ants” or “brown ants”. Some might take it further and classify black ants as sugar or sweet feeders and brown ants as oil/fat or protein feeders. This of course, doesn’t identify the species and is somewhat simplistic, but ant identification is not easy owing to the similarities between some species and their small size making distinguishing features difficult to identify without a microscope.
The most commonly found species in houses are black house ants (Ochetellus glaber) and white footed house ants (Technomyrmex albipedes) which favour sweet foods. Then there are coastal brown ants (Pheidole megacephala), and Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) which are regularly encountered and considered to be protein or oil/fat feeders. Nothing is that clear cut though, as all these species are opportunistic and can be observed feeding on food other than what is their normal diet. For example, insect bodies would be made largely of fat and protein and the black ant species are commonly observed feeding on these. Conversely, if you put down a sugar or honey-based liquid with the brown ants they will often feed on it as well.
“What all this means is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to ant management,” explained Rowan.
No single product can achieve control both indoors and outdoors. To combat ants, Sundew Solutions has developed a suite of products named ‘Sundew Ant Solutions’; four products which cover all aspects of ant control inside and outside the house.
Ants usually become a problem when they invade the house in search of food and/or water. This may occur in drier times or when food sources outside are scarce. Ants will often trail into the kitchen and feed on food scraps or crumbs or seek out water. The trails can be tracked back to an entry point, but they are often difficult to find outside the house as the trail may disappear into a wall cavity and emerge somewhere away from the point they disappeared inside.
An inspection of the exterior will identify more trails and nests which may not be the same colony or even the same species that is invading the house. However, ant activity outside is not usually welcomed by clients, due to the perception that these are the same ants invading the house. The outdoor ants often trail around the outside of the house and will find food sources (e.g. pet food bowls and garbage bins) and swarm over them to feed. Some ant species may excavate soil or sand from under pavers leading to their subsidence. Therefore, it is usually necessary to treat for ants both indoors and outdoors.
The first step is to lay out a trap for the ants in the form of AttractANT PRO. Utilising Sundew’s original ANTstripz, place lines of bait gel adjacent to trailing ants. Avoid using the gel directly on the trail as this may disrupt their pheromone markers. The ants will quickly find the gel and commence feeding recruiting more workers to the new food source. ANTstripz allow easy placement of gel and later inspection of the location to see whether the ants have consumed the bait.
To complete the treatment of the interior, the next step is to apply EnsnarePRO, the first suspension concentrate formulation of indoxacarb. Spray along skirting boards, around windows and doorways and inside kitchen cupboards with EnsnarePRO. This creates a deadly zone, acting slowly enough to allow movement of the active to the nest. As EnsnarePRO is non-repellent, it can be confidently used in conjunction with ant bait gels. While AttractANT PRO cleans up the existing infestation, EnsnarePRO helps prevent future colony incursion and establishment indoors.
Outdoor ant management requires a different approach, given the harsher conditions that are present. Rainfall, ultraviolet (UV) light and difficult pH levels mean that the treatment must be tough to endure outdoor conditions. For this reason, Sundew has another solution, ANTagonist PRO. Developed specifically for ants under the toughest conditions, and now registered for general pests, ANTagonist PRO provides the most reliable, hard-working perimeter treatment you can get. Containing polymer-enhanced bifenthrin, ANTagonist PRO acts as a non-repellent and is designed to last longer than any other synthetic pyrethroid spray. Applied around the perimeter on hard surfaces, it acts as an invisible barrier to ants and other pests. Rain or hard UV light does not cause the product to lose its effectiveness quickly. In fact, ANTagonist PRO has been shown to re-activate after rain as more of the active ingredient is released from the polymer, extending the life span of the treatment.
For areas away from the house perimeter there’s the fourth product, SAS Pro. Specially developed in Australia for ant treatments, SAS PRO is a fipronil based granule that can be spread on lawns, rockeries, gardens and paved areas to control trailing, foraging and nesting ants. SAS PRO works well on its own, but rain or watering will activate the fipronil and provide even better control. The silica-based granule is applied at 7.5g – 15g per square metre, SAS PRO gives long lasting control of ant colonies. Scattered on trails, nests and foraging areas, SAS PRO will see ant activity decline and disappear within days.
Utilising Sundew’s Ant Solutions, professional pest managers have four products to ensure that ants are no longer a callback worry. Our four-pronged ant management plan includes:
AttractANT PRO Ant Bait Gel – internally around ant trails in common foraging areas
EnsnarePRO SC – internal treatment of surfaces to provide an invisible barrier for long term control
ANTagonist PRO – external polymer enhanced bifenthrin perimeter treatment for control in the harshest outdoor conditions.
SAS PRO – external scatter granule treatment for broad areas applied to trails, nests and foraging areas providing fast knockdown of ant populations.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANTAGONIST PRO 80 SC POLYMER ENHANCED BIFENTHRIN CLICK HERE>
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ATTRACTANT PRO ANT BAIT GEL INDOXACARB CLICK HERE>
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SAS PRO FIPRONIAL GRANULAR ANT KILLER CLICK HERE>