Liquid Ant Baits

I recently had a minor ant problem in my bathroom. My landlord (who lives upstairs and is/was having some ant problems of his own) gave me a small package labeled as the Subject line (I think it was translated from another language, hence the ungrammatical plural).

The active ingredient is borax (which Cecil wrote about the insecticidal properties here) and the rest seems to be some kind of syrupy stuff, no doubt with lots of sugar. At first the ants ignored the stuff, but that may have been because it was a bit hard to reach, being still in the (open) container. So I put a good-sized drop near one of the ants and she glommed right onto it. The next time I checked (about 8 or 10 hours later), there was a small group feasting on the stuff. (There may have been more that came and went while I was gone.) They eventually went away and I haven’t had any come back for several days. Looks like my problem has been fixed.

OK, my question is how much damage did this do to the ants? Did I just do in the ones that came and ate or did they carry the stuff back to the nest and wipe the whole thing out?

They’re meant to take it back to the nest.

They carry the stuff back to the nest and wipe the whole thing out? That’s the whole point of using borax, rather then a more fast acting insecticide.

Depending on the exact species, you may not have wiped out the entire colony, but you killed far, far more than just the animals that fed on it. You’ve also wiped out at least one queen, and thousands of eggs and larvae.

i’ve used a borax sugar bait. it works fastest if you place it in the path the ants have gone (they sent mark a trail), once one ant finds it then it will bring back others. there were dozens of ants cheek to cheek sucking up solution (it was a good sized liquid area) with others waiting in line.

ants go back and puke up what they ate to feed others so it will kill the nest in a few days.

I used to use Grant’s Ant Stakes (or bait, whatever they call it), several years ago and they were always effective. This thread got me wondering if it had Borax, but then I came across a customer feedback comment from Feb 2011 saying they’re no longer as effective since Grant’s changed their formula and took out the arsenic.

In part her Feb 2011 comments said this:

I don’t have ants in the house but there has been a few times in the summer where they heavily cluster a bit too close to the back door. I’ve standardized on my ‘not here, guys’ formula. A couple teaspoons of peanut butter and a couple ‘squirts’ of dollar store boric acid go into a plastic sandwich bag. Mush around to mix and cut the tip of a corner off, like a pastry bag. Presto: A neat little ant poison line dispenser.

Yes, that’s the whole theory of these slow-acting poisons. With the fast-actings poisons, you just get the ones that you get. But for every ant you get there are 10[sup]100[/sup] more that you don’t get. With the slow-acting food poisons, they carry it back to the nest and poison much or all of the whole family.

But note: Different species of ants (and maybe even different colonies) have different dining preferences, and will feast upon or ignore one bait or another. I’ve read that even an individual colony will be adaptive enough to switch from one food source to another from time to time, or if something starts poisoning them.

Some of my experiences:
[li] Lived in rural area for several years. Vast swarms of Argentine ants everywhere from horizon to horizon, but for some reason they hardly ever came inside. I set out liquid baits around the house, and they glommed madly onto that.[/li][li] Years later, living in a house in the city, the entire property is swarming with ants. I thought they are something other than Argentine ants. Set out same brand of baits, and several other types of baits too. They ignored them all.[/li][/ul]
So the moral of the story is, you may need to try various flavors to find one they like, and you may have to change flavors from time to time.