How Does an Ant Trap Work?

How Does an Ant Trap Work?
How Does an Ant Trap Work? (Image: Kanchana Sandamali Fernando)

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Different Ants: Different Traps

There are many types of ants and each has its own preference as to what they like to eat. Some like sweet food while others like grease and protein. Finding out what kind of ant is invading or what they like to eat will determine the type of trap to use. Once the right trap is found, it should take only a week to destroy the entire colony of ants as opposed to spraying with an insecticide and killing only the ants you can see. This approach can be a never ending chore.

Where to Place the Traps

You want to pick the correct area for placement of your traps. Most ants will come in through window sills, under an outside door or you may see them coming from under your cabinetry. Most likely the ants are coming up the plumbing to your sink. You can stick a piece of masking or painter's tape down in these areas and place a sugary substance such as, jam or honey in the middle of the tape. Check your tape strips often to see where the most ants are feeding. That is the area you will want to set your trap. If they don't seem to like your sugar mixture, try peanut butter. If they like it, they are a different type of ant that requires a different trap. You can see different types of ants for use in identifying your ant dilemma by visiting the ant trap information listed in Resources.

How the Traps Work

The traps don't really trap at all. They are filled with a sweet or protein based substance and laced with poison. The poisons used in most traps are boric acid or hydramethylnon. The ants are attracted to the traps by the food source inside. They enter, eat and grab some to take back to the colony. These poisons are slow acting so the ants will make it back to the queen and the rest of the family. As the rest of the colony feeds on the bait they will die too. This eliminates the problem at the source. Using these traps is a safer alternative to insecticide sprays when it comes to human exposure, especially if you have young children crawling around.

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