For more detailed pest management information or to explore other topics related to pests and pesticides,
try the following resources. More information can also be found in the University of California Pest Notes
that are available from the Stanislaus County UCCE office and UCIPM website,
Ants are one of Modesto's most common pests.
Although ants are annoying when they come indoors, they can be beneficial by feeding on fleas, termites, and other
garden pests. Spraying chemicals inside the house will not prevent more ants from coming into your home. Focus
management efforts on keeping ants from entering your home and away from valuable plants.
Make your house less attractive to ants:
- Caulk cracks and crevices that allow entry.
- Store food in closed containers.
- Clean up grease and spills.
- Take out the garbage and wash the garbage can. (Do not pour dirty water in the gutter.)
- If necessary apply a sticky substance such as petroleum jelly under the lip of kitchen garbage pails.
- Place pet food dishes in a moat of water (when infestations occur).
- Remove sweet food sources next to your house such as aphid infested bushes and ripened fruit on trees.
- Clean kitchen counters and cover left-overs tightly.
When ants invade your house, take these steps:
- First follow the trail to determine the source of entry.
- Vacuum the ant trail, ants will die in the vacuum dust bag.
- Clean up the ant trail with soapy water. This will remove the scent that new ants will follow.
- Remove or clean up food sources.
- Place baits near the point of entry.
- Indoor sprays are not effective for long-term control and will discourage ants from feeding on the baits.
How and why baits work best:
Place bait along ant trails and at nest openings. Worker ants will be attracted to the bait and take it back to
the nest where the entire colony, including the queens, will be killed. The bait must be slow acting, so the
workers won't die before they get back to the nest. It may take several weeks for results to be evident.
Killing only worker ants foraging in your home or garden will not control the colony, because it takes a very
few worker ants to provide sufficient food for queens and larvae. Baits in stations or ant stakes are easiest to
use and safest for the environment. Look for products containing fipronil, hydramethylnon, or boric acid.
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