Two types of bait are approved to treat fire ants.
Fire ant bait consists of small pieces of corn grit (about 1–3 mm) soaked in soybean oil.
There are 2 types of bait available in Australia. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approves both products. Each contains different active ingredients:
Foraging ants collect the bait and take it back to the colony. After consuming the bait, the active ingredient/s are circulated around the colony, leading to the death of the worker ants, larvae, and the queen.
The type of bait we use depends on the property and urgency of treatment. Bait can either be sprinkled near a fire ant nest, or it can be spread across the entire yard.
It is specifically targeted to kill ants. After the bait is distributed, it breaks down quickly (within days).
Insect growth regulator (IGR)
This bait product contains 5g per kilogram of the active ingredient—an insect growth regulator (IGR) consisting of s-methoprene or pyriproxyfen. These are widely used in mosquito control programs and pet flea collars.
The IGR baits work by sterilising the fire ant queen and preventing new ants from maturing into adults. After the last adult worker ants have died, the queen is effectively starved as there are no ants left to feed her and the nest will naturally die. This process will take 3–4 months.
An average suburban residential block (approximately 500m2) will need about 100g of IGR bait for effective treatment. The bait consists of 0.5% (half a gram) of the active ingredient, so minimal insecticide is distributed.
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This bait contains either indoxacarb or a combination of hydramethylnon and pyriproxyfen. All 3 of these active ingredients are commonly found in cockroach baits or flea collars.
After ingesting the fast-acting insecticide, the worker ants circulate the active ingredients around the colony. This leads to the death of the worker ants, larvae, and the queen ant. This process will take 1–4 weeks.
About 85g of bait is used in each treatment, consisting of 0.045% of insecticide (less than 1g), so minimal quantity of the active ingredient is distributed.
If the ants are still active 5 weeks after application of the fast-acting bait, please let us know. You can do this by logging a suspect ant report or calling 13 25 23.