Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Consumer Report - Ant Bait

The other day I went into the kitchen to get a drink and saw what looked like dirt race across the floor. After analyzing the floor closely I realized what was happening, we have a little ant problem. Now the word "little" refers to the ants, not the problem. You see, they were all over the floor. They loved the food Bentley left for them on the floor. It was like manna from heaven (for the ants, of course).

Anyway, we had some ants last year and I purchased a couple different ant bait/trap gizmos. They seemed to work moderately well, but they never disappeared until I sprayed all the floor edges with Ortho Max insecticide and then we never saw another ant until just a couple days ago. So, I thought I would test a different trap/bait thingy and see how they compared.


This experiment was conducted in my kitchen using the 3 ant trap/bait solutions I had on hand. These were the Raid® Ant Baits PLUS™(active ingredient: N-ethyl Perfluorooctanesulfonamide 0.5%), Grants Kills Ants®(active ingredient: arsenic trioxide 0.46%), and Terro® Ant Killer II™(active ingredient: sodium tetraborae decahydrate (Borax)).
All three were placed side by side in the ant trails that were adjacent to a cabinet and refrigerator. Ant preference to the bait was measured by counting the number of ants that left a bait/trap with 'food' and headed back to the colony. The bait was left in place for over an hour so the number of ants and their preference would equilibrate.

--I'm glad this is not a peer-reviewed blog journal... this experiment would be thrown out so fast...--

Anyway, the number of ants was counted by myself over the course of a minute, and replicated twice. The number was averaged and rounded to the nearest integer for reporting purposes. Results were graphed using Excel, and if the following photos show up, you will see a graph of the data. No statistical analysis was run at all.


The bait that appeared to have the highest ant attraction was the Raid® Ant Baits PLUS™ that had a mean ant visitation of 22 ants/min. The next highest was the Terro® Ant Killer II™ with a mean ant visitation of 18 ants/min. These two highest baits had ants crawling all over them during the test and it was difficult to decide when an ant was done eating or if it was just going halfway back to the colony, and then realized it was still hungry and headed back.

The lowest ant yield in this trial was Grants Kills Ants®. It had an average ant visitation of 6 ants/minute. No ant was actually seen taking this bait back to the colony, unlike the other two. It may have been because this bait is more suited for the larger ants, and the ants we had were very small and loved the sticky sugar of the Terro and bait and also the easy access of the Raid ant bait.

I'm not sure what the implications of this highly non-scientific test are, but I know that as of this writing, the number of ants in my kitchen have decreased significantly. I hope this will help any of you who may find ants in your homes.


Nikkala said...

What I really want to know is, which one of the 3 was the most lethal to the ants? I know they liked the Raid the best, but did they take the Raid back to their friends in the hill and did it kill them all?

Anonymous said...

Dude, you should have randomized the factors and then followed through by using replicate treatments, not just replicates over time. Time is a random factor and all others would be nested in it. Try only using one time and using several different ant trails with random placement of the traps.

Also, your ant count seems a bit subjective. How did you count ANY from the Grant's Kills Ants if you didn't see them take any food. You stated in your M&M that you only counted those that took off with food. By this requirement, GKA would have had zero ants.

Just a thought.

deidra zoe said...

Chod- You kill me. I love this experiment. You are quite the geek.

We have had an ant problem this spring, but it seems to have lightened up since Chris blasted a whole row of ant hills in front of our apartment.

But, if they come back, we'll have something to base our ant trap purchase on.

chartie said...

Next I would like to see a report done by you on toilet paper, or ketchup, or leather conditioner. Thanks in advance.

CF said...

Chod, what about biologicals? Perhaps in future experiments you could test such things as brassica meals or compost tea=-) Enjoyed the post!

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Md.Arifuzzaman Faysal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Md.Arifuzzaman Faysal said...

My vote goes to Terro. This is really a good product for controlling ant. Thanks for this useful review. (y)

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