Professional Ant Gel Bait Active Ingredient Comparison
When deciding between ant gel bait products, how much consideration should be given to the active ingredient? Whether you are a pest control do-it-yourselfer or a seasoned PCO, choosing the right product with the right active ingredient might make the difference between a quick resolution to an ant infestation and an ant problem that drags on for weeks, months, or even years. But is it the active ingredient that makes the most difference between how well an ant product might work, or are other factors more critical?
What is an Active Ingredient?
The active ingredient in an ant gel bait product is the specific component or components of the bait that kill, control, repel, or otherwise impact ants. In short, the active ingredient is the ingredient in the bait that does the killing. Most ant baits are comprised of a rather small portion of the active ingredient in relation to the product as a whole. Maxforce FC Ant Killer Gel, for instance, contains just .001% Fipronil, which means that 99.999% of the gel bait is made of inert ingredient, or the ingredients other than the active ingredient. So while the active ingredient lets us know why and how the bait will impact the ants if and when consumed, the other 99.999% of the ingredients will determine pretty much everything else, including whether or not the bait will actually be consumed in a manner conducive to colony elimination.
What Are The Most Common Active Ingredients?
Perhaps the most common active ingredient in ant gel baits is Boric Acid, a stomach toxicant that lethally impairs an ant's digestive system. Other active ingredients such as Fipronil, Indoxacarb, and Imidacloprid work by debilitating the ant's central nervous system. But they all have one thing in common: they all effectively kill ants. But there are some differences to take into account, and what becomes more important than whether or not a given ant bait product works is how that particular product works.
Taking a look at Raid Precision Placement Ant Gel Bait compared to Optigard Ant Gel Bait, we can see that both products contain Thiamethoxam as the active ingredient. What is different, however, is the concentration of the active ingredient. At .01% AI, Optigard is more than 3 times more potent than the Raid Precision containing just .003% AI. So although the two products both contain Thiamethoxam as the active ingredient, how they each impact various ant species and populations is likely to be quite different.
Ant bait products with higher concentrations of the same AI are likely to kill at a quicker pace. On the surface, then, it might seem logical to conclude that Optigard is far superior to Raid Precision because it's killing power is 3 times greater. In many instances, that logic might hold true. But there are important variables to keep in mind that could make that untrue under certain circumstances.
Because the effectiveness of most ant baits relies on the aggressive consumption of the bait in conjunction with a consistent transfer to other members of the ant colony, the speed at which an ant dies after consuming a bait is key to what impact that bait will have on the larger ant population. An ant bait that kills too quickly may not allow for a suitable transferability throughout the colony. In some instances this may be met with what appears to be relief in the short term, followed by an ant re-emergence later on down the road. Similarly, ant baits that have too little active ingredient may kill too slowly, with the lethal concentration being diminished to non-lethal concentrations during the bait transfer process.
The Take Away Is This...
The active ingredient of a particular ant gel bait matters quite a little bit...but not so much in terms of whether or not it is going to kill ants. It matters with respect to how the ingestion and transferability of that particular concentration of active ingredient is likely to impact the specific ant populations in a given environment. So choose your ant gel bait products wisely, making sure the products you choose are likely to be attractive to the species in question, and the active ingredient is likely to lend itself to colony elimination and long-term relief.