The Best Ant Bait for White Footed Ants
Why Are They Called "White Footed" Ants?
Found primarily in the southern states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana, White Footed Ants get their name from the transparent or whitish coloration of the bottom portion of each of their legs. Although White Footed Ants don't bite or sting and are not known to cause structural damage, their large colony size, rapid reproduction, and aggressive foraging habits make them a formidable nuisance pest for homeowners and businesses.
What Do White Footed Ants Feed On?
In nature, White Footed Ants primarily feed on plant nectars and honeydew, a sweet substance produced by insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and scales which suck the sap from certain trees, bushes, and shrubs. Because of this, heavy concentrations of White Footed Ants are typically found in areas where the foliage in the environment is conducive to the sustenance of these types of sap-sucking insects. Although White Footed Ants are particularly attracted to sweet foods of many types, they will also readily feed on certain proteins such as dead insects in their environment.
Where Do White Footed Ants Nest?
White Footed Ants are opportunistic nesters, readily setting up camp in many locations both inside and outside a home. Generally speaking, however, nests tend to remain outside more than inside, with foragers moving indoors in large numbers in search of food and additional shelter. Ideal nesting sites for White Footed Ants provide protection from predators and the environment while being in relative proximity to available sources of food and moisture. A single White Footed Ant Colony may have multiple different nest sites, usually with some level of connectivity to the main colony. White Footed Ants may nest under mulch piles, inside palm fronds, in holes in trees, beneath flower pots, inside wall voids, beneath insulation, or in many other similar areas.
What is the Best Treatment for White Footed Ants?
White Footed Ants can be a particularly troublesome pest to contend with for both pest control professionals and do-it-yourself pest controllers. The WFA is one of those special insects where improper treatment methods may actually exacerbate the problem, potentially causing the infestation to become more widespread and much more difficult to eventually resolve. Using our decades of experience treating for White Footed Ants, we've included some of our most important treatment tips below:
WFA Tip #1: The Very First Treatment is Crucial
How you choose to start a White Footed Ant treatment program is going to largely determine how successful the program will be, and how long it may ultimately take for ant control to be achieved. When dealing with White Footed Ants, always THINK BEFORE YOU TREAT. Any pest control treatment you choose to roll out (whether it's ant bait, ant dust, non-repellent ant spray, repellent ant spray or something else) is going to cause a certain white footed ant reaction. Make sure you understand what that reaction is likely to be based on the product(s) you intend to use.
WFA Tip #2: Don't Spray Until the Ants Are Gone.
You can most certainly find information on how to spray or dust for White Footed Ants, and indeed, many pesticide products are labeled for effectiveness against them. It can sometimes be tough to resist the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to spray everywhere when you see a line of thousands of black ants trailing up your foundation wall and into your kitchen window. But resist you should. Although some spray products, if properly incorporated, can add value to a White Footed Ant treatment strategy, improper, incomplete, inadequate, or haphazard spraying is almost certain to have adverse consequences. So just don't do it.
WFA Tip #3: Start With Ant Gel Bait. Lots and Lots and Lots.
The most consistently effective approach to White Footed Ant control begins with an aggressive, targeted ant baiting strategy. Because there may be many nest sites, and in some instances even multiple White Footed Ant colonies on a single property, it is important to identify all locations of WFA activity and to introduce an ample supply of fresh bait in all areas at the time of the initial bait application so as to garner ingestion by as many worker ants as possible. The limited oral transfer of the bait toxicant between Whited Footed Ant workers means that direct feeding by a large percentage of the colony will be essential to achieving elimination of the brood. So there needs to be lots and lots of ant bait put out in many, many locations.
When it happens, bait acceptance by White Footed Ants tends to be alarmingly obvious, with hundreds and soon thousands of ants swarming to the newly introduced bait placements. This aggressive feeding is almost certain to be limited to this initial introduction of the bait, which is why putting out enough bait is essential. If the initial bait placements only kill a small percentage of the colony, the remaining ants are likely to be much less receptive to a second application of baits a week or two later. (When not enough bait has been used on the initial treatment, the next visit will probably require introduction of an alternative bait product to see if acceptance will ensue, or may necessitate the beginnings of a spray treatment strategy).
Where and How Should Bait Be Applied for White Footed Ants?
As a general rule of thumb, gel baits for Whited Footed Ants should be placed outdoors on protected areas of the building exterior as close as possible to ant trails and points of entry. Bait placements should be made in uniform, thin, narrow strips several inches long throughout the area so that foraging ants are able to line up side-by-side on either side of the bait strip. (By keeping the bait placements as narrow as possible, you will allow for maximal feeding and minimal bait waste).
Because White Footed Ants love to work their way into attic spaces, bait placements might be advisable on the undersides of eaves around the building. To determine where the ants are actively moving about, start by making small bait placements in multiple locations. As the ants begin to emerge you will be able to determine where to introduce heavier placements. Other common locations for bait placements will be on the exterior sides of door and window casings, around utility penetrations, adjacent to settlement cracks, and anyplace where foliage comes in direct contact with the home.
On occasion, interior bait applications can be made to speed up the process of getting rid of the ants inside or in the interest of keeping them out of a certain area. As an example, we once began a White Footed Ant service plan for a customer who was having a wedding reception the following day and WFAs were showing up in her sink and around her dishwasher. In an effort to keep the ants concealed (out of sight, out of mind), we made targeted bait application beneath and behind the dishwasher (as they were traveling along the water line), which worked beautifully in this instance. When considering interior bait applications, keep in mind that ants are going to be drawn to the area of the bait placement, sometimes in very large numbers. More often than not, it is best to try to draw any ants inside the structure out to feed on the bait, as opposed to encouraging more ants to come in from the outside.
WFA Tip #4: White Footed Ants Are Here Because of the Foliage.
Almost certainly, the White Footed Ants you're seeing inside your home are there because of the foliar conditions in your yard. In short, the types of trees, bushes, and shrubs you have are an ideal habit for sap-sucking insects such as aphids and mealy bugs, which in turn create an ideal habitat for White Footed Ants. Understanding this relationship will help you integrate an ant control strategy that is much more likely to deliver the desired results. After your initial round of heavy gel bait applications have knocked out large concentrations of the existing white footed ant populations in proximity to your home, it is critical to have all trees, bushes, and shrubs trimmed so as to not come in direct contact with any part of the home. This will minimize readily available travel routes and simplify your ongoing ant control treatment efforts. Once the foliage has been trimmed, you can then begin an exterior pest control spray program as a means of rendering the environment unsuitable for White Footed Ants moving forward.
Which Ant Gel Bait is the Best for White Footed Ants?
Ant gel baits containing the active ingredient Fipronil have proven especially effective in managing White Footed Ant Populations. (Pest Control Everything's Ant Bait Comparison Chart provides a side-by-side comparison of ant bait products). Through our own independent research of dealing with hundreds of Whited Footed Ant infestations over many years, Advion Ant Gel Bait takes our top spot as the most effective ant gel bait option for controlling Whited Footed Ants.
Why Is Advion Ant Gel Bait the Best for White Footed Ants?
In order for an ant bait to be effective against Whited Footed Ants, several conditions need to be met.
- Superior Bait Acceptance: The ant bait formulation needs to be attractive enough to instigate immensely aggressive feeding. Advion Ant Gel Bait creates a White Footed Ant feeding frenzy upon application that is unmatched by any of the other gel bait formulations.
- Optimally Delayed Mode of Action: The active ingredient, indoxacarb, kills White Footed Ants comparatively quickly (many dead ants may be observed within a day or two) but has enough of a delayed effect to allow for some levels of the bait toxicant to make it into the trophic egg supply, thereby speeding up the impact on the overall ant populations.
- Superior Bait Consistency: The consistency of Advion Ant Gel Bait allows for targeted bait applications on both horizontal and vertical surfaces in a way that maximizes bait acceptance and feeding. A liquid ant bait, such as Maxforce Quantum for instance, would be ineffective if applied to the underside of an eave or soffit, as gravity would cause it to run off. The same can be said of some other gel bait formulations. The consistency enables the applicator to get the bait exactly where it needs to go for best results.
White Footed Ant Control in 3 Easy Steps...
- Bait the exterior with Advion Ant Gel Bait (7-10 days)
- Trim all foliage so not touching house (after ant activity subsides).
- Spray exterior foundation and foliage monthly for ongoing protection.
Start with a heavy, heavy application of Advion Ant Gel Bait and give the bait about a week to run its course. After about a week, make another light bait application to get a feel for what the remaining population of ants might look like. Once the White Footed Ant activity seems to have largely diminished, manicure all the plants around the property so that they are minimally maintained and that no part of any of them is coming in contact with any part of the home including rooftop, gutters, eaves, or downspouts. From there, continue maintaining proper care of the landscaping and begin spraying the exterior on a monthly basis as a means of minimizing populations of the insects that invite Whited Footed Ants.