In the past, pest control professionals relied largely on insecticides to combat insect pests both indoors and outdoors, but due to increasing awareness concerning environmental hazards and public health threats associated with indiscriminate and liberal insecticide use, modern pest control professionals use insecticides as a last resort when treating infestations. Today, professionals treat insect pest infestations by combining several environmentally safe pest control methods, and if insecticides become necessary, their application is minimal. This approach toward insect pest control is known as “Integrated Pest Management,” and taking measures to prevent infestations, rather than waiting for infestations to occur, is at the core of this practice.

IPM allows for the use of toxic substances to exterminate insect pests as long as human and environmental health is not negatively affected. For example, tamper resistant insect pest baits have become popular due to their effectiveness at eliminating a variety of pests, as well as for their safety. Baits tend to be used to combat insect pest species that are historically difficult to eliminate from infested homes. These pests include cockroaches, drywood termites, and several ant species. Designing insect pest control methods that specifically address particular pest species is also an important aspect of IPM. For example, no single bait formulation is effective at exterminating all insect pests, as insect pests only expose themselves to baits that they mistake for their preferred food sources. This is especially important when it comes to treating ant infestations, as some ant species prefer food that other ant species ignore. Also, single ant pest species seek out different food sources depending on the season. When ant pests become active during the spring season, they seek out food sources that are high in fats and proteins, but during the summer they seek out carbohydrate-rich foods in order to provide growing colonies with much needed energy. This is why it is important for homeowners to identify the species of ant infesting their home before choosing a bait product. That being said, store-bought baits are not well designed to address particular species, and in most major ant infestations, professional-grade baits are essential.

Have you ever used insect pest baits to eliminate problem ants?