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Ant Baiting 101

Ant Baiting. There's definitely a science and an art to it. Using baits as a way to control ants is quite different than the concept of spraying them. Many people use sprays to battle an ant problem (see some ants, spray them, problem solved, right? Not quite). Spraying the ants you see will not stop the source of the problem, the colony. Baits are best at giving you long term results.

Baits kill more ants than you can actually see as it works toward eliminating the colony. To successfully battle an ant problem, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to see results.  

Ant baiting

Clean Up

You want to be sure that the ant bait you are using is the only thing the ants have available to eat. To be certain of this, it is important to put away food, clean up crumbs, oil, grease, spills, etc. Once the ants find the bait, they will emit a pheromone trail for other ants in the colony to follow, and once the colony has discovered the bait, at that point, you just have to wait patiently.

Clean up

Spot Treat

If you are initially seeing ants around your kitchen or home, the best thing to do is sweep and vacuum. Yep, just sweep and vacuum those little critters right up. You can also spot treat using an effective botanical indoor spray. Before placing the bait stations down, spot treat for ants you see in your home. Just remember not to spray where you will be baiting.

Be Smart About How You Use Sprays

This is one of the most important steps to follow. As tempting as it is to spray whatever ants you see, the best thing to do is leave them alone when you see them roaming around the ant bait you've placed. The point of baiting is to attract the ants so that they can get to the bait, and take the bait back to the colony for other ants to feed on. This is the process needed to get rid of the colony and ensures you are getting rid of the home invaders and their friends back in the nest.

Bug spray

Get to Baiting

Don’t be alarmed if you suddenly see a large number of ants in and around the bait you placed. That is a good thing. The more ants that take the bait back to the colony, the faster the colony will be eliminated. You will gradually see fewer ants as the bait works until the ants are completely gone.

Check Your Bait

Ants love moist, fresh bait. If you're using bait stations like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective No Spill Ant Kill, check your baits occasionally. If the bait has dried out, moisten with just a few drops of water. If the bait is all gone (that's a good thing!), replace it so the remaining ants will keep coming back for more.

Ant bait station

Remember, you are trying to kill an entire colony (or colonies) of ants, so getting rid of them completely can take a little bit of time. Be patient. Depending on the size of the colony, it can take approximately 1 week to 1 month for eradication. Following these steps and giving the bait some time to do its magic, are keys to successfully battling your ant infestation.

To read up on our 7 steps to get ready for spring ant baiting, click here!

For our full spring ant baiting guide, click here.

For our guide on getting rid of ants using green ingredients, click here.

Speaking of naturally derived active ingredients, why is borax such a big deal when it comes to fighting ants? Find out here.


For scientifically-tested, effective ant control in your yard and home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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