Ant control is a significant concern in Texas and many other areas where ants thrive. There is still a lot to be desired in effective insect control that removes ants for long periods of time. Some ant control services are anxiously awaiting a new type of ant bait that may become available in the near future. Hydrogel ant control baits are proving that they may be a great alternative to some of the more commonly used methods of ant control.
Ant Control Can Be Problematic
There are two main methods used in ant control today. While both are at least partially effective, each has its own set of downfalls. Spraying insect control preparations is an effective method to kill ants on the ground; however, it does nothing to control populations underground that are not affected when spraying. Sprays also wash away after a while, must be reapplied frequently, and also kill many other insect species, some of which are beneficial.
The other method of ant control is baiting, which is more effective than spraying and actually reaches the ant colony residing underground; however, it is inconvenient. For ant bait to work well, the bait must be accessible to the colony. Ants prefer a liquid bait. Liquid baits are easily spilled or damaged by the environment, often making them impractical for easy use by ant control services.
The Best of Both Baits
To combat the problem of impractical and ineffective baits, researchers at Purdue University have looked to hydrogel technology. Hydrogels are water storing crystals that absorb over 300 times their weight when in contact with water. These crystals are used in forestry and landscaping to conserve water; however, now they are being incorporated into more effective ant control baits.
Designed with the required insect control formulas contained directly within the crystal, these ant control hydrogels can be spread on the ground close to ant colonies or disbursed by using a spreader, thereby removing the need for bait stations or spraying. As soon as they become wet, the crystals soak up water and take on a gel-like consistency, liquefying the chemical inside. Trial tests of ant bait hydrogels have been extremely promising, as ants have flocked to the gels to drink the bait and even carry it back to their colonies.
Best of all, the hydrogels are not damaged by rain and do not spill or become contaminated, like liquid baits. Additionally, they require less application, minimizing the effects the bait has on other species. They also do not need to be constantly refilled or serviced by ant control services, the way that bait stations do. Essentially, the ant control hydrogels combine the best properties of ant sprays and ant baits into one convenient application.
Currently, hydrogel ant control bait is still undergoing important development and testing with many different kinds of ants; however, the goal is to develop a product that can be widely used with many species. In the meantime, insect control and ant control services are hopeful that this effective ant bait will be commercially available soon!