Like many species of unwanted pests, Argentine ants are not native to the U.S. homes and businesses they bother. However, they’ve been steadily marching up through the south over the past few years, creating a headache for thousands of people. The Argentine ant is so successful, because the species forms “super colonies” with hundreds of queens, allowing them to move and grow quickly — often displacing less disruptive native ant species in the process.
Although insecticide sprays have been a popular choice for fighting the Argentine ant, there’s unsurprisingly been community pushback against using chemicals that can work their way into waterways and water systems, affecting both drinking water quality as well as the viability of local ponds and rivers.
Pheromones: Promising Bait Solution?
This year, a team from the University of California-Riverside experimented with making baiting solutions more effective. Leaving food mixed with insecticide is a more environmentally friendly solution, but it can be difficult to find a mixture that’s “tasty,” but attracts only ants. The research team found that by adding ant pheromones to the bait, they made it far more effective. Bait lacking pheromones reduced ant activity by 42% after a month, but phermone-laced bait decreased it by 74%.
“I’m happy that my research has the potential to improve baiting techniques,” said study author Kevin Welzel.
Although pheromone natural bug control is not an option on the market yet, there are luckily other, natural pest solutions for everything from mice to roaches. It’s important to address issues with insects like ants as soon as possible, before they can do damage to homes and form more permanent nests that are harder to remove. Termites, for example, cause an estimated $30 billion in damage each year, and the average homeowner who discovers a termite infestation — there are about 600,000 of them — has to pay $3,000 to fix the damage.
Natural Pest Control for Ants and Other Insects Exists Already
According to eco friendly pest control companies, you don’t need to be anti-environment to be pro-pest solutions these days. On the market are numerous products based on natural solutions. Many plants, for example, have powerful natural defenses against certain types of insects. For this reason, insecticides made from botanical oils can be highly effective. Natural pest control for ants can help you target specific populations of ants.
Though we may think of pheromones as something teenagers have, they can potentially help curb ant populations as well. In the meantime, there are numerous solutions for natural pest control for ants that can help you eliminate colonies before they spread even more.