Controlling white footed ants without toxic insecticide sprays
The white-footed ant, Technomyrmex difficilis Forel, is a huge pain in Florida. While most homeowners loose their minds and pest control companies perform all kinds of unnecessary services trying to control it, controlling white footed ants without toxic insecticide sprays is possible.
My first experience with the white footed ant was with a town home that had the infestation in it for two years and they home owner couldn’t control it on his own. He would sweep every morning, every morning had thousands of ants dead on the floor that he would sweep up, he thought the pesticide was working but in reality they were just dying on their own. This went on every day for two years.
Why is the white footed ant so prolific
The reason for the white footed ant success is its ability to reproduce in very large numbers, Almost fifty percent of the entire white footed ant colony is comprised of fertile, reproductive females called
Foragers go out to bring food back that they share with their nestmates through the production of what is known as non-viable trophic eggs.
The queen is eventually replaced by what is known as the intercastes, which form new colonies by a process called budding in which the intercastes leave the old nets or colony with other nestmates and take the brood or eggs with them to establish a new nest site.
White footed ants typically nests at above ground level in many locations in and around the landscape and your home.
Nests are found in bushes, trees, tree holes, under palm fronds, old leaf boots, under leaves on trees, in loose mulch, under debris, in leaf-litter, wall voids, and attics.
White footed ants make nest near sites places of moisture and food sources your kitchens and baths are perfect places for them to nest. Numerous nests constitute a colony, but since all the neighboring colonies are interconnected, there is no way to precisely determine the where about of a single colony.
White footed ants are commonly found foraging along branches and trunks of trees and shrubs that have nectars and/or sap-sucking insects such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thips and whiteflies that produce a sugary substance called honeydew.
White footed ants send many foragers from their nests to search for new food resources. Nestmates are recruited to resources by foragers who lay trail pheromones or hormone trail this is why you see ant trails how ants know where to find food .
You can observe the same trails between a nest and food sources for months at a time. In and on homes, the foragers will follow lines, such as an edge of a wall or panel, which will eventually leads to a some small hole to inside the home, White footed ants find their way to the inside of wall voids where they follow electrical conduit pipes to emerge into various rooms of the house, particularly kitchens and bathrooms, where water and solid foods can b easily found this results in heavy trails.
In the past if you had a severe white footed ant infestation you had to treat behind the walls dusts voids in the wall and the attic with boric acid, diatomaceous earth or silica gel dusts in order to get control that was a huge expense and a lot of work in addition to that you would have to spray the inside and out with a non repellent insecticide and follow up for weeks in order to ensure you got it under control. Most pest control companies still do it this way.
Lab tests at the University of Florida Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale have shown that baits to be the only real effective control method because of the white footed ants feeding habits baits have proven to be the best method of controlling them particularly glucose gel and liquid baits with borica acid like Thiquid.