How Do Ant Traps Work? How to Make It More Effective?

Ants are parts of the insect class. When talking about insects, ants are among the most common, useful, and harmless ones. Ants can be found in urban and rural living spaces and even in the wild.

Although ants are not as helpful as bees, their digging is important in turning the soil. This makes the soil ready for planting. Also, they have the drive to scavenge, which means they get to bring waste materials like nail clippings, hair, and similar items out of your home and to their colony.


How Ant Traps Work

Whenever you see any kinds of insects, the most common initial reaction is simply killing them on sight. For ants, this strategy does not work. You need to know more about their nature to get rid of them effectively.

Ants are roughly classified into three types:

  • Worker Ants

  • Babies or Eggs

  • Queen

Most of the army is composed of workers and these workers also include different ants. The ones you see on the countertops and the ground are identified as worker ants. They are the ones looking for food and bringing them back to the colony.

Once they come back in their nest, more worker ants will be taking over the role of supplying food and feeding the queen. The only job of the queen is to lay eggs. This is what she does throughout her life to continuously replenish the number of ants in the colony. Until she needs to build a new ant colony, she will stay in one nest.

How Ant Traps Help in Dealing with Ant Infestation

So, how do ant traps work and how does it help in dealing with your ant problem? Typically, an ant trap will attract ants and lure them into the ant trap with sugar, food source, or any ant bait.

The ant bait is usually treated with a low dosage of something toxic to these insects. It is either made from a natural substance or a chemical concoction. It slowly works in killing the ants that worker ants can bring it back to their colony and their queen.

At first, nothing happens when the ants eat a part of the bait and feed some of it to the queen. However, after a few days, the first batch of workers to find the ant bait will start getting sick and eventually killing them. It will take about a week for the queen to die as well. Once the queen dies, the colony will follow to die.

The secret to achieving successful ant control is realizing that all the ants you see on any surface are only scouts. There is always a nearby ant colony where the queen is hiding. Keep in mind that you may kill as many workers as you can, however, the queen will keep pumping out more. It can even create more colonies around your property, which results in a more serious ant invasion in your property.

This is also the main reason why insecticide sprays are useless. The toxic chemicals may never reach the queen.

Though a worker ant may bring some of the ant poison back to the colony, it will not be enough to kill the queen. You really do not have to find the queen. The workers are both the answer and the problem.

Why Normal Ant Traps Do Not Work

The common purpose of insect traps is that they only target worker ants that go around the house. Most traps will lure insects and then kill them inside the mechanism. However, this does not work with ants.

When trapping ants, you must go for the queen and not the worker ants. Despite killing the worker ants, if the queen is still alive, new ants will only replace the ones that were lost in the colony.

How to Make Use of Ant Bait Traps Effectively

The most common type of ant bait that is considered child and pet safe contains a certain form of boric acid. The label may not use the term boric acid but will put the active ingredient as “borax”, sodium tetraborate”, “borate”, or something similar. However, the formulation contains the element boron.

It is a safe element that is even used by your grandparents as an eyewash. The element boron is even a component of the “One-a-Day” vitamins.


The children and pets must not consume more than a quart a day. Highly diluted concentrations in small amounts placed in ant traps are considered harmless.

All ant baits should contain a low dose of a certain type of poison as its active ingredient that the workers can consume in a couple of days before they get affected. You can still find a borax bait to deal with both indoor ants and outdoor ants.

Among the biggest brand names when it comes to ant baits is Terro. Some of the Terro Liquid Ant Baits that we recommend are:

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Terro Indoor Liquid Ant Baits
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Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits
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Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes

These ant baits contain liquid baits and can kill almost all common household ants. The traps will provide a continuous food source for the ants but are in liquid form. More ants will access the liquid baits and bring them to their nest. These are pre-filled with a liquid bait so you will not have to worry about figuring out how much bait to add before use.

You can choose a Terro Liquid Ant Bait of your choice from the ones mentioned above or you can visit to find other Terro products.

How to Achieve Pest Control for an Ant Infestation

To achieve successful ant baiting and pest control, it is necessary that you know how to target ants in the most strategic way. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Setting up the traps where you see ants in your home. These traps are like small containers that you can place where you notice ant activity in your home.

  • Regardless of the ant species invading your home, you need to place the ant bait traps in the direct paths of the ant trails. As much as possible, do not squish the other workers and expect that the entire colony will die.

  • You should be prepared for fresh bait stations as other queens from other ant colonies may send other ants to the dead colony. A fresh bait station will continuously act as a source of food. At the same time, these will act as ant killers that will effectively kill ants and help you achieve ant control efficiently.

  • If you do not have an ant trap now, an alternative free pest control method you can do is by washing areas where ants travelled over by using soap and water. This will get rid of the pheromone trails left even by one ant to guide other ants to the food source. As you get rid of the old trails, you can protect your home from future invasions.

Now, if there are things that you should do, there are also things that you should not do to achieve successfully control ants. These are the following:

  • Avoid the use of sprays as it only kills worker ants and may only put you and your pets in danger. Sprays also do not resolve other pest problems like bedbugs, fleas, roaches, and termites, to name a few.

  • Ants that you find outdoors can help aerate the soil and they also eat weeds. So, you might not want to kill these ant species. Outdoor ants can also protect your home from termites as termites are terrified of the presence of ant colonies.

When are Carpenter Ants and Other Ant Species Considered as Pests?

Despite being known as industrious insects, they become pests when neglected. Below are reasons why ants can turn into a nuisance:

  • Sheer Numbers

    Whether there are carpenter ants, black ants, odorous house ants, fire ants, Argentine ants, or other species, the sight of their population in one colony is a bit stressful. They can become a nuisance once they start foraging into your pantry.

  • Foraging Skills

    Foraging ants have this most prized skill, but this can become your worst nightmare. Even if you only found an ant roaming around, it can tell all other ants to come to the source and raid your pantry.

  • Ant Stings

    Depending on the species of ants in your home, the reaction from ant stings may vary from mild ones to severe reactions. There are species like the Jack Jumper Ant that can even cause death.

  • Destructive Digging.

    Their digging produces dirt mounds that can turn into an eyesore in your garden or yard. They can also create tunnels that may undermine the foundation of your home.

With these reasons in mind, you really need to know how to eliminate them properly.


Other Highly Recommended Ant Traps

Other ant traps that we highly recommend are:

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Ant Trap (3pk)
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Ortho Ant B Gon Max Ant Traps (3-Pack)  3 x 5g
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AntOut Ant Stakes (6Pk)
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AntOut Gel Bait