ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT ADVICE ON ANT CONTROL IN DOMESTIC PREMISES
Ants normally nest out of doors in the ground, and commonly beneath paving and in walls. They become a
nuisance when they enter dwellings as they search for food. They do not, however, normally constitute a risk to the
The nests are often inaccessible and this makes their direct destruction difficult and often unsuccessful. Good
hygiene and the removal of potential food sources, particularly sweet foods, can help to reduce the problem from
foraging ants in the house. Generally, however, it will be necessary to use an insecticide in order to achieve
There are many insecticides available, but only three different formulations. These are pyrethrums, carbonates
and organophosphates. These should be rotated every four to five months to avoid the ants building up a resistance
to one particular formula. They can be applied in a variety of ways and the choice of product can be confusing. It is
hoped that the following information will be of assistance.
There are three basic forms in which insecticides can be obtained to use against ants. These are dusts, baits and
sprays. Each has both advantages and disadvantages which make it more useful in some situations and less
Dusts usually contain a long-lived insecticide which remains effective for a number of months provided it remains
dry. It can be subject to draughts and may be unsightly. This is therefore most suitable for use in ductings and any
Baits can have the advantage over dusts and sprays in that if they are carried back to the nest they can destroy the
source of the problem. CARE NEEDS TO BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT THE BAITING POINTS ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE TO YOUNG CHILDREN OR PETS. It is very important to ensure that, once foraging ants
begin to take the bait, an ample supply is maintained at that point until the ants are no longer evident.
Lastly – sprays intended for use against crawling insects. These tend to have a fairly long residual effect depending
on the particular insecticide contained in them. Those containing Permethrin are relatively safe and can be used in
kitchens PROVIDED THEY ARE NOT SPRAYED DIRECTLY ON TO FOOD OR ANY SURFACES THAT COME INTO CONTACT WITH FOOD. Bands of insecticide should be sprayed around skirtings, doorways,
windows, fitted units and anywhere else that ants have been gaining entry. To obtain maximum effect, these bands
should not be washed off. CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CONTAINER AND TO CHECK THAT THE SPRAY WILL NOT DAMAGE THE SURFACE ON TO WHICH IT IS TO BE SPRAYED. Insecticides can be purchased at most pharmacists, hardware shops, supermarkets and garden centres. Obviously the
product, or the combination of products chosen, will need to suit the particular situation. Whatever the choice, the
1) READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CONTAINER – PAYING PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 2) STORE ALL INSECTICIDES IN A SAFE PLACE AWAY FROM YOUNG CHILDREN 3) WASH HANDS AND ANY CONTAMINATED SKIN OR CLOTHING AFTER HANDLING 4) DISPOSE OF EMPTY CONTAINERS SAFELY.