David Cappaert,, Bugwood.org

While PMPs employed sanitation (48 percent) and exclusion (44 percent) in their toolkit of ant control services, 91 percent relied on pesticide application as the primary ant control measure, found the PCT survey. On average, ant bait accounted for 44.7 percent of these applications.

PMPs apply bait indoors and outside near ant mounds. PMP Daniel Schoeneman baits the outer fenceline if he sees bigheaded ant activity in neighbors’ yards. This helps draw the ants away from his client’s house and intercepts those coming from next door.

PMP Tom Saccomanno prefers baits with a mix of sugar, fat and protein “because there’s times of the year that (ants) change their feeding habits.”

For exterior perimeter treatments, PMPs in follow-up interviews said they typically use non-repellent insecticides since repellent products can trap ants in the structure. Sam de Jong, owner, Wow Pest Control, Bakersfield, Calif., applies a non-repellent and insect growth regulator to homes with a history of Argentine ant problems in early spring to help prevent infestations. He rotates products seasonally.

Control of fire and harvester ants requires rodding mounds and/or applying granular insecticide. Juan Fernando Sanchez, owner, Python Strike Services and Pest Control, San Antonio, Texas, also walks 10 acres of sports fields each week looking for activity to spot treat. The safety of young athletes is a big concern; so is the “mom with the phone,” he said.

Wesley Parker tracks odorous house ants to their nests and destroys them using a shovel and diatomaceous earth.

For carpenter ants, PMP Charles Fyfe finds and treats nests, as well as cuts back bushes and trees, and fixes moisture issues for an additional fee. “Chemical in and of itself is not the way to do it. Think holistically and involve the homeowner in the process,” said Fyfe. This provides better results and enhances your reputation, he said.

Also, clearly identify the ant. “Knowing what species you’re dealing with is critical because they all have different habits,” reminded Jennings.