Ants are not generally dangerous, but they can be pretty invasive. They can steal your food and leave itchy bite marks. Once ants in your home go uncontrolled, they can cause you severe allergic reactions, ruin your foundations, or spread bacteria. Baits allow us to get rid of the ants easily by luring them and distributing the toxic food to their entire colony instead of just waiting for them to leave. However, are we sure that ants are the only thing your ant baits attract?
So do your ant traps also lure rats and mice? Yes, because of its sweet smell that attracts house ants, ant baits also lure in rats and mice. Ant baits can also kill mice or rats if they ingest a good amount. That is because usual ant traps you buy from the supermarket have organophosphate as their active ingredients.
Are Mice Attracted to Ant Traps?
You may see signs of mice like mouse droppings around your ant bait stations. You may smell the stench of a dead mouse somewhere in your house even if you did not put around rat poisoning. Yes, the bait for your ant infestation may attract even house mice.
The typical liquid ant baits in the supermarket usually have organophosphate as one of their active ingredients–the reason why ant baits can also get rid of mice and rats if ingested in small amounts. While it can kill mice, an ant bait is still not an advisable substitute for mouse traps. Mousetraps are more efficient in addressing mouse infestation than ant baits.
Ant baits don’t exterminate ants right away, which is why you can still expect to find ant trails here and there. They nibble the ant bait first and bring some for the queen and the ant mound. The entire ant colony will then ingest the toxic bait and die.
Why Your Ant Traps Attract Mice
As established above, other pests like mice and rats can also get attracted to bait that’s not actually meant for them. But why are mice also lured in your ant bait? Some of the reasons are how the bait smells, as well as where it’s located.
Experts have designed ant baits to attract ants. That means ant baits emit a strong sweet smell, and sometimes, it has a peanut butter and wafer smell. Those are the exact things that mice love.
Mice and rats are omnivores–they love nuts, fruits, grains, and such. Peanut butter, chocolates, and candies are good baits for mouse traps. If your ant baits also emit the same smell as those, best believe that mice in your home will hunt it down.
Another big reason why your rats and mice love liquid baits for your ants is because of their location. You may have put your ant baits in a warm spot in your home. If the season is colder, you can also expect that there will be more mice and rats in your home because they are looking for a warmer shelter.
You may also need to check if you placed your plant bait in a cluttered area. Mice usually choose a cluttered area, so they can burrow and create warm shelter. They find habitat in storage spaces, garages, and such. You might find an ant trail and choose a more hidden area to place your bait. That hidden area may be easily accessible to mice.
You may choose a location near small cracks and openings where ant trails come from. This space can also be an invitation for your mice to nibble on the wrong bait.
How to Keep Mice Away From Ant Bait
While it may serve as an advantage if your ant bait exterminates mice, it may also defeat the purpose of solving your ant infestations. Fortunately, you can keep other pests like mice and rats from the bait that’s not meant for them. Some ways to keep your mice away from the ant bait are relocating it or putting up mice traps.
1) Relocate Your Ant Bait
Assess if the usual spot for your ant bait is the best location. Your mistake might be putting it in a place that attracts mice and has more rodent activity than ants. Relocate your ant bait in a space where you think there is more ant activity.
2) Put Up Mice Traps
Relocating your ant bait may be a bit useless if you also don’t address mice infestation in your home. Put up different types of mouse traps like snap traps, glue traps, or electric traps to also solve mouse infestation. Putting up a mouse trap will divert the attention of this household pest from ant baits to baits designed for them. Make sure to use the right mouse trap bait, too!
Common Mistakes When Putting Ant Baits
Your ant baits may fail for other reasons, aside from mice eating it all up. Most people don’t know the type of ants in their home, use the wrong ant bait, and focus too much on anthills. Find out if you unconsciously make some of these common mistakes:
1. Not Knowing the Type of Ants in Your Home
Your ant baits may not work because it’s not the correct one for the type of ant in your home. Some ants prefer sweets, while some prefer food rich in protein. Make sure to plant the right bait for the ants in your home.
2. Using the Wrong Ant Bait
Your ant baits might not give you the results you want because it’s not even the right one for the pests you have at home. Do your research first before grabbing a type of ant bait.
3. Focusing on the Anthill
Some people focus on the anthill to further exterminate the ants. It’s pretty understandable why, but focusing too much on the anthill won’t do much. Ants are adaptive just as they are invasive. They will create another ant hill or find shelter in a place with adequate food sources and moisture.
Check out entry points and cracks in your home. Inspect your crawlspace, walls, attic, and gutters, too.
How You Should Put Up Ant Baits
Plan how to set up your ant baits efficiently and expect successful results! Some of the things you need to know about how you should put up your ant bait are knowing the right kind of bait, placing the bait in suspected ant activity, cleaning the location of your ant bait, and always checking your bait.
1. Know the Right Bait
We may have implied this importance in the recent points–having the right bait for the type of ant in your home will give you the best shot for solving ant infestation in your home. What we want to do here is to find the right bait that ants can carry back to their colonies. These ants will make other worker ants get more of it and feed the toxic bait to the queen.
Know what kind of ant you have in your home and get the right bait. Ant baits in the supermarket usually have different types and brands that may cater to your household ants. Set enough bait for the ants in your house: for instance, larger ants would need more bait than usual.
2. Place in Suspected Ant Activity
Inspect ant activity in your home and place your bait in a location where they usually are, like bear your cabinet. Ensure that this is a place your kid or your pets wouldn’t reach. Avoid overdoing it by placing the ant bait on your countertop where you prepare food. Your ant bait may contaminate your countertop, drain, or your pet bowl as it gets wet.
3. Clean the Location of Your Ant Bait
Keep the area where you will place the ant bait clean. Cut food sources, and clean food crumbs left in the area. This is to ensure that the ants will not get food anywhere but from your ant bait.
4. Always Check Your Bait
Always check if you still have bait left. Replace the ant bait if the current one has run out. Always have enough ant bait because ants may leave the spot before they distribute enough ant bait to their colony.
Other Alternatives for an Ant Bait
You can also explore other ant control measures with some ingredients and solutions in your kitchen. Some alternatives you can try are liquid detergents, glass cleaners, and borax mixtures. If you prefer natural ingredients, then you can try peppermint, pepper, or white vinegar as well.
1) Liquid Detergent and Glass Cleaner
Ants are actually blind. What makes them walk in a straight line are the pheromones they leave in their trail. This smell serves as their guide or their map. Applying liquid detergent and glass cleaner on their trail will remove the pheromones and keep ants from following the same trail.
Just mix the liquid detergent with the glass cleaning spray in a spray bottle. Spray on the ant trail and wipe the area.
2) Borax Mixture
Borax is also an effective chemical that you can use to repel ants. You can buy this in the nearest hardware or a gardening store. Make sure to keep your pets and kids away from this cleaning powder.
Mix a half teaspoon of borax and eight teaspoons of sugar with a cup of warm water. Stir this until the dry ingredients dissolve. Wear gloves as you do this mixture. Wet cotton balls with the mixture and leave them in places where there are ants.
A natural air freshener and insect repellant, you can also use peppermints to ward off ants from your home. You can plant this in your garden or have pots in your home. Using peppermint essential oils can help you. Put drops of the oil on cotton and wipe them on the ant trails. You can also leave these cotton balls with drops of peppermints in cabinets.
Ants are also not quite fond of pepper–use this to get rid of them! Pour some pepper on the ant trails to dilute their pheromones. You can also mix pepper with water and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray this in places where ants may enter.
5) White Vinegar
Another natural ant repellant is just available in your kitchen. White vinegar is another effective but cheap way to kill ants. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar and use this to clean surfaces such as countertops, walls, shelves, and other areas where ants in your home travel. Ants hate the smell of vinegar. While we no longer smell it after it dries up, they still can.
How to Maintain an Ant-Free Home
Using the right ant bait and other ways to get rid of an ant infestation is just the first step to having an ant-free home. The work continues making sure that the ants will never return: you should eliminate water and food sources, as well as block the access points of ants.
1) Eliminate Sources of Water
Repair leaking pipes in your home and check out the areas that will most likely have moisture, like under the sink. If your basement or attic is too damp, use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture. Check out if your gutters and downspouts are working well, so the foundations of your home will not get wet.
2) Eliminate Food Sources
Tidy up your kitchen by investing in efficient containers. Categorize your food and keep them in airtight containers. Wipe the counter and sweep the floor regularly to ensure that no food crumbs will be left for ants to feast on. Put your fruits in the refrigerator and keep jars with sweets clean.
This tip also goes the same for pet food-keep pet dishes clean and store their food in a sealed container.
3) Block Access Points
Assess your home and block access points. Trim your plants or trees and seal cracks or holes in your home. Blocking access points will keep ants from entering your home.
Talk to the Pest Professionals at Midway Pest Management
Your ant bait can also lure mice and poison them when they ingest the right amount. The possible reason is the spot where you might have placed your bait and how your bait smells. Reassess your situation and inspect the type of ants in your home, their location, and the right bait you should use. Place your ant bait where your ants are and put up mouse traps, too, for the mice.
If your pest problem gets out of hand and you no longer know if the problem is the ants, the rats, or other pests you may not know, then you’ll need a more radical and aggressive pest control treatment from the right service provider. Here at Midway Pest Management, we offer efficient pest control solutions not just for ants and mice. We have treatment plans created for eliminating different types of pests that may be infesting your home. Let’s talk about your pest problem and book a consultation now.
Learn More: Are Mouse Traps Dangerous To Small Dogs?