Fire ant bait consists of the active ingredient in corn grits coated with soybean oil. Worker ants take the bait back to the colony, where it is shared with the queen, which then either dies or becomes infertile depending on the type of bait being used. Baits are slow-acting and require weeks to months to achieve 80% to 90% control but results can be seen in the first week or two. When the ground is dry, fire ant colonies are mostly underground and hard to detect, after a rain they build the mound up out of the wet ground. Because of this, baits work best when broadcast throughout the yard rather than as an individual mound treatment. Regardless of the type of bait used they contain extremely low amounts of toxins, especially compared to the more toxic granules/liquid fire ant killers that stay in the soil.

Always use fresh bait as it can go rancid rather quickly after opening. The bait needs to be applied when the ground is dry and when the ants are foraging, typically in the afternoon/evening. If they are not actively taking the bait at the time of application the treatment will not work. You can sprinkle a few granules of bait near the ants to see if they are interested. If they aren’t taking it within 30 minutes you will need to apply at another time. When neighbors band together and treat regularly better results will be seen and baiting will be needed less frequently.