Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and the sun is shining. All clear signs that spring is upon us. With spring comes warm weather. With warm weather comes a significant increase of pest activity. Ant colonies will begin to forage and feed, growing to unimaginable sizes. Crickets come out of the woodwork. Snails and slugs start making their slimy little way through the beautiful gardens we have worked so hard to grow. Usually in these areas are where you will find a multitude of hungry and flourishing bugs! This, for the pest control world, presents a prime opportunity to perform in a way that only the techs know how. With perimeter treatments of structures using a granular insecticide bait!
Granular baits are readily accepted by a multitude of insects. Everything needs to eat right? Ants, cockroaches, and crickets as well as other springtime pests will be “InTiced” by bait granules. This bait is formulated with insects’ behavioral traits in mind, with various particle sizes designed specifically for insects that may be subjective to bait size vs. an insect species that will accept it readily.
Granular baits are classically formulated as a solid granule, as opposed to liquid or other formulations. These solid particles are impregnated with an insecticide along with attractants and food grade ingredients. Across the board, the active ingredients granule baits contain may vary from more natural ingredients such as boric acid and diatomaceous earth to man-made insecticides such as pyrethroids or neonicotinoids. All are formulated to fit where and what needs to be treated, with the same end goal in mind.
When choosing a bait granule, consider the situation and the available active ingredients. Active ingredients such as pyrethroids or neonicotinoids can provide faster remediation; however, these elements are far more costly than borate-based baits. Another challenge presented by pyrethroid, or neonicotinoid baits is the probability of aversion or resistance to a specific active or mode of action. They also cannot be applied where there are pyrethroid or neonic use restrictions.
Granular baits, like InTice 10, that use borates as the active have several distinct advantages. They are non-repellent. They don’t just chase pests away. Ants carry the bait back to the nest to kill the colony. Other target pests eat the bait and die. The active, 10% orthoboric acid, does not break down from heat or UV light. It is mold and mildew resistant, so it remains effective for up to 3 months outdoors. Thus, making it not only an outstanding bait for areas with high irrigation, it will also provide long residual effects. And because the borate active is naturally derived, there are not pest resistance issues.
Granular baits can also be used in addition to pyrethroids or neonicotinoids without creating cross-resistance. Granular baits can be used to control an existing crawling pest problem or for preventative maintenance. To achieve the best result, the granule should be applied to the entire area in which the insects are foraging. The application doesn’t have to be perfectly uniform since it is not a repellent barrier. Pests find it as they are searching for food. The most effective way to apply these granules is by way of granular spreader.
Once the bait has been applied to the area, do not disturb the insects. The insects must be able to go about their normal routine of foraging. In the event that the insects are disturbed, they may associate the granular bait with an attack and no longer forage in that area. Ants and other insects that consume or contact the granules will be poisoned, but the insects that do not find or consume the bait will not be affected.
Bait granules may work slower than other pesticide formulations since the crawling insects will need to find the bait for it to start working. Also, for ant problems, the foraging ants need time to take the bait back to the colony and share with the other ants. However, the payoff is eliminating the source of the ant problem.
The use of granular baits can be expressed to the client by pointing out the benefits of using these bait formulations. Most clients gravitate toward the environmentally friendly factor, in which they feel they are getting the best of both worlds – eliminating the problem that is “bugging” them and doing it in an environmentally friendly way.
When the bait utilizes a mineral-based active ingredient like boric acid, it can be incorporated into a “green” service program that makes it both family and pet friendly.Not only do the bugs want to come out and enjoy the weather, but typically the kids and household animals find themselves playing outside more. Granules nestled in the grass, in flower beds and even in that dirt lot you keep meaning to get plants into, will keep the unwanted bugs away, while allowing the kids to play and those dogs to dig…or whatever else they like to do on the backyard grass.
There are other benefits as well. Granule baits do not require mixing, are easy to apply, and PPE requirements are usually less strict than other formulations (check your state’s regulations). These baits are also very versatile and designed for many pests.
Granular baits are typically weather resistant and can be used in a hot, wet environment and do just fine. Granular baits will not lose efficacy if exposed to the environment. Granules are an effective control method for some of the toughest multi-layered surfaces such as mulch beds, grass and ground cover vegetation. These areas provide food, moisture and harborage for insects. Oftentimes, granular bait provides better longer-lasting results than sprays in these “live” surfaces.
When it comes to cost, unfortunately, some granular baits can be more expensive than liquid pesticides. However, considering they are also slower acting and do not have to be applied as often, they may actually save you some money. Factor in the equipment that granules require vs. the equipment needed for liquid pesticides and you will find, that even upfront, the liquid product itself may be more expensive. The cost associated to use may quickly weigh in favor of the granules, not to mention the time saving aspect for your techs. Fortunately, because InTice 10 perimeter bait has an outdoor application rate of only 1 lb per 1000 sq ft, it offers PMPs an outstanding value saving time, money and space.
Most calls come in and the majority of services are needed, not when there’s trouble outside, but when these pests make their way inside. The client finds that the ants have made their way past the front door, down the hall, inside the kitchen, up the counter, all over their favorite sugar bowl, and to the pantry where they discovered a handful of crumbs that had inadvertently been left out. What happens then? We can’t leave granules inside! It would be a mess! No, we cannot but there are several ways that you can incorporate them into the interior control methods.
When insect pressure presents itself on the interior of the structure, granular bait can be effective in these situations, when used properly. InTice 10 is labeled for use indoors and can be dusted into wall voids, applied in attics, crawlspaces and basements. You may also place it in a BaitPlate or D-Sect IPM Station to gain control of interior pests.Typically, you should offer this service at the start of the season as it will be advantageous to you and your client, providing a pest free living environment. Unlike most pesticide chemicals, the boric acid active doesn’t break down from heat and will last a year or more. So, a once-a-year treatment is typically enough. And because it is a bait, pests will be actively looking for it.
When considering products for interior treatments, a lot of PMPs have a habit of spraying every inch of baseboard in the house. For some, this treatment makes sense. However, when is the last time you saw insects crawling on an exposed surface of the baseboard? When it comes to insect control on the interior, we must be good stewards to our client and the industry. This means doing what is not only best for the client and the environment, but being able to control the issue with the least amount of “chemical” possible. Granular baits make this daunting task very simple. It is best to make sure these are always placed in inconspicuous areas as to not attract children or pets. Please be safe while baiting!
Be sure to select the appropriate bait for the situation and always follow label directions. Visit rockwelllabs.com for more information on introducing granular baits into your service offerings.
David Newfang, ACE
Western Region Technical Representative, Rockwell Labs Ltd
David Newfang has over 13 years of field experience in the PMP industry, which includes experience as a pest control field rep for different California pest control companies, as well as a termite inspector, quality assurance specialist, and most recently, a branch manager for Dewey Pest Control in Pasadena, CA.