Q: Why don’t we kill fire ants with a bait in sugar syrup? You could even inject it into individual mounds.
A: Fire ant expert Wayne Gardner says fire ants will eat proteins, fats, and sugars but they are not as attracted to sweets as are Argentine ants. Baits are better for control than contact poisons because there can be so many fire ant colonies in one area that a contact poison would never get them all. An effective bait must have delayed toxicity so that the active ingredient is transported to the colony before causing immediate death. Successful fire ant baits are based on protein-filled oils, like soybean oil, soaked onto an inert carrier, like ground corn cobs.