How to Improve Ant Bait Effectiveness

Ants are one of the most common household pests, and ant bait stations are a convenient way to get rid of them.
Ants can be steered into ant baits for effective control.Ants can be steered into ant baits for effective control.
These small plastic shells around a mixture of ant poison and ant food can eliminate entire ant colonies, since the worker ants take the poison back to the nest. Their effectiveness depends on getting the ants to take the bait, and the quicker the ants take the bait, the faster the ants are gone.

Step 1

Clean up food sources near the ant trail, since optimizing the effectiveness of ant bait stations depends on the ants having no other options for food nearby. Vacuum up crumbs and wipe up sticky residues with water.

Step 2

Place baits right on top of the ant trail, as close to the source of ants as possible. Ant bait stations usually come in packs of four. For the fastest results, place all four baits out, even if that means placing them only a few inches apart. For severe infestations, put out multiple boxes of baits.

Step 3

Seal the baits to uneven surfaces such as carpet, placing strips of tape around the edge of the ant baits. Work the tape into the carpet pile, as close to the carpet backing as possible. Ant baits work best on hard surfaces like tile, linoleum and hardwood floors. On uneven surfaces such as carpet, ants may continue to follow the scent trail, crawling right under the bait station.

Step 4

Herd the ants into the bait station. Confronted with an obstacle in the trail, the ants try to go around it, which is why the directions on boxes of ant baits say to place them next to walls. Lay down parallel lines of ground cinnamon for example from the location of the ants' former feeding ground to the baits, creating virtual walls to funnel the ants through the bait stations and cutting off any routes around the baits. Leave a cinnamon-free path along the ant trail and into the baits.

Step 5

Wait while the ants discover the baits within a few minutes. Within hours, the activity will drop off. It may take a day or two before ant activity dies down entirely. Vacuum up the cinnamon trails after a day or so when you observe no more ants in the area. Leave the baits down for a few weeks to nip attempts to reestablish the colony.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape
  • Ground cinnamon


  • Taping the ant baits down also keeps pets from batting them around like toys or otherwise moving them.


  • Follow the warnings on the packages of ant baits to avoid using them near food and food preparation areas.

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