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Ant Bait Precautions

Ant bait is a less-toxic alternative to indoor insecticide sprays, but is not completely without potential danger to home occupants and the environment. Ant baits work by attracting worker ants to the bait. The worker ants then carry the poison food back to the nest where it kills the queen and young ants. Hardware stores and supermarkets carry commercial brands of ant bait, but ant bait can also be homemade.

Hygiene and Cleaning of Skin and Clothes

Ant baits contain the mild toxin boric acid, which can have damaging health effects on humans and pets if precautions are not observed.

All ant baits contain boric acid, which the Environmental Protection Agency deems "moderately acutely toxic." To avoid an adverse health reaction to the boric acid in ant bait, you should avoid all contact with the bait with your clothing, skin and eyes. If you do come into direct contact with the ant bait, wash your skin and clothes immediately and thoroughly.

Storage

Store ant bait out of reach from children and pets. Ant bait should be stored in a cool environment that never reaches above 130 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid flammability.

Additionally, it is incredibly important to store ant bait in a dry place to maintain effectiveness. As well as being a suitable toxin for ant food, boric acid attaches to the ants' legs. When the ants later clean themselves, they ingest the boric acid and expire approximately 10 days later. When boric acid stays dry, it is effective for approximately one year of pest control, including the continuous control of young, hatching ants.

Disposal

Some ant baits contain the toxin abamectin, which is only mildly toxic for humans and other mammals, but highly toxic for insects and fish. After ant bait application, any unused ant bait left in the original container should never be disposed of down any indoor or outdoor drains. Call your local solid waste agency for instructions on proper dumping procedures for any remaining ant bait.

Any empty ant bait containers should be trashed or recycled, if possible. This avoids any unnecessary residue from boric acid accumulating in your home and protects against potentially harmful exposure to children or pets.

About the Author

Emily Anderson began writing in 2006 and editing in 2008. She is published in Linda Rief's "101 Quickwrites," and was regularly published in George Washington University's literary magazine, "Wooden Teeth." Anderson gradated with a Bachelors of Arts in English from George Washington University.