Ants! Ants! Ants!
Hello! I'm doing a senior project for school where I take a problem and engineer something to fix it. The problem I have chosen is this: Ants can get into and consume pet food.
Now, to continue with my project, my teacher has asked that I provide justifications. A justification is something that confirms that my problem is actually a problem. In other words, my teacher doesn't want me to engineer something that no one, other than myself, thinks is actually a problem. A justification can come from an article, primary research, OR from an expert.
So I have to ask: Do you, as an expert, agree with me? I know it sounds silly, but basically, my opinion doesn't matter. I think ants are a problem because they eat household plants, can get into laundry, and are downright pests. And if you leave poison, this might cause health issues with pets, which is not good. But then again, I am not an expert! And this is where you come in.
I'd like to know your opinions, testimony, and experiences with this problem.
Thank you again! Your time and patience is greatly appreciated!
It will be useful to identify the ant species that you will be discussing for your senior project.
Most home invading ants will prefer protein based poison baits in the earlier months within a four season area. As the Summer wanes, their tastes will switch more to carbohydrate baits. It is sometimes useful to experiment with ant taste preferences by supplying a choice between protein such as dried fish food, crushed aromatic sugar such as a raspberry lollipop, and finally placing a grease/protein combo such as fried bacon. This should be done where there is an ongoing ant problem.
If you don't have an ant source now, maybe a classmate's home is experiencing such a condition. If allowed, you could post a wanted sign on the school bulletin board, asking for an existing ant problem that you might address.
Finally, baits can be placed where ants will find that source of food, without presenting an opportunity for a pet to eat the product. Ants have an exquisite sense of smell, and I can assure you, they will locate a bait somewhere within their foraging territory.
Look up pavement ants, acrobat ants, Pharoah ants, carpenter ants, and thief ants. These could be useful as study types for your report.
As regards the actual poison baits; they are low toxicity, much too low to be a dangerous product for pet consumption. There is a slight exception when placing borate based baits within the reach of cats. Cats seem to have some disruption to their digestive system with borates. I believe their micro-flora may be effected to a slight degree. You can look into this factor further by looking up the subject on the Internet.
My main concern would be that if pets eat a bait product, it will not be available to the target ant species.
As regards your theory that ants can get into a pet's food. The answer is, it is absolutely true. As a matter of concern, when placing baits for ant kill, we depend on the foragers to carry back the poison to feed the queen(s), and the maturing larvae prior to pupation. In order to make the bait available to these ants, the nurse ants within the colony must convert the bait into a papp that can then be fed to the larvae and queen(s). Ants will store baits within the colony when the product is a dry substance. these baits will be utilized over a period of time. When baits disappear overnight, this is a good sign that the baits will be fed until entirely consumed.
By eliminating a competing food source at times when bait is available, one will have a better opportunity to wipe out the offending colony. Keep bet food away overnight, especially, during your baiting program.
I hope that I have been helpful Thomas.
Best wishes with your assignment,