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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: How to get rid of ants
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 11:59:39 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 09:00:41 -0500, MTV <> wrote:

>We've have very good results with the Maxforce ant gel.

Funny that this would come up now.  I've been doing a long term research
project up here in Green Cove based on a research paper I found last spring
that dealt with controlling German yellow jackets.  The area has been invaded
with German yellow jackets (nests above ground and are meat eaters instead of
sweets).  What the locals call "piss ants" (tiny red stinging ants) have also
become a serious problem.

The research paper addressed the use of Fipronil, a very long delayed acting
poison, to control yellow jackets.  The procedure was to have a group of grad
students walk shoulder to shoulder across a large, multi-acre mixed field and
wooded area, finding and counting yellow jacket nests (such is the life of a
grad student :-)

Next bait stations were prepared and set out at intervals around the area.  In
a month, the walk was repeated.  All nests within about a 500 yard radius of
each station were wiped out.  In fact, the entire survey area was almost clear
of nests.

Based on that and based on the degree of infestation here (every other deck
seemed to have a nest under it), I decided to set up my experiment.  Most
everyone is familiar with Fipronil but don't know it.  It's the active
ingredient in FrontLine flea control product.  Grossly over-priced, of course.

I didn't know whether all the yellow jackets were American or German so for
each bait station I set up two baits, one was cherry preserves and the other
canned cat food.  To about 100 grams of each I added the amount of FrontLine
that would cling to the tip of a toothpick. (sorry, no micropippets available)
I added a touch of water and made a thick slurry.

In one location I set up a camera and time lapse timer and photographed the
bait every 5 minutes over a 2 day period.  I never saw more than 2 yellow
jackets on the cat food and none on the preserves.  That was enough.

Bottom line - the Green Cove area is now almost completely yellow jacket-free.
The other residents think that I did some sort of FM :-)

Back to ants.  There has been a piss ant colony under the general store for
years.  They emerge from one crack or the other every so often and raid the
garbage or the sweets aisle.  Royal PITA.  Based on the yellow jacket success,
I set up another experiment.  This time I used honey diluted with water so as
not to be so sticky as to trap the ants.  I dipped just a little more than the
tip of a round toothpick in FrontLine and mixed it in the honey-water and put
the mixture on a shallow foam saucer that had the rim cut down so that the
edge almost touched the floor.

Within a day the ant were on that bait like stink on ... Well, you know :-)

It's been about 2 weeks and all evidence is that the colony is gone.  I've set
up more honey bait stations outside where ants have been seen in the past and
they've been ignored.  No ants visible. I'm ready to declare success.

What is unique about Fipronil is that it has no odor or taste in the
concentration used.  According to the research paper, yellow jackets are very
particular and are repelled my most other insecticides.

FrontLine is obscenely expensive but Fipronil is available in large quantities
for much more reasonable prices.  I have some of this currently on order:

I'll be testing it to make sure none of the inert ingredients repel yellow

Fipronil is available in higher concentrations as a planting-time worm control
insecticide used with corn.  Nominally, a pesticide license is required to buy
it, though I've found out that this is only a small obstacle.

This chemical highlights EPAs irrational pesticide rules.  In the form of
FrontLine, the stuff is put ON your pet INSIDE your house.  In the form of
Termidor (about the same concentration) the labeling SCREAMS not to use it

I have a feeling that this might just be one of the best long persistence
roach killers around.  I'm going to find out.  One of the roach gels has
Fipronil in it (Combat, I think but can't recall) but I'm looking at something
that I can spray the baseboards with.  The roach gel dries out within a month
and becomes useless.

When the Termidor arrives, I'm going to be testing it with a yellow jacket
attractant, the little capsules that come with those yellow yellow jacket
traps.  That should draw them in from much farther away than mere cat food.

Before I forget, many thanks to my friend Bruce Bowen who turned me on to the

More info on german vs American yellow jackets.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: How to get rid of ants
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 18:42:05 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 11:25:17 -0500, Bob Giddings <> wrote:

>On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 11:59:39 -0400, Neon John <>

>>When the Termidor arrives, I'm going to be testing it with a yellow jacket
>>attractant, the little capsules that come with those yellow yellow jacket
>>traps.  That should draw them in from much farther away than mere cat food.
>>Before I forget, many thanks to my friend Bruce Bowen who turned me on to the
>>More info on german vs American yellow jackets.
>What happens if one of your pets ingests it?

Considering that I put FrontLine on my cats every month during the summer and
FrontLine has about the same concentration of Fipronil as the Termidor, and
considering how much they lick themselves, nothing happens.

The FrontLine patent describes the process of the carrier material spreading
the Fipronil all over the animal's body within a day or so, so the kitties
certainly ingest it.

Judging by the MSDS LD50/rat numbers, if this stuff wasn't labeled an
"insecticide", it could be labeled non-toxic to warm blooded beings, given
that the rats have to practically drown in the stuff.

Incidentally, the secret carrier material in FrontLine seems to be propylene
glycol.  That's what it feels and tastes like (yeah, I live on the edge,
tasting the tips of toothpicks containing poison :-) and its properties match
the description given in the patent.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: How to get rid of ants
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 14:20:43 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 29 Jul 2008 08:31:46 -0700, "Technobarbarian"
<> wrote:

>    It looks like the biggest problem with this idea isn't pets--it's bees.
>All of the government approved formulations combine the Fipronil with
>something that isn't attractive to bees or call for it to be used in ways
>that aren't likely to affect bees. Mixing Fipronil with a sweet bait could
>cause problems for neighbors with bee hives or any nearby commercial bee

It's been a long time since I've seen anyone more desperate to criticize my
work, no matter how far the reach.  Like a no-see-um.  Mildly annoying but
otherwise invisible. Get a life, dude.

As for bees, the paper addresses that.  They designed their bait traps with
holes too small for the bees to enter.  Up here honey bees are rare to
non-existent.  It appears that bumblebees do the pollinating.  I haven't seen
a honeybee this high in the mountains in many years. In any event, my time
lapse photography showed no bees at all on the preserves.  In fact, no insects
at all other than a couple of flies.

Since I know that I'm dealing with German yellow jackets, there will be no
more need for sweet bait in the future.  Your "fear" is assuaged.

>France has banned Fipronil because of problems it caused for bees.

Impressive that the man can use Google.  That wouldn't be the first stupid
thing the french have done, now would it?

>Off label use of pesticides is also illegal in this country.

Oh my.  I'm an outlaw.  Wow.  I imagine that the average person breaks dozens
of federal regs every day so I'm in good company.  I won't be losing sleep...
I guess you missed my little editorial about the idiocy of EPA labeling rules.

>    I've gotten good results controlling Yellow Jackets with a simple trap
>like this one, using the water from canned tuna fish for the bait:

To use an old James Bond line, I'm not interested in controlling them.  I'm
interested in killing them.

I can't imagine that thing even controlling them.  From the paper, the nests
they took census of contained from 2500 to over 15,000 insects.  How many do
you catch at a time, a couple hundred? In a large nest that many die naturally
every day. You're not even scratching the surface.  Worse, you're actually
attracting them to the area with your dead fish bait.  If you don't have the
trap near your outdoor activity then you're not affecting the scouts that come
around you.  A lose-lose situation.

Those traps give the illusion of control but they don't.  Traps like these

sprout around the RV parks up here like weeds.  If anything, they probably
encourage more yellowjackets to nest in the area.  If you're happy with your
"control" then more power to ya.  Here, we're tickled spitless by the almost
total absence of yellow jackets.  It's actually pleasant to have an outdoor
picnic again.


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