They take a lickin' and keep on tickin (unfortunately)
September 21, 2008 8:08 PM   Subscribe

How long did it take for Terro to exterminate the ant population in your apartment/house? I started using Terro's liquid-filled ant baits on Wednesday, September 17. Now, four days later I am still seeing ants trickle in - not as many as before, but enough to make me grit my teeth, and wonder if they're just waiting for the next set of eggs to hatch before they come in droves again. How fast did Terro work for you? Did it take you a few days, a week, etc?
posted by Esther Festers to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The first time I used Terro it was in an apartment that had clearly had ant problems long before I moved in. I think the guy before me must have just resigned himself to living with them.
I tried everything I could think of for almost a month before I stumbled across Terro liquid ant baits.
I just set them in the line of ants and hoped for the best.
For the first week, there were more ants coming in and out in that line than I thought possible, and then on day eight or nine there were zero. Like a switch had been flipped.

I've since moved and had to combat ants twice in the house I live in now. Both times it was a much smaller number of ants and they were much less well-established than those original apartment ants, and those times it took a solid five days for the last of them to come around.

However, I noticed that there seemed to be two groups of ants this last time: the largest group was the group coming in and out to the ant bait, and a much smaller group seemed to be coming in and ignoring the ant bait completely and instead going to the sink for water.

Those last ones were still coming in even after the ant bait group had stopped, so I finally got frustrated and spent a day standing by the sink and wiping them up with a sponge and washing them down the drain. That seemed to do the trick.

Oh, and in case it makes a difference, these were those itty bitty reddish ants in both places, not big mofo ants.
posted by Brody's chum at 8:29 PM on September 21, 2008

Previously, on MeFi:

"The clock is ticking, Mr. President. You must make a choice!"
"I... I think I'm pregnant!

It seems to have been a busy few month for ants, even I've had to deal with them. And yeah, Terro seems to do the trick eventually.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2008

Death of a nest takes a while. Ant bait is designed to not work fast, because that's better. The ants find it yummy, and they take it back and feed it to the queen. She dies, and then the nest is doomed.

But it isn't dead yet. With the queen gone there will be no new eggs, but there are still a lot of eggs and a lot of adult ants. The existing ants still are doing their preprogrammed thing, and you have to wait until the eggs have hatched and the resulting ants all die. Depending on the kind of ants, it can take as long as a month before all the ants are dead.
posted by Class Goat at 10:42 PM on September 21, 2008

I've used Terro twice (at the suggestion of the askme Terro enthusiasm squad) and both times it took long enough to work that I forgot to continue paying attention to see if it had worked yet. Generally, I'd just be sitting around a month or so later and notice, hey, I haven't been plagued by ants in a while!

In both cases, the Terro proved utterly effective at, eventually, eradicating the crawly little plague.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:29 PM on September 21, 2008

My experience has been: anywhere from 2-3 days to 2+ weeks to get it down from massive disgusting invation to nothing but the occasional scout. Then no new invasions after that for 9 months or so, if not more.

As long as you've got it on right on the trail, and they're gobbling it up, you're golden.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:31 AM on September 22, 2008

As part of the Terro Enthusiasm Squad(tm), I must say I've always had better luck with the granules and the spray with the long thin straw. The combination of those two killed my carpenter ant problem dead.
I did use the liquid filled ant baits, and did see a few dead soldiers around them, but just didn't have much faith in them, and besides they were pretty unsightly.
posted by willmize at 1:58 AM on September 22, 2008

About a week for me, on two separate occasions in different places. Major reduction after 2-3 days, and then a declining trickle.
posted by procrastination at 7:36 AM on September 22, 2008

On two occasions we’ve had carpenter ants, and the terro liquid baits took care of them overnight.
For the tiny little reddish ants I can never seem to identify perfectly, never really. These little guys just seem to taper off, never going away completely.
posted by paxton at 8:09 AM on September 22, 2008

Terro used to work in a day or so, but back then it contained arsenic. Apparently, too many people saw it as useful for riding themselves of much larger household pests, and it now contains something like oxalic aid or something. (You can buy the plain crystals and mix them with sugar if you want, same diff.)
Some people have better luck with it than others. I always spray the heat vents but then they are using them as a runway, so it's a captive audience. If you live over a cement slab, look for cracks in it, they'll come in that way, and then emerge somewhere under the rug.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:48 AM on September 22, 2008

I went through a few invasions this summer, each one took in the neighborhood of a week to die back. I assume the serial invasions were from new colonies.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2008

I've never used the terro stuff, but I have used the boric acid solution with huge success in our house. The boric acid I buy is called "roach prufe" and is really cheap. See here Put some cotton balls in mason jars, pour the solution on the balls, then screw on the lids and punch a few holes in the top. Works great for sugar ants.
posted by Big_B at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2008

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