I read your article. My problem is that I have 3 acres that is out of control. I have used the granules that you spread with a spreader. But at 20 dollars a bag it takes too much and I cannot keep up. The bags say once and done. A big lie. The ants are back. I have a lot of the little tiny black ants and then a lot of the red ants. To have a company drop granules all over the 3 acres would cost a fortune but I do not know how else to get a firm grip on the situation.
First and foremost, maintaining 3 acres is a big job for any company let alone a homeowner. Do you really have to keep this entire area ant free? I ask because you are right; trying to do so would in fact be quite expensive but more importantly, it’s generally not needed if your goal is to keep pests out of the home. As our ANT CONTROL ARTICLE explains, once ants are established outside in your lawn and landscaping, some will find their way inside local structures. And since ants forage naturally, they require a larger “buffer zone” compared to most insects. But even with ants there is no need to keep more than an acre treated if your goal is to keep them out of the home. I can say with certainty that maintaining just one full acre would be more than enough area unless you have a specific reason for wanting them gone in all the acreage you mention.
Second, there is no product on the market that only needs to be used “once” and then it will be able to keep every pest controlled forever. Such a product would present an environmental nightmare if it did last that long; the risk of misapplying it to waterways, food crop land and other sensitive locations would be ever present and for this reason no product like it will ever be sold. In fact, most all products on the market today have short lives. Anything with a one month residual would be considered average and the very longest granular insecticides may last 6-8 weeks if the local weather allows them to remain unscathed. But these would be granular formulations and as such, there is a price to be paid for such a convenient “package”. In other words, the fact they only require a spreader to be applied and that they don’t require any mixing means you must pay a premium for this formulation. Of course it sounds like you’ve figured this out already which is why you are making your inquiry in the first place…
Which leads me to list what I consider to be your options in getting this ant situation under control. For starters, you could hire a service company. This would be the “easy” option but rest assured, it will be costly. And remember, whatever it is they’d be applying, you can get from us and apply yourself. Doing the work yourself will prove a lot more cost effective and in my opinion, the way to go. But at the rate you were mentioning and the area you wanted to protect, I don’t know it would be feasible to do annually without spending a fortune. With this concern in mind, here’s what I suggest.
The first option is to stick with a granule. If you were to apply our BIFEN LP every two months focusing in on the warm season for your region, it would require about 4 bags to treat one acre. But this one acre would be insect free and as I explained above, this would be sufficient if your intent was to create an ant free zone around your home. And even down here in the south, we only have to treat from March through September so basically it’s about 4 treatments a year or close to $400.00 per season to control them in the one acre. Now to hire a service company to apply these same 400 lbs of Bifen would be a lot more expensive so doing the work yourself would one way to cut back on the costs big time.
Now if you’re still thinking you want to treat the entire 3 acres you obviously can do so with nothing but granules. But obviously this will triple the cost estimate I projected above and I’m not sure there will be enough reason to do so from the details I got from your message. Case in point; my house sits on 1 acre and it’s right on the Chattahoochee River. Suffice to say I get tremendous pressure from all kinds of wildlife and insects. The biting pests like mosquitoes, gnats and noseeums compelled me to get a BACK PACK MIST BLOWER. I use it once a month from April through October and apply about 2-3 gallons of finished product over my house and about 1/2 acre of fairly dense vegetation. Here’s my point: not only does it control the biting pests but it also keeps the ants, roaches, crickets and just about everything else under control. And if I was to say how much of the liquid I actually spray on the land, I would guess maybe 1 gallon for the 1/2 acre which would amount to 2 gallons per acre. Now lets extrapolate this to 3 acres; it would be about 6 gallons for 3 acres and there’s the kicker: the product I’m using is mostly BIFEN IT. It costs less than $1.00 an oz and mixes up at the rate of .5-1 oz per gallon. So to treat 3 acres with 6 gallons of finished product at the full rate of 1 oz per gallon would be about $5.00. Heck, even if you doubled the treatment and applied 4 gallons per acre you’d still only using about $10.00 per treatment and over the course of the year this would be a huge savings. So what’s the catch?
There really isn’t any catch but there are some major reasons why the cost is so much less with the “mist” version of the same active. The big reason is the cost (investment) of the Back Pack Mist Blower. For most people this is a big deal but when you have so much land to treat, it really can pay for itself in a short period of time. In this case less than a year. The other big reason is the difference between using a liquid, granule and a “mist”. If you were power spraying the Bifen, it would require a lot more concentrate to get equal coverage. In other words, the results I enjoy are mostly because I’m targeting small flying insects. When treating larger pests like ants, it will probably require more product initially to knock them down. But once they’re diminished, regular treatments with the mist will prove very effective. This is mostly due to the product being dispersed so fine over a large area. But can it still work this well as a dispersed mist? Absolutely. It’s mostly due to the fact that once a given area is treated and under control, it only takes a little to keep it that way. So if you stayed up on treatments, you’d enjoy doing a lot less work using a lot less chemical to keep the whole area pest free. But again, it will require the start up costs of the equipment and extra material to knock the ants down. I’m thinking a heavy granule treatment followed by monthly misting with the Bifen should do it so it wouldn’t be a lot initially. And mind you this is only a guess because I’m not clear as to what the exact extent is of the problem so I’m just estimating product usage.
And lastly, don’t forget that walking the same area with the Back Pack Mister will require a lot less effort compared to pushing a granule spreader over the same terrain. The mist blower is easy to use, very efficient and can shoot the mist some 50 plus feet (with the wind even further). So as I see it, if you need to treat the entire 3 acres all the time, the Mist Blower would prove to be the best deal in the long run for many reasons including less effort to treat the same area, less chemical consumed and the added benefit of taking care of all pests including all the “biting” insects like mosquitoes.
Sorry for the lengthy response but three acres of land is a lot of land and for that reason a lot of words were needed :)
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Ant Control Article: http://www.bugspray.com/article/ants.html
Bifen LP: http://www.bugspray.com/item/453410.html