Argentine Ants treatment options

Property owners who wish to treat their own properties now have a choice of two products – Xstinguish and X-It Ant, a recently developed product.

Property owners who wish to treat their own properties now have a choice of two products – Xstinguish and X-It Ant, a recently developed product.


Control can be achieved by applying Xstinguish on a grid pattern over the property.  Co-ordinating baiting with neighbours prevents early reinvasion. 

A single application of bait, correctly applied in the months of October and November, is usually sufficient to reduce Argentine ant numbers to very low levels. Surviving nests can be treated after 6 weeks with leftover Xstinguish if it has been kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The bait is slow acting and the results may not show up for 2-3 weeks.  

To achieve better than a 90% control, the whole section should be treated except inside the house and garage. Read and follow the directions on the cartridge label regarding Precautions, Disposal, First Aid and Directions for Use. It is available in 125 gm tubes and 325 gm cartridges; the cartridge is dispensed with a caulking gun.

How the Bait Works

Xstinguish bait contains protein, carbohydrates and a slow-acting toxin; workers scavenge for protein when feeding larvae and queens and share carbohydrates amongst themselves. This ensures that the toxin is distributed throughout the nest before it starts to affect the ants and trigger a bait rejection process.

Bait uptake may be limited if there are planty of other food sources around. It takes 2-3 weeks to achieve the full effect of baiting and the colony enters a state of confusion towards the end of this period when eggs, pupae and larvae are moved around.

Baits are most palatable when moist and this is best achieved by laying bait in the late afternoon or early evening, as ants forage at night during warm weather. If bait is laid earlier and exposed to direct sunlight, it should be covered to slow drying.

Bait Size

Use small blobs of baits (about 1 cm, the size of a small finger nail). If exposed to sunlight, we recommend that the baits are covered to slow the drying process and making them unattractive to the ants. Use small pieces of bark, sticks, a leaf or small pebbles.

Where to Bait

To achieve a 90% + knockdown, use 2 metre spacings in the most situations:

  • House foundation surround.
  • Edges along paths and gardens.
  • Driveway edges and driveway cracks or grooving.
  • Vege gardens (if not being regularly dug or disturbed).
  • Shrub/ flower gardens and lawns.
  • ‘Glass’ house – inside and around outside edge.
  • Garden sheds – around outside edge.

Closer Spacing should be Used in the Following Situations:

  • Barked garden areas – 1 metre spacing.
  • Compost bins – 1 metre spacing around bins and in the mature mix.
  • Pot plants – several closely-spaced baits at the base or around the top.
  • Water toby – several closely-spaced baits inside or around the outside edge.

Helpful Hints for Successful Baiting

  • A 325g cartridge will cover two small (500 sq. m) sections.
  • Allow approximately 2 hours to bait an average sized section properly.
  • If purchasing a caulking gun, we recommend a pressure-release, non-dripping variety.
  • Don’t mow your lawn the week prior to your control. The longer grass will help shade the bait when you put the bait nozzle in the grass and save a lot of covering.
  • Don’t water baited areas until at least the following day.
  • Cover baits in the cracks or grooves of driveways with a small stone or piece of bark to prevent it from being stood on.
  • Keep baits away from the normal vehicle wheel tracks.
  • When baiting along grass/concrete edges (unless neatly trimmed), scuff the edge of the grass up, lay the bait underneath and gently let the grass back down on the bait.
  • In bark gardens, the nozzle can be just pushed under the surface bark to cover the bait.
  • There is no need to bait the surface of large concrete or gravel areas – just along any cracks or grooves and around the outside edge and weedy areas.
  • We suggest keeping children and dogs out of the baited area for at least 24 hours or until the bait has gone hard.
  • The bait is toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, so keep all bait out of any channels that drain into your pond and at least 1 metre away from the edge of the pond.
  • Don’t hose bait into the storm water drain.

Further Information

Xstinguish bait is available for purchase from Shane Warland of Debug Nelson (03 548 0121), Warwick Ivory of Alpha Environmental, 16 Gladstone Road, Richmond (+64 3 544 4365) and Stephen Fryer of Pest Management and Training Services (+64 3 544 5274).  The 325 gm cartridges are suitable for medium to large sections and costs vary from $60 - $70; the smaller 100 gm syringe ($45) is only suitable for small sections. It can be delivered but there may be a delivery charge.

X-It Ant information

X-It Ant is a residual insecticide spray based on a widely-used synthetic pyrethroid that has been developed in NZ by Key Industries Ltd for use in local conditions against Argentine and Darwin’s ants. The residual nature of this spray is expected to delay re-invasion from ants on neighbouring properties by several months.  It is designed to control ants outdoors and is suitable for use on hard surfaces - soil, concrete, asphalt, exterior walls, roadside curbing and footpaths – and some softer surfaces – lawns, grass, gardens. It is available in a 225ml pack and, when mixed with water, will treat about 300 sq m.

X-It Ant is applied with a sprayer. It is important to ensure that the sprayer is free from other chemical residues before use or to have a sprayer that is dedicated to X-IT Ant use only. It must be cleaned after use and rinsed thoroughly.  Take care not to allow spray drift on to windows. If the spray has dried on a window, use Turpentine or kerosene to clean off. Do not apply on exterior surfaces where food for human consumption would be prepared. Pets must be kept off sprayed surface until fully dry.

X-It Ant:

  • Can be used on all exterior surfaces including trees, lawns, concrete paths and the exterior of buildings
  • Is rain-fast after 1 hour of sunlight
  • Will control ants for several months, depending on the surface treated
  • Forms a non-repellent barrier that ensures uptake of chemical when walked on by ants.

Directions for use of X-It Ant

Always read the label before use.
Do not use indoors

Situation Pest Rate Comments
 Domestic dwelling exterior, including roadside curbing, footpaths, lawns, gardens, bark, soil, concrete, asphalt, pavers and exterior walls.  Nuisance ants including but not limited to Argentine ants, Darwin ants, black house ants, white footed house ants, odorous garden ants, pavement ants and other nuisance ants 15 ml per 1L water

Apply to nest sites and trails outdoors.  Also to exterior walls where ants are trailing.  Repeat as necessary.
Ensure a maximum of 1L of spray liquid is applied per 20 m2 of surface area.  

Biforce Granules

Biforce granules are a granule mixed with sand for use on turf, bark, compost heaps, dense vegetation, shrubs and gardens for the control of ants including Darwin and Argentine ants. The product is available in a 500 gm shaker/canister and this will treat about 34 sq m.

Biforce granules

  • will not damage sensitive plants or turf
  • have a very small particle size and are easy to spread
  • have a long term residual control
  • are stable over a wide range of environmental conditions
  • have low odour
  • provide effective insect control.

In areas where X-It Ant cannot be successfully applied (e.g. long grass, compost heaps), Biforce granules should be used.  Biforce granules contains this residual insecticide in a granular form mixed with sand for sprinkling over long grass, bark, compost heaps, dense vegetation, shrubs and gardens.

X-It Ant and Biforce granules are available from Warwick Ivory of Alpha Environmental, 16 Gladstone Road, Richmond (+64 3 544 4365), Farmlands at 24 Main Rd, Hope (+64 3 543 9452) and Stephen Fryer of Pest Management and Training Services in Richmond (+64 3 544 5274). The X-It spray in 225 ml pack retails at $51.75 and the Biforce granules in a 500 g shaker at $11.60.   

BiffAnt programme information

This is a comprehensive programme that was introduced in 2012 and designed for delivery by certified applicators that use X-It Ant and Biforce for external use, and another residual insecticide (permethrin) in Dust2Dust for use in walls and ceiling cavities.  

Effective treatment will be costly and residents should seek more than one quotation and ask for a treatment guarantee.

A list of certified applicators is available below:

Name Company Phone Email
Stephen Fryer Pest Management Training Services 027 443 8551
  Jaes Services Nelson +64 3 548 5550
Glinda Harliwich Bay Pest Management    021 633 706
Andy McAslan McAs Pest and Weed Control 027 574 2141
Graeme Richards Fifeshire Pest Control    021 140 1211
Warwick Ivory    Alpha Environmental    +64 3 544 4365
John Sigglekow    Spiderban Nelson  Ltd 03 546 9991
027 368 4205
Sandra Jensen    The Bug Lady    027 314 5910

Use of contractors

You may wish to hire a pest controller to control ants on your property. Pest controllers can use a wider range of products and most pest contractors have been trained and registered as Approved Handlers to manage the potential risk of using more toxic products. Effective treatment is costly and residents should seek more than one quotation and ask for a treatment guarantee.

Use of fly spray and boiling water

The use of fly spray and boiling water to control ants will have little effect on the other 99% of the ants and on the pupae and larvae in the many underground nests.