Debris on/near bait

Asked September 29, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

I have placed baits containing peanut butter, syrup, and Borax. The ants have been depositing a granular debris at the bait sites. Granules are yellow/tan in color. My suspicion is that the ants are extracting the Borax from the bait. What is going on here?

Santa Barbara County California

3 Responses

The picture does not provide enough resolution to know what ant it is and what the granules are--could it be sand or it is food based? I recommend contacting the Santa Barbara County Extension office. Take (or send) a sample of the ants and granules. Locations: http://cesantabarbara.ucanr.edu/about/contact/

Thank you for your response. My question was originally assigned to an entomologist in California, somehow it got reassigned to you.

The structural features and behavior of the ants are consistent with Pharaoh Ants. The bait in the photo placed on a small piece of green sheet plastic. The bait site is a clean, Corian kitchen countertop. The question really, is:
Under what circumstances would pharaoh ants produce deposits of the aforementioned description? The ants don't carry anything in their mandibles, and the deposits are identical regardless of the colony/site location. Thank you again for your time.

Materials should be taken to county extension office. It is not possible to know by the picture. Thank you.