I think people try to give mythical powers to ants. They simply follow marked
trails to food, other than that they walk around aimlessly looking for food. It
is the math of huge numbers that works for them.
We are also figuring out that a lot of well known ant "facts" are simply not
true. If you do manage to kill the queen with a particular bait, workers can
join another colony that doesn't eat that kind of food. There are even
indications that a single colony might actually have several different food
streams and when one starts killing all of those members they abandon that food
and go to another. If you have ever battled ants in a sub-tropical climate you
will gain a grudging respect for their resiliance.
I had a problem a few months ago with small "grease" ants that had decided
Purina Dog Chow was the best food on the planet. If my dog left one piece
anywhere in the house they would find it in an hour or two and be all over it.
I could not stop them. Finally, with help from folks here, I made a 12:1 bait
from Purina and boric acid. It was very successful. The ants stopped eating the
Purina. They are still here though, walking around aimlessly. They just haven't
found anything they like as much as the Purina.