Ants are one of the most numerous insects in the world, with trillions of the little critters spanning the entire globe. While they play an important role in the ecosystem, you also don't want them in your house. If you're dealing with an ant infestation, you want an ant killer that will work.
Many ant killers will take care of the entire nest. That's a vital component, because ants leave scent trails behind. Even if you kill the ones you can see, others from the nest will keep following the trails into your home.
You want to make sure that the baits you use are safe for your household, especially if you have kids and pets. In addition, if you use them in the kitchen or other areas where food is prepared, you should make sure the bait won't mix with your home goods.
We've taken a look at some of the top ant killers on the market. These are our main five picks for people looking for effective solutions to their ant problems.
Top 5: Best Ant Killers
Best Mosquito Killers
If you're looking for an outdoor ant bait, this might be the choice for you. Each pack comes with six bait stations. You can also order a pack with 12 or 36 bait stations instead. That will allow you to deal with huge infestations or to change the baits out easily as the seasons progress.
The pre-filled stations are ready to use right out of the box. You don't need to place the baits or do anything special. Rather than using heavy-duty pesticides, the baits utilize borax, which is a natural ant killing solution. (It should still be kept away from pets and kids, though.)
The baits come with stakes that you can use for outdoor placement. They can be anchored to the ground in your garden or yard without issue. The stakes help to keep the traps anchored even in strong wind conditions.
In addition, you can use the traps in indoor spaces as well. If you want to put them down in your basement or garage, you can lay them flat without using the stakes. That makes them a versatile choice.
The patented station design protects the bait from outdoor weather. Most other bait stations can be diluted by rain and inclement weather, so they aren't good for outdoor use. But these are specifically shielded from moisture and wind.
The baits target outdoor ants before they come into your home. If you know of cracks or other problem areas where ants often enter, you can preemptively place a trap outside. To activate them, you just have to push down and twist.
This three-pack of bait traps comes with a total of twelve bait stations. The metal traps can be used both indoors and outdoors. The manufacturer guarantees that the poison will begin working within 24 hours of consumption, allowing you to eliminate an entire nest in just a few days.
The traps use an effective insecticide called abamectin. In addition, they have four different food attractants. As the tastes of ants change, they may become attracted to different kinds of food. This trap will target them no matter what type of food they want.
When you're ready to use the trap, all you have to do is punch the perforated holes in the metal. That opens the station. Ants will flock to it.
Thanks to the many different types of bait, these traps are effective on 60 percent more species than the majority of other traps. They're a good choice if you're dealing with several different types of stubborn ant. In addition, you can flexibly place them indoors and outdoors.
This natural, non-toxic solution is a great choice for people who need an effective insecticide. Each bottle comes with 16 ounces of the citrus-scented solution. The Entomological Society of America rates this as one of the best natural killers on the market.
Instead of killing the entire nest like most baits, this spray kills ants immediately upon contact. If you're dealing with a highly infested area, you can spray the material over the places the ants travel.
Ants will die within one minute of being exposed. In addition, the spray breaks down the ant trails, which are how ants find their way into the house. This keeps them from being able to get back to their nests and regroup. It also prevents new ants from entering your home.
You can use this spray to deal with ants inside your house, along with a gel bait to seal the cracks where the ants are coming in. It continues being effective for up to four weeks.
In addition to ants, you can use the spray to kill lice and mites. The toxin-free formula is safe to touch with your hands. In addition, it's friendly toward households with children, pets, fish, and birds.
If you're dealing with fire ants specifically, this formula is a good choice. It destroys the entire nest along with the queen.
One single pack can treat 162 mounds of fire ants. You simply place the material over the ant mound and let it work.
This pound of ant dust will kill cockroaches, carpenter ants, fire ants, and spiders.
It's ready to use right out of the package and continues working for a maximum of eight months. The waterproof design doesn't wash away in bad weather.
You can use the shaker can to spread the powder widely or scatter it. If you need to seal a crack or treat a wide area, this powder is your best friend. It's available for both indoor and outdoor use.
The right ant killer for you will depend on your needs. Is your infestation indoors or outdoors? Where do you need to put the substance? Do you have kids or pets you need to worry about? Is the area ventilated?
For those dealing with outdoor issues, we recommend the Terro Outdoor baits. These liquid baits come pre-filled with enough poison to kill an entire nest. The patented design shields the poison from rain and wind, so it won't get diluted in a drizzle. In addition, these baits can be placed both indoors and outdoors thanks to a flexible stake system.
For effective traps that take care of many different ant species, we recommend the Home Plus Ant Killer. These metal traps have four different types of attractant, so they appeal to ants no matter what their tastes are. There are also twelve total bait stations in a single purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several different styles of ant killer. You can choose from different setups, materials, and types of bait.
Bait stations are the most commonly sold ones. They're popular because of their safety. You can usually use bait stations around children and pets because the bait is concealed inside.
Sprays can be used to kill ants in the immediate vicinity of your space. They will kill ants on contact, but they won't kill the entire hive.
Gels function similarly to baits. They have a component that attracts the ants, so they eat the poison and bring it to their hive. That kills the queen and the other ants. But rather than being self-contained, gels are squeezed out in the open in any problem areas you have.
For outdoor use, granular baits are often chosen. These capsules do well in adverse weather, unlike most bait stations.
To keep ants from entering an area, people sometimes sprinkle diatomaceous earth. This is a powdery substance that will keep ants away as long as the conditions are dry.
When you want an organic solution, borax is one of the best choices. You can make your own borax ant killer at home. The substance will act like a traditional bait trap.
Bait stations are some of the most popular choices for ant killers. Because they are self-contained, they're safe to use in areas like the kitchen, where food is prepared. They're also safe to use around children and most pets.
The poison in a bait station is concealed inside a liquid or gel. This substance is sweet enough to attract the ants. They then bring it back to the hive. The queen eats the poison and perishes, as do all of the members of the colony.
This is very effective. You will need to make sure that the ants are actually attracted to the bait. Ants have changes in their taste over time. Some bait traps have two different types of bait to suit any taste. Your trap will only work for as long as there is still bait inside it.
Bait stations are most effective if they're used indoors or in an otherwise covered location. It's possible to put them in the yard. However, exposure to moisture will cause the poison to dilute. In addition, water might wash out some of the poison. That means you should only use them outside if you're working with dry weather conditions.
Ant sprays are a little more satisfying for those who want to see immediate results. When you spray an area that's infested, the ants will die upon contact. In addition, ants that crawl over the sprayed area will also die.
These sprays can be dangerous to use inside your home, particularly in places that you prepare food or wash your hands. They should also never be sprayed anywhere that your pets might have access to. But you can use sprays in small quantities inside, as well as in any outside areas that are problematic.
One potential problem with outdoor sprays is that they wash away with a little water. That means that rainfall and dew can have a big impact. In addition, even when they're used inside, the sprays only tend to work for a few days. Some might last for a few weeks.
By comparison, bait traps tend to last for several months.
If you're dealing with a massive infestation in your home, sprays can help to get rid of the worst of it. But unless you're seeing ants in serious numbers, it's simply better to work with some kind of bait instead.
Gels and bait stations work in similar ways. They conceal poison inside a tasty morsel for the ants. When the ants discover the substance, they ingest it, and then they take more back for their hive. The entire nest consumes the poison and perishes.
Bait stations are self-contained traps. They come with a container that holds the bait inside. Gels, on the other hand, are sold with a nozzle or syringe. Instead of being contained inside a plastic trap, they can be squeezed into different problem areas.
Maybe you have a crack in your baseboard where the ants are entering. Or maybe you're seeing a lot of ants come in through a windowsill or a pipe under your sink. If you've located the entrance, you can squeeze a gel along that space.
The most useful places to put ant gel are:
The gels also work better than bait stations outdoors. Rain can wash them away, but a little moisture won't dilute the poison as much as with a bait station. While the gels will work best in dry weather, you don't need to worry if there's a little mist or fog.
Because the gel is not contained within a trap, it is vital that you keep your pets away. The same goes for any small children.
One of the best ant killers for outdoor use is granular bait. Like gels and bait stations, granular bait will kill the entire hive. Ants will consume it and bring it back to the queen, who will die.
Granular bait is specifically designed for use outdoors. It comes in miniature capsules that are small and hard. These can survive being rained on. Because of their density, they are less likely to wash away than other baits, though they can be displaced by a hard rain.
The best places to scatter these baits are through your lawn and garden bed. This allows them to be more securely rooted to the earth, so they're even less likely to be damaged by rain.
While the baits aren't microscopic, they are little enough to avoid the attention of most children. In addition, you can place them around outside cracks in your home where ants are trying to enter. Just make sure that you don't have any dogs or cats trying to eat them.
One option to repel ants is diatomaceous earth. There are some stipulations that come with this, but the substance is very good if you want to keep ants out entirely.
You must use the substance in dry areas. If you spread it along your baseboards or walls, the ants will not cross the area. The powder is a food-grade repellent that's used by people all over the globe.
When the ants come into contact with the powder, their exoskeleton is cut. They might also have cuts to their skin. This causes them to pass away. Most ants will avoid the powder entirely.
You can put the substance inside a powder sprayer. It can be sprayed into crevices, cracks, and openings in pipes. Make sure you get the food-grade type, as this is nontoxic to pets and humans.
In addition to repelling ants, the powder is capable of repelling household pests like ticks and fleas.
You don't always need to purchase harsh chemicals or complicated poisons to get rid of ants. Borax will do the job efficiently and organically. You can purchase pure borax and create your own homemade ant killing solution.
There are many recipes to make your own borax ant killer online. Several use no more than three ingredients. The majority of homemade borax traps use gel or liquid baits to kill the entire nest.