Best ant killers
Like other insects, ants are most active during the warmer months. They’re attracted to sweet sap found in many gardens, which is why they’re commonly found in plant beds and amid crops. Sometimes, however, they also come inside in search of water or food. With an ant killer, you can help prevent them from entering your home or overrunning the garden. Or you can get rid of them entirely by going after the colony.
What to consider before buying an ant killer
Types of ant killers
Some ant killers are designed for indoor or outdoor use only, while others can work in both places.
Indoor ant killers excel at dealing with smaller problems, such as a few ants in the kitchen or bathroom. They’re usually less potent than outdoor ones, but they’re also often safer for use around people, pets and food. Some use nontoxic ingredients, while others use chemicals.
Outdoor options are a lot more powerful. They also work as a preventative measure and can keep ants and other insects away from your home or yard.
Here are the three main types of ant killers:
- Bait: Bait traps work by luring nearby ants to them. Once the ant reaches the trap, it takes some of the bait back to the nest, where the others also consume it. These traps usually take a few days to work. Most use liquid or gel as bait, but some use granules.
- Powder: These traps work the same way as bait traps, meaning the insects take the powder back to the nest and poison the others. Many use a toxic substance, such as borax, that should be kept away from children, pets and food preparation surfaces.
- Liquid: Liquid traps are designed to target and kill insects quickly. They usually come in a spray bottle and can be applied directly to trails or ants or a nest. Some of these kill the pests right away, while others have a delayed effect. This is the most common type of ant killer for outdoor use.
If you have only a few ants around the house, consider using a bait or powder trap. However, if there are ant mounds in the yard or you regularly see ants inside, use a liquid spray instead.
Natural ant killers
For those who want to avoid toxic substances, use a natural option instead, such as:
- Cayenne pepper
- Bay leaves
- Lemon rinds
Keep in mind that natural solutions usually don’t kill ants. But they can help prevent them, making them best for smaller problems.
If you know where the ants are coming from, place the traps in and around those areas. Otherwise, use an ant killer with a delayed effect to ensure the insects bring it back to their base.
Some of the best places to put ant killers are:
- Cracks in the wall
- Noticeable gaps to the outside
- Kitchen cabinets
- Under sinks
- By drains and vents
Alternatively, you can use a spray on the colony. Depending on the size of the nest, you might need to reapply the spray after a few days to make sure you get all of them.
When applying a chemical-based ant killer, be considerate of any pets or children in the area. Try to place traps in areas where kids or household animals don’t have easy access to them.
Ant killers use many of the same active ingredients as other insecticides, including:
- Boric acid or borax
The higher the ratio or percentage of these chemicals, the more potent the ant killer.
How long an ant killer lasts depends on the type, size and ingredients used. Some, such as Raid Ant Killer Spray, last up to four weeks after use. Most bait and powder traps need to be replaced once the bait is gone. For minor infestations, these traps should last anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
8 best ant killers
This liquid ant killer can attract nearby ants and kill them over a few days. Forager ants find the bait and bring it back to the colony where it can poison them. It comes with 12 bait stations for convenient placement around the house. It also works well on sugar ants. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
This long-lasting powder ant killer goes on and around small gaps, cracks and holes. It works inside and outside and doesn’t easily wash away when wet. It can kill carpenter ants and fire ants on contact, as well as other insects. It comes in a one-pound container. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
This insecticide can handle termites and ants. Its main active ingredient is Fipronil, which works quickly on contact. It also has foaming action and is ideal for targeted treatments in or around colonies. Sold by Amazon
This powerful spray kills ants, roaches and other insects through direct contact. It works quickly and has a residual action timeframe of up to four weeks. It has a mild lemon scent that doesn’t linger. Sold by Home Depot
Made for indoor and outdoor use, this ant killer has food and water bait inside. Each station lasts up to three months and can kill individual ants and entire colonies within 24 hours. The bait is replaceable. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
This indoor pest spray repels and kills ants. It comes in four scents, including lemongrass and peppermint, and is eco-friendly. It’s available in 32- and 128-fluid-ounce bottles, so there’s an option for small and larger infestations. Plus, it’s a safer choice for people and pets than most toxic ant killers. Sold by Amazon
This spray comes with a comfort wand that can easily apply a layer of protection outside your home to keep pests out. It works best on ants, fleas, ticks and spiders. It comes in three sizing options and is potent. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
Available in a two-pack, this ant and roach killer uses powdered boric acid to resolve pest problems. It kills over time, making it a great option for indirectly targeting colonies. It’s odorless. Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.