There are millions of ants in the world, and they get everywhere. While I’ve focused in-depth on ants and organic ways to eliminate them in the past, one thing I haven’t done is to focus in on some of the many great commercial options to kill these pesky little pests.
Every supermarket, hardware store, big-box store, even the convenience store carries at least one form of ant killer. But what’s the most useful for you? What works the best for the widest spectrum of ants? Let’s examine some of the ant poison options on the market right now and determine what the top ant killers currently are.
- Best Liquid Ant Bait: Terro T300 Liquid Ant Baits
- Best Ant Killing Spray: Raid Ant & Roach Killer
- Best Ant Killing Gel: Combat Max Ant Killing Gel
- Best Granular Ant Bait: Advance Granular Ant Bait
- Best Natural Option #1: Diatomaceous Earth
- Best Natural Option #2: Borax
Other Good Options:
Types of Ant Killers
Just like there’s tons of varieties of ants (and a few of the most common ones got highlighted in my last piece about ants), there are tons of ant killers. Baits, gels, sprays, pellets… they all are effective against at least some ants. But what are the different types of ant killer, and how exactly do they work?
Indoors, or around small children, bait stations are one of the safest ant killer options available. Often filled with a sweet liquid or gelatinous poison, these self-contained stations can be placed in various locations throughout the house and yard. When ants find the bait station, they will enter, eat some of the bait, and carry more back to the nest to feed the colony. The poison is generally quite effective, but it only works as long as there’s still bait inside for the ants to take home.
These are usually best used indoors or in garages or covered locations like patios. While they can survive in the yard, moisture inside of them will dilute the poison over time and make it less effective, so it’s best to only use these outdoors in dry months of the year. Also, they aren’t as satisfying as watching a vast line of ants die all at once, which leads us on to our next ant killer option.
Everyone knows the satisfaction of spraying a marching column of ants that’s headed into your house or garden! Most commercial ant sprays are short-lived compared to bait stations, and will last days to a couple weeks at the longest. However, they do kill on contact, which is useful when you find a huge quantity of ants invading your kitchen or traveling across your yard.
These sprays are easily washed away with water, so they aren’t as effective outdoors, especially during the rainy parts of the year. They also cause toxic fumes when sprayed, so you want to avoid breathing in the poison as you’re working, and keep pets and kids away from the area while it does its work. The chemicals used in these sprays tend to degrade rapidly when exposed to sunlight or when dried out, so they’re best when freshly-applied. However, to eradicate large masses of ants, they can’t be beat.
Much like the liquid ant bait mentioned earlier, ant gels provide a snack for these pests that will poison them once consumed, and they’re easily taken back to the house. However, unlike the liquid bait stations, ant gel is usually sold with some form of syringe or nozzle and is meant to be squeezed into areas of the home or garden where ants enter. This means that it’s useful in cracks in the pavement or walls, along areas where ants regularly travel, or in areas where the fumes from ant spray might build up like attics or garages.
Ant gels can be washed away, so need to be replenished after heavy rain, but are otherwise a great outdoor option. However, like other ant poisons, keep these away from your children and pets. Also, since the gels are sticky, they can often go in locations other baits can’t, like ceilings or along walls.
Granular Ant Bait
Granular baits work much like the ant gels or the bait stations, except that it’s a hard, extruded poisonous micro-capsule. These hold up better in the elements, making them an excellent option for outdoor usage. They can be washed away, but are a bit more dense and less likely to, especially when scattered through the grass or garden beds. Small enough that kids don’t normally pay much attention to them, these are quite useful for eliminating outdoor ant nests. They can also be placed around exterior cracks in the house where ants might try to gain access.
While this option only works in dry conditions (along the baseboard of walls indoors, or around the exterior of the house during dry months of the year), spreading a line of the fine powder known as diatomaceous earth can prevent ants from crossing that area. Made from the finely-ground shells of diatoms, this food-grade powder is used widely as a repellent measure. It works by either cutting the exoskeleton of the ants, or causing cuts in their skin and dehydrating them, causing them to perish.
Diatomaceous earth can be placed into a powder sprayer and spread into cracks and crevices in walls, along baseboards, even in cracks in hardwood flooring. It is nontoxic to humans and pets as long as you’re using the food-grade quality, rendering it a safe option for use within homes. It also can repel fleas, ticks, and a number of other pests which might otherwise move into your house.
As mentioned in my other article on ants and controlling them, borax is a very popular and effective organic solution. There’s a number of recipes out there for homemade Borax-based ant killers, many of which are described in my other piece. Most of these work as liquid or gel-like baits, and kill after being carried back to the nest and consumed by the whole swarm.
The Best Ant Killers By Type
By now, you should probably have a good idea as to what kind of ant killer you’re looking for. So let’s discuss some of the most efficient ones on the market, and go over the pros and cons of each!
Best Liquid Ant Bait
Terro T300 Liquid Ant Baits
|Type Of Ant Killer||Liquid ant bait station|
|Active Ingredient||Sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax)|
The Terro T300 Liquid Ant Bait Stations offer an easy and child-safe solution for ants in hard-to-reach places inside the house. Just open up and place the bait station in a location near the ant trail and walk away. The ants will do the rest! The liquid inside is a borax-based sweet ant bait that will draw more ants initially, but once they’ve all fed and carried the bait back to the nest, they’ll be gone for good.
Best Ant Killing Spray
Raid Ant & Roach Killer Insecticide Spray
|Type Of Ant Killer||Spray|
|Active Ingredient||Imiprothrin, Cypermethrin|
We’ve all seen the commercials for Raid products over the years, but I have to say, they’re not joking. This dual-action ant and roach killer is extremely effective. While I prefer the fragrance-free variety, there’s other scents, including a reasonably nice lemon scent. However, it’s always going to smell like insect spray, and it’s best if you avoid breathing it in. If you need to eliminate a mass of ants right away, this is the stuff you’ll want to use.
Best Ant Killing Gel
Combat Max Ant Killing Gel
|Type Of Ant Killer||Gel|
I really went back and forth on this one. While there is one gel that’s slightly more popular out there, the truth is that the Combat Max gel is a lot lower in price, with a lot more quantity of gel in the package, and almost identical effectiveness. Given that a smaller amount won’t provide as much protection against ants as a larger quantity, I think the value of this particular gel is better than the competition (although the competition is a great secondary choice if this one’s not available). Clear in color, with an applicator nozzle, Combat Max does its job and eradicates ants quite well.
Best Granular Ant Bait
Advance Granular Ant Bait
|Type Of Ant Killer||Granular bait|
Advance makes two granular ant baits, one meant as an overall bait and the other specifically intended for carpenter ants. Interestingly enough, both have the same active ingredient in the same strength, and both work with equal effectiveness to demolish ants. Either way you go, this granular bait is an excellent option for eliminating ants both locally and back at the ant colony after they’ve taken the bait home.
Best Natural Methods
|Type Of Ant Killer||Powdered|
|Active Ingredient||Diatomaceous earth|
I mentioned diatomaceous earth above, but really, it’s fantastic stuff. It’s best to wear a mask while applying it, as the fine powder can irritate your nostrils, but any food-grade diatomaceous earth will work as a boundary that will effectively keep ants out. Even better, it works for multiple purposes in the garden, and can be used to assist in pest control against other insect predators such as squash bugs or aphids.
|Type Of Ant Killer||Powdered (mix with other ingredients to make bait)|
|Active Ingredient||Sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax)|
While I’ve included one product (the liquid ant bait stations) which uses the active ingredient of Borax, I’ve also written up a large number of other hints and tips for using Borax for ant control in the past. This stuff works, it’s highly effective, and in terms of quantity for the price, you get a ton of it. It takes a bit longer to function than the commercial baits/sprays, but pound for pound, Borax is the cheapest, most reliable, and safe option available to most home gardeners. It has the added bonus of repelling roaches, too!
Other Good Choices
DuPont Advion Ant Control Bait Gel
|Type Of Ant Killer||Gel|
In the review of the Combat Max gel above, I mentioned another slightly more popular gel option. This is that gel. It costs a bit more, you get a little less, but if you can’t find Combat Max, this stuff is just as effective. All things considered, the choice was really down to price and value. I can’t fault either product, but you get more for your money with the Combat Max.
Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Control Granules
|Type Of Ant Killer||Granular|
With these granules, you apply a one-foot wide ring of them around your house, and by doing that, Amdro promises that you won’t have ants in your house. Better yet, they offer a money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you! But where Amdro loses me is that it cannot be used in or around vegetable gardens, and I occasionally have issues with ants in my raised beds. For an effective granular solution that can be used to keep ants out of the home, this is a good choice, but in the garden, not so much.
All in all, these ant killers are all highly effective to wipe out these little irritating pests. No matter whether it’s gel or granules, liquid or powder or mist, any of the above will work to get rid of ants in your garden. What tricks do you have for ant control? Let me know!
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article: