The internet is full of useless amateur advice like using duct tape or flour. Trying all that against ants is in vain, you will not get rid of these creatures so easily. We will destroy all the myths and silly recommendations, and we will tell you in detail how to get rid of ants by referring to reliable sources and entomologists. Here, we’ve listed 20 effective products, including baits (stations), non-toxic and natural insecticides, powerful professional insecticides, and essential oils for those who value all things natural.
- What is the key method of killing ants?
- Poison bait action
- Top-20 best ant killers
Scientific methods of getting rid of ants
The worst mistake you can make when getting rid of ants is just removing insects that can be seen on the surface, ie. Foragers. Most of the colony hides underground or inside their nest along with the queen. Killing her is the key to destroying the entire colony.
Various websites and blogs recommend sprinkling the places where ants enter your home with flour or talc and using duct tape, salt and pepper, and other household treatments against them. Some methods can repel insects from your picnic spot for a while, but other than that, they are useless. Their advanced social structure will help them find their way back quickly and collectively.
Bait is the key method of killing ants
Baits contain insecticides, are available in liquid, solid, or drop form, and take some time to work (up to several weeks). How do they work? Forages carry other insects to these baits, and the latter will bring poisoned food to the colony. Eventually, the bait will reach the queen. Experts from the University of California consider that the bait is more effective than sprays, since the former contains hydramethylnon, fipronil, boric acid or avermectin. It is best to apply it in early spring and change the type of bait throughout the year, as insects change their preferences each season.
N.B! Place the baits next to where the ants are seen, preferably next to the ant “trails” (invisible smell trails that workers follow between food and nest). Do not spray other insecticides or cleaning products around the bait stations as this will discourage the ants from feeding on the bait. Initially, you should see an increase in the number of ants around the bait station – NO SPRAY. This indicates that the ants feed on the bait and carry the insecticide to the nest. An activity will often disappear in a matter of days as the number of ants in the colony decreases. Please continue to place additional baits wherever the ants are seen , ” as recommended by the University of Kentucky.
There are no special ant traps as it is useless to catch people. You need to resiliently destroy the entire colony that inhabits the mound. As a general rule, an ant trap means bait stations that resemble traps. They are meant to attract insects, feeding them poison and releasing them so they can share the pollutant with others on their mound.
The taste of ants is a separate issue. They happen to be foodies, and many people don’t understand why some baits work perfectly well, while in other cases, insects ignore the baits completely. “Ants are quite accommodating in their food preferences and can alter them throughout the year,” – as the entomologists at the University of Kentucky state. “If one bait product isn’t attractive or doesn’t seem to be working, try another. Optimal results generally require a sustained feeding period, not just a brief visit by a few ants. “
Poison bait action: 6 fast and slow acting baits
Scientists unanimously name the use of poisonous bait as a key method of killing ants when foragers carry them to the nest contaminating the entire colony and, crucially, the queen. According to information from the University of Arkansas, there are slow and fast types of bait. Slow-acting ones are most effective since the entire colony is poisoned within 1-5 weeks. Fast acting baits provide control in 3 to 7 days. The IGRs that prevent queens from producing new workers are the slowest, as the treatment lasts from 1 to 4 months. We have compiled a range of products for you below.
Natural and Organic Products
Experts at the University of California endorse such natural products as certain vegetable oils (eg, peppermint, rosemary, cloves, orange, and thyme). These types of products typically provide excellent contact activity but have limited residual activity. Clemson University Cooperative Extension specialists add Diatomaceous Earth, limonene (extracted from oranges and other citrus peels), eugenol (from clove oil), and spinosad for fire ants to this list. Indian scientists also mention oregano oil, while Malaysian experts have found that cinnamon oil can repel and kill ants in certain concentrations.
Aside from cinnamon oil, some of the listed oils also have a repellent effect. The main disadvantage of all natural products is that they act on contact, while our main objective is to kill the queen. Boric acid, a stomach poison that causes insects to starve, is the only exception. If an ant brings such bait or powder on its legs on the mound, it will surely poison everyone else.
Scientists do not mention any particular repellent, but claim that the oils mentioned above have some repellent effect. They recommend spraying insect repellants on boots and clothing for protection against fire ants.
To repel Argentine ants, Drs. H. Shorey and P. Phillips recommend the use of a natural repellent, called Farnesol. Cotton yarn dipped in Farnesol and wrapped around the trunk of a trimmed skirt tree, repels pests for up to three months. The Farnesol price is quite high, however it costs $ 24.00 for 10 ml.
The use of insecticides is the best strategy in large outdoor areas. University of Kentucky specialists advise:“When an underground nest is discovered, the colony can often be removed by spraying or drenching the nest location with a liquid insecticide such as carbaryl (Sevin) or a pyrethroid insecticide such as Spectracide Triazicide®, Ortho Home Defense System®, or Bayer Advanced® Lawn and Garden Multi Insect Killer. Large colonies will require larger amounts of fluid to move the insecticide through the network of underground galleries within the nest (using a bucket to apply the diluted insecticide concentrate is an effective method). Another effective and convenient way to control some outdoor and indoor nesting ant species is with a granular bait product, such as Combat® Ant Killing Granules. Sprinkle the bait in small amounts next to outdoor mounds,.
Advantages and disadvantages of different types of ant killers
|Type||Ingredients and how they work||Advantage||Disadvantage|
|Baits and Bait Stations||Intoxication of the entire colony.||The killing effect is not limited to the workers, the entire colony, including the queen, is dead.||Ants are foodies and change their preferences frequently, so you will probably have to change bait types frequently.|
|Slow activity||Hydramethylnon, Boric Acid, Fipronil, Spinosad.||The workers bring poisoned bait to their queen.||It takes 1-5 weeks to work.|
|Fast-moving||Indoxacarb.||Results are seen in 3-7 days.||The poison cannot kill the queen.|
|Diatomaceous earth||Causes lethal dehydration when under the shell.||Organic||Act only in contact, it will not necessarily kill the queen, but anything that comes in contact with her.|
|Boric acid (powder)||A stomach poison and makes insects starve.||Organic||The workers will bring the dust to the mound, but it is not guaranteed to reach the queen.|
|Natural oils and sprays||Cloves, spearmint, geranium, cinnamon leaf oils – contact action.||Organic, some have a repellent effect.||Act only by contact, you will not kill the queen.|
|Liquid insecticides||Bifenthrin. Gamma-cyhalothrin, Deltamethrin Kill on contact||They are powerful, can cover large areas and create a protective barrier around the house and attack many pest insects.||Toxic|
|Insect Growth Regulator IGR||Pyriproxyfen (Nylar) – mound poured insect sterilizer||It will sterilize the queen and cause the colony to go extinct.||Too slow, the action time can reach up to 4 months.|
If fire ants bother you, read our review of 17 products to get rid of this species as the products and active ingredients differ.
Top-20 best indoor and outdoor ant control products
We have selected 20 different products that are effective against ants. We have classified them into five categories:
- Isolations (stations) and Gel
- Non-toxic natural insecticides
- Strong liquids (pyrethroids)
- Professional insecticides
- Essential oils for those who value 100% organic products
Ant Baits and Gel Stations
We have chosen six different treatments for home and outdoor use. Keep in mind that there is no universal bait for all types of ants because, as you remember, their tastes are different and that is why the product might not be effective immediately.
There are fast and slow acting baits. The fast-acting active substance is indoxacarb; The slow-acting ones are: hydramethylnon, spinosad, fipronil and boric acid. The former type acts within 3-7 days, and the latter acts in 1-5 weeks. Slow-acting baits are considered more effective, as they can even remove unseen satellites. As most homeowners would like to see the bait working as soon as possible, fast-acting baits are still the most popular ant killers.
Best indoor ant killers
We have found four ant killers to use indoors – one is a fast acting bait, and the last three are slower acting, but the entire colony is guaranteed to kill along with the queen.
Advion Ant Gel Insecticide with Plunger
This is a bestselling bug and has over 1600 customer reviews on Amazon.com. Its active ingredient, indoxacarb, is fast-acting and effective in a few days. This tube of gel is just over one ounce (30 ml), costs ~ $ 26.08, and can serve you for up to two years (this is the manufacturer’s stated expiration date). It is aimed at getting rid of most species of ants indoors which is attested by high user ratings of (80% is the highest rating). For the bait to work, squeeze a small amount of it into a crevice near the nest or any other place out of the reach of pets and children.
Price: ~ $ 26.08 See current price
Combat Max, Ant Killing Gel
Advion Gel’s closest rival costs only ~ $ 6.98 for 27 grams and has a different active ingredient: fipronil. To use, squeeze this gel from the syringe anywhere accessible by ants. Act within an hour and you will see preliminary results within 3-5 days. The manufacturer notes that this product containing fipronil is safe for children.
Price: ~ $ 6.98 Check the current price
Combat Source Kill Max A1 Ant Bait, 6 Count
A pack of 6 bait stations costs ~ $ 8.80 . The baits work according to the domino principle described above. Venom does not kill an insect instantly, as it is a relatively slow-acting poison and allows it to interact with and contaminate other ants. The bait is also useful against cockroaches. The solid substance inside the station must not be disposed of, as it is toxic to the skin and mucous membranes. Keep it out of the reach of children. Simultaneously, the bait does not emit toxic fumes and is harmless if used correctly.
Price: ~ $ 8.80 Check current price
AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stations
So far this brand is not very popular, but it does offer a slow acting stomach poison, hydramethylnon that disrupts the ant’s ability to convert food into energy. It will take 1-2 weeks to kill the entire colony along with the queen. The ~ $ 5.33 package includes 4 bait stations for indoor use. This treatment is active for three months, after which the stations require replacement. The welcome benefit is that the manufacturer promises a refund if the product proves useless.
Price: ~ $ 5.33 Check the current price
The best outdoor ant baits
You can use as many slow and fast-acting baits to kill ants outside. Choose the most appropriate one, but keep in mind that if you use fast acting ones, you may have to repeat the use of bait as the poison might not be able to kill the queen.
Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits – Slow-Acting
A pack of 6 stations, each containing one ounce of bait, costs ~ $ 10.55. The stations are installed either on the ground or on the surface (they can also be placed in your garage). The action is similar to that of most types of bait: a worker is contaminated with a poison that is transmitted to other individuals including the queen. The product has a lot of positive feedback.
The second form of treatment available is stakes. Two packages contain 16 small bets and cost $ 13.49.
Terro bait stations price: ~ $ 10.55 Check the current price
Terro bait stakes price: ~ $ 13.49 (2-pack) Check the current price
Combat Ant Killing Bait Strips – Relatively Slow-acting Poison
60 bait strips cost ~ $ 13.98. They are placed in places that are difficult to access and also act according to the domino principle. They are invisible and thanks to being numerous, they can poison a large territory. Although buyers leave decent reviews on Amazon.com, the product is not very popular yet.
Price: ~ $ 13.98 Check the current price
Non-Toxic Organic and Natural Insecticides
Scientists call boric acid, limonene, eugenol, diatomaceous earth, and certain vegetable oils (eg, peppermint, rosemary, clove, oregano, orange, and thyme) among effective organic treatments.
Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth, Crawling Insect Killer
Diatomaceous earth is a classic and most popular organic treatment against insects and arachnids that kills on contact. The fossil remains of diatom algae are crushed to a state where they become sharp and harmful to insects. The sharp edges of this so-called mountain meal cut through an insect’s chitinous cover and cause fatal damage to its innards. Diatomaceous earth is safe for humans and animals, as it cannot penetrate your elastic skin. It is sold in 4-pound packages and costs ~ $ 9.47. Sprinkle the places of congestion and possible ant migration in the house with it.
Price: ~ $ 9.47 Check the current price
PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid
A 16-ounce tube of boric acid costs ~ $ 6.99. This is a traditional means of controlling insects. Boric acid is a stomach poison that causes insects to starve. Boric acid spills into cracks, areas behind baseboards, and other hard-to-reach places where insects live. The workers will bring the acid to the mound on their bodies, but it is highly unlikely that the poison will reach the queen and kill her as well. Despite this, this traditional product still has a high rating from Amazon.com.
Price: ~ $ 6.99 Check current price
Blubonic Industries 100% Orange Oil d-Limonene
The bottle contains 32 oz of d-Limonene. It is hydrocarbon that essential oils of citrus contain and that gives them the typical smell. It is used in perfumery, alternative medicine and when getting rid of any insects. The product costs ~ $ 37.10. Dissolve the product in water (and shake the mixture off every now and then) and you will successfully combine house cleaning and pest killing: “I noticed a Dan Ryan-sized traffic pattern of ants marching down my frame window and on my kitchen counter. Instead of getting the bug killer out, I sprayed the window frame and counter with my house made cleaner. Guess what? Dead ants, and they didn’t come back. Cool! “
Remember that d-Limonene is not found separately in nature and emits a very strong orange smell. That is why if you don’t like to get into dissolution, use diluted d-lemonene in Orange Guard 103 Protection. It contains only 5% d-Limonene and is specifically aimed at eliminating household insects that are afraid of citrus odor.
D-limonene was recognized as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration and is widely used in the food industry. That is why products that contain limonene are labeled safe for use in areas near food.
Price: Blubonic 100% Orange Oil d-Limonene ~ $ 37.10 Check the correct price
Price: Orange Guard Spray ~ $ 17.47 Check the correct price
Eco Defense Organic Home Pest Control Spray
This $ 18.97 product label reads eco. Contains active ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, geranium oil, and peppermint oil. Although the University of California approves the use of peppermint oil, the effectiveness of the overall blend has yet to be proven and can only be estimated from Amazon.com user reviews. Some users note that this spray can only kill the ants it comes in contact with, while others claim that pure peppermint oil is much more effective in terms of repelling, and not killing. Read more than 600 customer reviews on to make your own decision.
Price: ~ $ 18.97 Check the current price
Ecosmart 33119 Organic Home Pest Control
This is another organic product made from carnation and peppermint oils. A 24-ounce spray bottle costs ~ $ 13.73 and promises to kill on contact and repel more than 100 species of insects, including ants. The manufacturer specifies that the product is safe for children and pets and does not contaminate household surfaces. Many users claim that the product can actually kill insects on contact, although this does not happen instantly, but within a few minutes after contact. It is recommended to use a protective mask when spraying the house as the smell of this organic spray is very peculiar.
Price: ~ $ 13.73 Check the current price
Powerful Liquid Insecticides
Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter RTU Wand
This is a powerful pesticide with bifenthrin as an active ingredient. It retails for ~ $ 14.05 and is supplied in a 1.1 gallon container. It is sprayed on a dry surface and wet cleaning is not allowed in one day. Kill bugs and create long-term protection (up to a year indoors and up to 3 months outdoors). A spray is supplied with the canister. Judging by the reviews, you can reduce the ant population in a day, but be ready for repeated use of Ortho.
Price: ~ $ 14.05 Check the current price
Spectracide HG-95830 Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes Concentrate
This ready-to-use spray with gamma-cyhalothrin as the active ingredient costs ~ $ 17.56, but a concentrate is also available. It acts on many species of insects and their larvae, as well as on arachnids and ticks. It also kills ants, but judging from the Amazon.com information, it is ineffective against red fire ants. This product covers up to 5,120 square feet of lawns. No residual effect has been found as the insecticide will only kill insects on contact. The product is for outdoor use only.
Price: Spectracide ready-to-use spray: ~ $ 17.56 Check the current price
Price: Spectracide concentrate: ~ $ 5.50 Check the current price
Professional Products Sold Online
This spray contains a powerful pyrethroid bifenthrin. It sells as a concentrate for ~ $ 41.87. Mix with water before use. The product will work for a maximum of three months as long as it is used properly on dry surfaces, both indoors and outdoors. Users also recommend spraying a building’s foundation outside along the perimeter to create a kill barrier for any insects trying to penetrate your house.
Caution! Do not use this insecticide near bodies of water as it is toxic to aquatic plants and animals. When spraying, wear protective gloves and avoid contact with skin and mucous membranes. Once treated surfaces are dry, they are safe for children and pets.
Price: ~ $ 41.87 Check the current price
Suspend Sc Insecticide
A pint of the product containing 4.75% deltamethrin costs ~ $ 41.10. The insecticide must be dissolved in loads of water (up to 64 gallons), so it will spray a large area with it. It can be used both inside and outside (by the way, even professional exterminators use Suspender Sc). Pay special attention to baseboard spraying if your home is infested with ants. The product is odorless and highly rated by Amazon.com customers. Read over 700 customer reviews to make sure it’s true.
Price: ~ $ 41.10 Check the current price
100% Essential Oils
Many love the idea of everything being natural. The main disadvantage of oils is their contact properties. Since killing the queen is crucial to getting rid of the entire colony, natural treatments are unfortunately powerless here. That is why it is best to resort to using baits if a large colony has infested your home. For those who still want to try and use natural remedies, here are some oils: oil of oregano and two oils of eugenol. Eugenol is made from various plant oils: clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil, and bay leaf. Choose the scent that you like the most: oregano, cinnamon or cloves.
Price: Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil: ~ $ 18.95 Check the current price
Price: Clove Essential Oil: ~ $ 10.36 Check the current price
Price: Oregano Essential Oil: ~ $ 8.99 Check the current price
Caution! Concentrated essential oils are dangerous for pets, especially cats, pregnant women, and young children.
IGRs – Queen Sterilizers
IGRs are the slowest acting treatments in our review. All IGRs prevent queens from producing new workers. These baits take 1 to 4 months to control. Although IGRs may take longer to achieve results, monitoring can take up to a year, especially if the treated areas are larger than one acre. Here is a pyriproxyphene based product available online.
IG Regulator, 4 oz by Martin’s
Pyriproxyfen is the active ingredient in this concentrate. A ~ $ 23.20 Contents of 4-ounce bottle must be dissolved in water, according to manual. It can then be sprayed both indoors and outdoors. The amount of IGR is sufficient to treat 6,000 square feet.
This product promises to ensure effective long-term control of fleas, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, gnats, crickets, beetles and ants. The IGR effect must reach not only the workers, but also the queen, since she is responsible for producing offspring. That is why it is important to be more thorough and consistent in treating the mound, as well as its lot and house (if you discover the nest at home). Since this is a slow-acting product, be ready to wait several months. In the long run, you will be able to finally get rid of several pest insects at once, which is a bonus.
Price: ~ $ 23.20 Check current price
Comparison chart of 20 ant killers
|Advion Gel||Fast-moving||Indoxacarb||Place this bait on trails, in corners, cracks in the ground, under kitchen appliances, furniture, and near the entrance to the nest.||~ $ 26.08|
|Combat Max, Gel||Relatively slow acting||Fipronil||Place this bait on trails, in corners, cracks in the ground, under kitchen appliances, furniture, and near the entrance to the nest.||~ $ 6.98|
|Combat Source Kill Max A1 Bait, 6 Count||Relatively slow acting||Fipronil||Place several bait stations near places where there are lots of insects, or your trails.||~ $ 8.80|
|AMDRO Bait Stations||Slow acting||Hydramethylnon||Place it in closets, in areas behind furniture and appliances. For inside use only.||~ $ 5.33|
|Terro Outdoor Liquid Baits||Slow acting||Borax||Place several bait stations near places where there are lots of insects, or your trails.||~ $ 10.55|
|Terro Outdoor Liquid Bait Stakes (2 Pack)||Slow acting||Borax||Stick the stakes in the ground near your home and near the insect activity area.||~ $ 13.49|
|Combat Bait Strips||Relatively slow acting||Fipronil||Place several strips in hard to reach places where there are a lot of insects.||~ $ 13.98|
|Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth||Fast acting||Diatomaceous Earth||Pour it along the bug trails.||~ $ 9.47|
|PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid||Slow acting||Boric acid||Pour it along bug trails, in corners, floor crevices, under kitchen appliances, furniture, etc.||~ $ 6.99|
|Blubonic Industries 100% Orange Oil d-Limonene||Fast acting||D-limonen||Dissolve in water and spray along insect stubble, in corners, cracks in the floor, under kitchen appliances, furniture, etc.||~ $ 37.10|
|Eco Defense Organic Home Pest Control Spray||Contact Activity||Sodium lauryl sulfate, geranium oil, peppermint oil||Spray along insect paths, in corners, floor crevices, under kitchen appliances, furniture etc.||~ $ 18.97|
|Ecosmart 33119 Organic Home Pest Control||Contact activity||Clove oil, peppermint oil||Spray along bug trails, in corners, floor crevices, under kitchen appliances, furniture, etc.||~ $ 13.73|
|Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter RTU Wand||Fast acting||Bifenthrin||Spray indoors where there are many insects. Outdoors: Spray on the ground, along bug trails, and pour down a mound.||~ $ 14.05|
|Spectracide HG-95830 Triazicide Insect Killer||Fast acting||Gamma-cyhalothrin||Spray on the ground and pour a mound. For outdoor use only.||~ $ 17.56|
|Talstar||Fast acting||Bifenthrin||Dissolve in water and sprinkle on the ground and pour a mound.||$ 41.87|
|Suspend Sc Insecticide||Fast acting||Deltamethrin||Dissolve in water and sprinkle on the ground and pour a mound. Or spray it indoors in places where there are a lot of insects.||~ $ 41.10|
|Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil||Contact activity||Cinnamon, leaf oil||Dissolve in water and draw a line along the perimeter of the house or yard.||~ $ 18.95|
|Clove Essential Oil||Contact activity||Clove Essential Oil||Dissolve in water and draw a line along the perimeter of the house or yard.||~ $ 10.36|
|Oregano Essential Oil||Contact activity||Oregano Essential Oil||Dissolve in water and draw a line along the perimeter of the house or yard.||~ $ 8.99|
|IG Regulator, Martin’s||Slow activity||Pyriproxyfen (Nylar)||Spray on the ground or pour a mound.||~ $ 23.20|
How to use baits correctly?
As mentioned above, scientists consider slow-acting baits to be more effective than fast-acting ones. However, regardless of the type of bait, it is crucial to use it at the right time and in the right place. For best results, scientists recommend following these rules:
- Use the bait immediately after opening the container or containerbecause its effectiveness decreases as it dries. If you don’t need to use it all at once, store the remaining substance in a zippered bag, but don’t keep it for more than 3-6 months.
- Do not disturb the ants before placing the bait around the mound. It can hurt you as disturbed insects can fly chaotically and sting you as you try to protect your home.
- If the insects begin to actively move after the bait has been left, do not disturb and do not kill them, let the poison quietly spread in the nest.
- Do not cast the bait on wet soil or grass, wait for it to dry. Keeping track of the weather forecast is reasonable as well – make sure no rain is anticipated for 12 to 24 hours after using the poison.
- Use the bait when foragers are looking for food. Remember that they are less active when it is too hot or too cold. In the evening and at night, when the temperature is within the range of 70-95 ° F, it is perfect to use the poison. If the timing is not appropriate, perform the following experiment. Place some edible bait (like potato chips) near a busy mound. If the fodder has appeared within 10-30 minutes, it is time to replace the chips with some poison.