The 10 Best Ant Killers of 2019

Ant Killers: The Best Of 2019

Ants are intelligent, organized, and multitudinous. It's no wonder that it's so easy to suddenly find yourself with an ant infestation.

The minute you see a trail of a few ants making their way up a wall or across your counter, you can be assured that there are plenty more lurking inside a cabinet or behind your walls. It's time to get help. And we don't mean professional help in the form of a pest control service. Ants are actually easy enough to control with the right products.

We've rounded up some of the best ant-killing solutions on the market to combat everything from fire ants in your driveway, to carpenter ants in your crawlspace, to sugar ants in your -you guessed it- sugar bowl. Read on for our picks, and watch your ant problem disappear.

When it comes to infestations of larger ants, there’s not much you can do to keep them away from your home. Well, unless you have Advanced Granular Carpenter Ant Bait, that is. This stuff is incredibly appealing to ants of larger sizes, mainly carpenter ants. They are drawn to the bait, pick it up and take it back to their colonies.

Unlike liquid or gel bait, this granular bait is way less messy. Since you simply sprinkle it around whatever area you want, you don’t have to deal with unsealing packages or icky traps. This type of bait is also ideal for larger ants, unlike other ant bait. The bait is comprised of an advanced granular blend that can be appealing to all kinds of ants, big or small.

There are two types of granular pieces in the bait. One of these attracts mainly carpenter, acrobat, and big-headed ants. The other granules attract argentine, crazy, little black, and thief ants, and many more. In other words, if you have regular little ants or scary big ones, this stuff will get rid of them, fast.

The bait works best when prepared in small piles where most of the ants tend to congregate. Since carpenter ants tend to be most active after the sun goes down, try applying the stuff about half an hour before sunset. Hopefully, those pesky little suckers won’t live long enough to see daylight.

Key Features
  • Granular bait
  • Attracts larger ants
  • Designed to work on carpenter ants
  • Product Form: Dry granules
  • Package Size: 11.2 ounces
  • Effectiveness Time: Until granules get carried away
  • Brand: BASF
  • Works on bigger, hard-to-control ants like carpenter ants
  • Since it's solid, it isn't gooey or messy.
  • Red carpenter ants don't always take the bait
  • Not always as effective as gel bait

If you’ve ever been bitten by a red ant, you know you don’t want them around your house. That’s why this Ortho Orthene Fire Ant Killer is your best friend when dealing with an infestation. The treatment can be applied directly to the ant mound, killing the queen and ant colony in mere hours of use.

Simply sprinkle a tablespoon of the solution over an ant mound and wait. You don’t have to use any kind of water or wet solution thanks to the fact that it’s comprised of 50 percent acephate. After only a couple of hours, the poison will have begun to kill the ants. For every pound of the powder you have, you can treat up to 80 mounds! This stuff’s got to be pretty powerful then, right? It’s so powerful that it manages to kill the queen ant on site, and literally destroys the mound thereafter.

When using this ant killer, be cautious with how you apply it. While you are applying the solution directly on the ant mound, it’s important you don’t disturb the little critters. That could result in disaster. But you shouldn’t have to do much meddling in the yard since this is safe to use around plants and other flowers that may be nearby.

It’s also important that the mounds you’re treating actually contain active ants. If it’s somewhere around 65 to 90º F, they’re likely to be in the mound and in an active state.

Key Features
  • Targets the queen
  • Treats up to 162 mounds
  • Treatment goes directly on mound
  • Product Form: Powder
  • Package Size: 12 oz.
  • Effectiveness Time: Hours
  • Brand: Ortho
  • No watering required
  • It's effective after just hours of application
  • Can treat up to 80 mounds per pound of bait
  • Has a foul scent
  • Might require multiple treatments to kill a colony

The key to getting rid of ants is a little bit of sneakiness. And with Terro Liquid Ant Baits, this act of manipulation is just short of brilliant. The bait lures ants in from all over (even the ones you can’t see), offers them “food” which they bring back to their colony. Of course, the bait isn’t food at all, and the ants will all die before they have a chance to return for more.

These ant baits consist mainly of Borax, a slow-killing chemical. While Borax is effective in killing these pests, it doesn’t do it immediately after consumption. This gives the ants time to take the food back to their colony and share it. But the chemical kills them before they ever come back for seconds. Because of this, the traps don’t just kill ants on the spot — they stop the entire colony in the long-term.

Using the bait is incredibly easy. Simply hold the bait station with its breakable tab facing upward. Break off the tab, being careful not to spill out the liquid. Stick the stations where ants tend to congregate along with other spots around the house for extra protection. Replace the traps every three months but no sooner. Once the liquid has dried up, feel free to put in a replacement.

Before putting your traps around, make sure they’re placed in spots that aren’t already treated with pesticides. This is because if the area already has pesticides, ants won’t go there and will never get to the trap’s food.

Key Features
  • Kills ants both in and out of sight
  • Liquid ant baits with Borax
  • Bait traps last for up to 3 months
  • Product Form: Liquid baits
  • Package Size: 2-pack of 6 bait stations each (12 total)
  • Effectiveness Time: Good for 3 months
  • Brand: Terro
  • Closed bait stations prevent solution from drying out
  • Kills ants that aren’t in sight
  • Easy-to-handle snap tabs
  • Can kill a lot of ants but not all of them
  • Attracts ants in the beginning since it’s “food”

Killing ants from the outside can do wonders inside — why not stop them right in their tracks, right? With these TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, you’ll not only kill the ants that come in contact with it, you’ll kill the entire colony. And the best part? You barely have to lift a finger.

These liquid ant baits are incredibly easy to use and require pretty much no maintenance. Simply place these pre-filled packages on the ground outside your home, securing them with the provided stakes and you’re done. The pods should last up to three months, rain or shine. That’s because the poison is encased in a weather-proof shell, preventing the substance from drying out or getting diluted.

These bait traps are designed to kill a wide range of household ants including but not limited to Argentine ants, ghost ants, pavement ants, acrobat ants and more. Wondering how it all works? The liquid bait contains something called Borax, a slow-killing chemical that the ants ingest when coming into contact with the trap. Once the poison is ingested it kills them very slowly. This enables the worker ants to come get the poison a few times, getting enough poison to their colony to deplete it completely.

To install the bait traps, use the provided stakes and secure them into the ground. Then, you can easily twist on the piece that holds the poison until it clicks in. It’s best to put it where you see a trail of ants or know they’re nearby. The dish contains little holes at the tops of ramp-like pieces which is how the ants get in and out of the trap.

Key Features
  • Made with Borax
  • A patented design that keeps contents wet
  • Made to kill household ants from the outside-in
  • Product Form: Liquid bait stations
  • Package Size: 6 bait stations
  • Effectiveness Time: 3 months
  • Brand: TERRO
  • Kills ants you can't see
  • Don't have to change it sooner than 3 months
  • Traps are pre-filled so you never have to touch liquid
  • Can be tampered with by outdoor animals like raccoons
  • Doesn't seem as effective on larger ants

Sure, you don’t want bugs in your home, but trading them in for highly toxic chemicals that are dangerous for your health? That doesn’t really seem like a fair trade-off. But thanks to Dr. Killigan’s Six Feet Under All-Natural Bug Spray, you can get rid of icky indoor critters and preserve your health!

Unlike other typical bug sprays, this all-natural bug killer contains no toxic chemicals, and is completely safe to use around food. Whether you’re spraying it in your refrigerator and on your countertops or even your mattress, this stuff is completely safe to be around. Its fast-acting formula is incredibly effective, killing bugs on contact without leaving any residue or marks at all, even on wallpaper or fabric.

Aside from the fact that it’s highly effective at killing ants, fleas, ticks and spiders, perhaps the best thing about this stuff is the fact that it actually smells good! Usually bug sprays smell like chemicals, but this all-natural spray smells more like a chai tea latte than anything else.

The spray contains natural clove and cottonseed oils that are no match for moths, spiders, fleas, and the peskiest of ants. No matter what stage of life the ants or other bugs are in, this spray is highly effective. If you want to keep a clean, safe home but don’t like having bugs around, this all-natural solution is just the ticket. Bugs, be gone!

Key Features
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Fast-acting formula
  • Cinnamon aroma
  • Kills ants, fleas, and cockroaches
  • Product Form: Liquid spray
  • Package Size: 24 oz.
  • Effectiveness Time: Kills on contact
  • Brand: Dr. Killigan's
  • Safe to use around food and pets
  • Kills on contact
  • Doesn't leave visible residue after use
  • Can't prevent bugs from coming back
  • For indoor use only

Sometimes ants appear as if from nowhere and you have to act fast. That’s where the Combat Gel Bait comes into play. Those pesky ants love the stuff and are attracted to it the second you release it from your syringe. Whether it’s under a sink, against a window, or just about anywhere, this gel will make your ant problem become a thing of the past.

When deciding where to put the Combat gel, try and see if you can figure out where the ants are coming into your home from. The closer you put the stuff to the ant trail, the better. And thanks to the syringe application, you can get the gel in hard-to-reach spots like under counters and other nooks and crannies around your home.

Wondering how it works? The gel contains active Fipronil, a highly effective, slow-moving poison. Ants will mistake the gel for food, take some, and go back to their colony to share. They’ll die after eating the poison and the rest of the colony will begin to fall soon after. The whole point is to kill the entire colony so they stop coming to your home entirely. The ants should begin dying within hours of you laying down the gel. And while the gel is designed to kill ants commonly found in the household, Combat gel has been known to be just as effective on larger ants, even fire ants.

Key Features
  • Bait kills ants and their colony
  • Kills within an hour of ingestion
  • Syringe applicator
  • Product Form: Gel
  • Package Size: 2.6 oz, 1.4 x 4.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Effectiveness Time: 3-5 days
  • Brand: Dial Corporation
  • Kills ants at the source
  • Syringe applicator gets to ants in hard-to-reach areas
  • Kills entire colonies over time
  • They die so fast they don't always have time to get back to colony
  • Hard to clean up gel once it hardens

Holy Borax, this stuff works! Similar to other ant-killing products under the TERRO name, the TERRO Liquid Ant Killer boasts plenty of Borax, a slow-killing poison that allows ants to carry it back to the colony before falling dead in their tracks. When using this bait, you can expect ant infestations to stop completely since it kills not only the ants you see in the trap, but the ones you can’t.

While you do have a small amount of assembly to do when setting up the bait traps, using TERRO Liquid Ant Killer is incredibly easy. You’ll be provided with little cardboard bait traps along with a small 2 oz. bottle of liquid poison. Simply pour a bit of the liquid onto the cardboard pieces and place wherever you’d like around the house. It’s smart to pick spots along the ants’ trail like under the sink, along windows or just about anywhere around your house. Just be sure to remove any other distracting bait that might be present in your chosen spot, like crumbs or other pesticides.

Unlike other bait traps that go dry and become ineffective, the ones provided by TERRO are refillable. So if after a few weeks you notice the bait has disappeared or dried out, simply give a little extra squirt of the poison in there. Just be sure not to disturb feeding ants if the trap is still active.

Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of ants congregating around the bait at the beginning — it’s a good thing! While it may seem like it’s not working, it’s actually the exact opposite. The bait is very sweet for the ants and attracts them all. But don’t worry, they’ll be dead soon after, just after they share what they’ve found with the rest of the colony of ants.

Key Features
  • Liquid bait containing Borax
  • Easy-to-squeeze bottle
  • Can be applied to small, awkward places around the home
  • Product Form: Liquid
  • Package Size: 2 packs of 2 oz. tubes
  • Effectiveness Time: Within 2 weeks
  • Brand: TERRO
  • Fast-working
  • Kills entire ant colony
  • Kills ants you can't see
  • Have to apply liquid to traps yourself
  • Attracts a lot of ants in the beginning
Premium pick

8. Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

9.00 / 10

Don’t want to use dangerous chemicals in your household? No problem! This high-tech ant-killer can fix your ant problem without you even lifting a finger. The gadget uses electromagnetic & ultrasonic wave technology that proves annoying to ants’ and other pests’ nervous systems, forcing them to leave your home. But don’t worry, you or your pets won’t hear a darn thing.

Unlike many other pest repellents, this system is super easy to use. Simply plug it into your wall and you’ll immediately see a red light, meaning the unit is ready to get to work at any moment. The device can detect movement within five feet, and will then emit its ultrasonic waves. At that time, you’ll see the light change from either green, blue or red, indicating that it’s working.

While one device is enough for your home, if you have infestations or ant problems in different rooms in your home, putting different units in different rooms can be incredibly effective. While the unit begins to work the second you plug it in, you’ll witness its effect most after about 3 to 4 weeks of use. And if you notice more bugs coming out of the woodwork at first, don’t freak out. The sound drives pests out of their hiding places at first, but they’ll be finding a new home in no time!

Key Features
  • Noiseless
  • Kills ants and other pests with electromagnetic and ultrasonic wave technology
  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Large coverage area
  • Product Form: Electronic unit
  • Package Size: 1 plug-in repeller
  • Effectiveness Time: Months
  • Brand: Brison
  • Harmless to people and pets
  • Works throughout the day without having to replace anything
  • Completely noiseless
  • Kills other pests along with ants
  • Full impact may not be seen until 3-4 weeks
  • If you use it outside it may attract mosquitos with its LED light

If you have pets and kids running around the house, using a bunch of harmful chemicals to kill bugs can be a little worrisome. Why not switch to a more natural alternative? The Harris Natural Ant Spray boasts more natural elements that are a friend to both your furry family members and to the environment.

Thanks to the formula’s two active ingredients, clove and cottonseed natural plant oils, you’re not spraying toxic chemicals into the air each time you see an ant. This combo also creates a more pleasant smell than other typical pest killers do — and it doesn’t use an offensive artificial scent to mask any chemical smells.

Another great benefit to the ant spray? It doesn’t leave a stain behind when you spritz. That means if you spray the solution on wallpaper, fabric or even carpet, you won’t leave a nasty stain behind. And while the spray works great for indoor ant-killing, you can also use it in the outdoors. If you see ants crawling around on your patio, front porch, or anywhere else around your home, you can kill those suckers with nothing more than a spray or two.

While the Harris Natural Ant Spray is safer to use than other chemically charged ones on the market, you should still use with caution around food and other living things. Be sure to wipe up any leftover residue after spraying down ants, whether it be on bathroom counters, floors, and especially anywhere you normally prepare food.

Key Features
  • Made with eco-friendly clove and cottonseed natural plant oils
  • Non-staining formula
  • Pleasant scent
  • Kills ants within 30 minutes or less
  • Product Form: Liquid spray
  • Package Size: 20 oz.
  • Effectiveness Time: 30 minutes or less
  • Brand: Harris
  • Kills ants quickly
  • Can be used outdoors and indoors
  • Great eco-friendly pesticide alternative
  • Proven safe to use around children and pets
  • Not a permanent solution
  • Doesn't keep bugs away, simply kills on contact

The last thing you want to see in your kitchen or living room are tacky ant traps (unless, of course, that’s the look you’re going for). That’s why TERRO has designed these incredibly discreet liquid ant traps that can stick anywhere in your house, keeping them off the floor and out of sight. The traps boast a dual-cover design, one side beige and one brown, perfect for matching a wide range of decor — the thing barely even looks like an ant trap!

The ant baits stay sealed, even after you take them out of the box so they won’t dry out in storage. Once you’re ready to use them, simply twist off the tab and the bait is ready to be taken! It’s always a good idea to place the traps wherever ants tend to congregate or pass through so that they can easily find it. Underneath counters, cabinets and bathroom windows are just some of the places you can easily stick the traps.

These liquid traps contain highly poisonous bait that ants mistake as food. They bring it back to their colony, killing all those that eat it. While ants may seem plentiful when you first put out the bait, it’s only because they’re attracted to the food. Once they start eating it, you’ll notice the ants starting to disappear. And after three months, or whenever the bait starts to dry up, simply replace it with another wet package and you’ll be good to go. See ya later, ants!

Key Features
  • Designed to kill household ants
  • Available in 1,2 or 5-pack
  • Stay-fresh twist caps keep bait fresh until you need it
  • Can kill ants that aren't out in the open
  • Multi-surface design
  • Product Form: Liquid bait stations
  • Package Size: 4 bait stations
  • Effectiveness Time: 3 months
  • Brand: Woodstream
  • Convenient color options for discreet placement
  • Sticks onto awkward surfaces, out of pets' reach
  • Bait stays fresh until you break the tab
  • The plastic containers can prove hard to open
  • Adhesive could be of better quality

How do you know what kind of ant killer to buy?

Gel and liquid bait is a great option when it comes to killing ants. These types of ant killing agents are designed to not only kill the ants that retrieve the bait, but also the ants you never actually see. Ants aren't independent pests, they live in colonies. The worker ants search for food and bring it back to their colony to share. Ants mistake this gel or liquid bait for food and bring it back to the colony, killing all of them. This is a great long-term solution to ant infestations since it attacks ants from the source. Similar to gel and liquid bait, granule bait serves as food for ants, giving them something to take back to their colony.

If you're looking for more of a spot-treatment approach to ant-killing, perhaps a spray is more up your alley. These sprays are designed to kill ants on the spot, no funny business. The only downside to these sprays is that they're often riddled with chemicals, so when you spray ants, these harmful toxins float into the air. If that's something that concerns you, there are also all-natural options out there that are great options for eco-friendly, toxic-free households. Plus, these natural sprays don't leave stains behind so you can spray them on carpeting, bedding, and other soft surfaces.

While sometimes it's out of your control, it's important to do everything you can in and around your home to prevent ant infestations. For one, be sure to always clean up after yourself and your family. Never leave any crumbs, sugar or other edible debris lying around for ants to find. And if you have pets that require you to leave their bowls of food on the floor, be sure they're not near any ant trails or places ants could sneak in through.

When using ant traps and bait, it's very important you keep it out of reach from kids and pets. They oftentimes won't know any better and may mistake the traps for toys or food, which can be lethal. Depending on your living situation, choose baits that can be placed above ground, or that are small enough to hide. And when using spray, always remember to clean up residue so that no pets or kids can get their hands on it. As long as you use these traps responsibly, everything should go smoothly and ants should be nowhere to be found.

Once you've gotten rid of your ants with one of these great products, use the right methods to prevent another infestation.

Resources— Readers Digest, Wirecutter

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