The best ant killer needs to work fast, get to the root of the problem (i.e. the nest), and offer a sustained period of protection against them returning. It should also contain safe ingredients if you have children or pets and be as ‘mess-free’ as possible. There are a variety of ant killers on the market; from fine powders to ‘sugary’ baits. Having successfully rid a small army from my kitchen and patio, I’ve got first-hand experience of what works. Here’s what I discovered…
What is the Best Ant Killer For Your Needs?
- Best indoor ant killer: Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station
- Best outdoor ant killer: Home Defence Ant Stop Granules
- Best long lasting ant killer: Nippon Ant Killer Powder
- Best ant killer for lawns: Buysmart Ant Gone Watering Can
Comparing The Best Ant Killers
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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Ant Killers
Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station Review
- Protection: 3 Months
- Usage: Indoors & Outdoors
- Type: Bait Station
Dealing with an ant infestation can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. A several-pronged approach is often required to really battle effectively against those insistant armies.
I used the Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station in my kitchen, positioning them at two different entry/exit points I’d seen ants use.
What happens is, the ants visit the stations and ant-killer product transfers onto them. They take this back to the nest and it works to kill the colony from inside the nest. Clever stuff hey?!
These Home Defence traps are pretty handy because they provide an ant-eradicating solution that you can a) tuck away out of site, and b) put down and forget about. They save the mess and bother of accidentally treading powder around the home, and will continue working for about 3 months.
If you’re generally reluctant to put down powders or liquid insecticides, these self-contained units are probably the best ant killers for indoors – the access-point holes are only small enough for insects to crawl inside, making these pretty safe to use around the home. However, if you do have pets you will need to make sure they don’t pick up or chew the stations.
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Gets to work quickly - customers report seeing dramatic results in around 3 days.
- Good value for money - each trap lasts around 3 months.
- These provide a mess-free approach to dealing with ants.
- No chance of cross-contamination as the traps are self contained and the poison stays inside.
- Not a very attractive unit if you can't hide it out of sight.
- There is the potential for it to get found and picked up by pets.
- Effectiveness is dependent on ants' willingness to enter the trap.
- Clips on station can be hard to break off, you may need to use pliers.
Home Defence Ant Stop Granules Review
- Protection: 1 Month
- Usage: Outdoors
- Type: Granules
The Home Defence Ant Stop Granules are for outdoor use only, so I figured I’d combine this product with the indoor bait stations.
I had a problem with ants on the patio, every time we sat outside to enjoy the garden. This was particularly unpleasant when we were eating outside so I needed to find a solution.
The product is in granular form, combined with a sugar-based carrier which attracts the ants. They come in a cardboard canister with a plastic lid, and can be applied straight from the packet.
The instructions advise piling the granules up near the nest site or mixing the granules with water and pouring the solution into the nest.
In my case, I wasn’t sure where the nest was; however, there were a few places where the ants were most prolific, so I just poured a little pile of the granules in each of these places. The idea is that they the granules back to the nest and this kills the whole colony.
Again, the day after I applied this product there were actually more ants on the patio, likely attracted to the sugar. However, after three days we had gone from hundreds of ants on the patio to just a few. By the end of the week, there were no ants at all. This was a few weeks ago and there have been no signs of any ants returning. It is also a large pack, and I didn’t use anywhere near all of it so there is plenty more, for several future applications, if the ants do come back.
In my opinion, the combination of using this product outdoors and the bait stations indoors worked a treat, and it’s what I’d recommend if you’re experiencing a similar infestation to what I had.
- Successfully infiltrates the heart of the nest: sugar-based 'carrier' attracts ants, and then they carry the insecticide back to the nest.
- You don't need to know exactly where the nest is, only where the ants patrol.
- Can also be diluted and poured as a liquid directly into nest.
- Less messy than sprinkling powder and less time consuming than spreading liquid.
- Will not work against red ants.
- Ants may not always pick up the 'sugar' to take back to the nest - slightly depends on the ants!
- Can only be used outdoors.
- Pets and children should be kept away from the treated area.
Nippon Ant Killer Powder Review
- Protection: 6 Months
- Usage: Indoors & Outdoors
- Type: Powder
Nippon Ant Killer Powder is one of the most well-known products for killing ants both inside the home and out.
As well as being a very effective ant killer, Nippon is an extremely versatile product; it’s also capable of getting rid of other crawling insects such as earwigs, woodlice and silverfish. If you’re dealing with some form of insect infestation, likelihood is Nippon can be of service.
Unlike some other ant killers, Nippon states that children and pets don’t have to be kept away from the treated area, which is good news if you were concerned about either. However, as with all chemicals, it’s still best to keep curious hands and paws at a safe distance – just in case.
This powdered insecticide is very easy to use, coming in a bottle with small holes in the top – simply shake it out like talcum powder. It can be dusted along doorframes and windowsills, and any other crevices through which ants are gaining access to your home.
The bottle design can make it challenging to accurately get the powder into smaller spaces, but only a small amount needs to be applied successfully to help it be effective.
The ant killer gets to work quickly, and it’s even possible to notice the effect after a few hours. It can take a couple of days to get rid of the ants completely, but the results are long lasting; you’re unlikely to have any problems with ants for several months after use.
Overall, this is an extremely effective product which will essentially eradicate ants, wherever you place it; however, it should be noted that Nippon contains permethrin which can be very harmful to aquatic life. Care needs to be taken when disposing of Nippon, and it isn’t the best ant killer for you if water from your garden runs off into a stream or river.
- Extremely effective at killing ants.
- When ants touch the powder it sticks to them, so they take it back to the whole colony.
- Does a good job of stopping ants from returning.
- Can destroy entire colony in between 7 - 10 days.
- Can also kill wasps if squeezed into their nest.
- Only effective if ants come into contact with powder - need to be smart about placement.
- Rain can wash powder away, in which case another application will likely be required.
- It can be difficult to get accurate application in small spaces.
- Highly toxic to aquatic life and needs to be used and disposed of with care.
Buysmart Ant Gone Watering Can Review
- Protection: 3 Months
- Usage: Outdoors
- Type: Formula
This Buysmart Ant Gone comes ready to use in its own ant-attacking watering can. It contains 5 L of liquid product and is effective against ants and other crawling insects. According to Buysmart, it can even be used against ticks, fleas, mites and mosquitos.
The easy-application design makes it simple to use, taking the hassle out of applying at-home treatments.
Whereas some other products require decanting and diluting, Ant Gone only requires you to open the bottle and pour it straight over the ant nest. You can also use it on paths and patios when you can’t get to the nests.
Whilst Ant Gone can also technically be used indoors, you’d have to think carefully about how to apply it if you didn’t want to drench your house seeing as it is in liquid form.
However, the fact that it’s liquid does make it easier to apply over larger surfaces than powder products. With a rose-head that helps distribute the product evenly and sparingly, it can be great for use over large patios and lawns.
Ant Gone relies on the product having physical contact with the ants and killing them that way; therefore, it can be harder to get it to infiltrate a nest. Pouring the liquid directly into the nest can be relatively effective, but may require a few applications.
Unlike some other products, particularly those in granule form, Buysmart Ant Gone isn’t carried back to the heart of the nest by the ants.
- The watering-can design of the bottle makes it easy to distribute product in the garden.
- Does not damage grass.
- Creates the possibility to pour directly into the ants' nest.
- Liquid form makes it easier to apply to a larger area than a powdered product.
- Comes pre-mixed and does not require decanting as with some other liquid products.
- Best suited to outdoor use only - very messy and can't easily be used inside like some other products.
- Isn't very effective once dry - ideally needs to be applied directly into nest.
- Has quite a strong smell and should be used in well-ventilated exterior.
- Does not always successfully infiltrate the nest and get to the core.
- Re-application may be required to keep ants at bay.
Things to Know Before Buying Ant Killer
While having ants in your garden isn’t too much of an issue at first, they can eventually invade your house – and they don’t usually come alone…
An effective ant killer can help to eliminate the problem before the hordes of ant-armies gets out of hand.
The following tips will help you find the best ant killer for the job if ants have started taking over your home:
The Different Types of Ant Killer
Your first choice is whether to use a spray, trap, powder or gel ant killer. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Ant killer sprays kill the insects on contact.
While this is very easy to use and delivers fast results, the downside is that sprays have no effect on the ants that aren’t directly treated. As a result, this approach is unlikely to kill them all or get to the root of the problem.
Ant killer sprays usually contain Borax, a chemical which is harmless for humans but toxic for ants.
Ant traps are very effective but slower to work. Traps consist of containers filled with poisonous bait.
The ants eat the the poisoned bait in the trap, and also take it back to their colony. Within a few days, the ants that have consumed with bait will die, and so will the ants who came into contact with them back at base. Traps are useful for killing an entire colony, not just a few ants.
Powders and Gels
These work the same was as traps, but you’ll have more flexibility in terms of where to place the poison.
Gel can be squeezed into small cracks, so is easy to position wherever you see ants. The gel sticks to the bodies of the ants, and they then take it back to their colony.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Ant Killers
Many ant killers can be used both indoors and outdoors. However, this depends on the ingredients they contain.
Stronger ant killers may be more effective, but not safe for inside use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if a product is intended for indoor or outdoor use.
If you have pets and kids, look for an ant killer that states it is safe to be used around them.
You may decide that certain products are more suitable for use indoors or out – for example, the bait traps are a lot less messy than spreading powder through the home.
When to Apply Ant Killer
This depends on the type of ant killer, but generally ant killer is best applied outdoors when the grass or patio is dry. You should check for signs of infestation every 30 days to give the product time to work, and reapply when needed.
Bait traps and gels normally state how long they remain effective for. They can be put down at any time and often continue working for three months. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure when to switch to new ones.
Combatting Other Types of Insects
Ant killers are not only capable of tackling ant infestations, they can also be used to keep control of other pests.
Buying a product which is versatile can save you money in the long run, in case you have problems with more than one type of insect.
It’s always recommended to read the manufacturer’s instructions first, to be sure exactly what your product is capable of and how it should be used, but these are some other insects that can be kept at bay by ant killers:
Ant Killer FAQs
How can I get rid of ants from my house?
Ants usually come inside because they are attracted by food. They may be less likely to come in if there is no source of food, especially sugary foods, available to them.
Keep all food-stuff in airtight containers or in bags sealed with secure clips or ties. Rinse out containers before putting them in recycling bins, and wipe and dry kitchen surfaces after preparing food. You might want to keep sugary foods and drinks such as squash and jam in the fridge.
You can also spray a lemon or vinegar solution around the areas where you see ants. This will at least temporarily disrupt them.
To ensure your home remains free of ants you can use granule, powder, or spray ant killers at the points where ants are gaining access to your home.
Are ants harmful?
Ants are not very harmful of pests; however, species like ‘red ants’ may bite occasionally. They can also cause damage to plants and lawns.
I don’t want to use an ant killer. Is there another way to kill ants?
If you only have a small infestation of ants you could try using a vinegar or lemon solution to get rid of them. However, as a single queen ant can spawn thousands of eggs every day, and ant mounds can contain up to 200,000 ants. The only way to truly be rid of them is to wipe out the colony with a product specifically designed for this purpose.
- “Pest Notes: Ants (Publication 7411)”. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 2007.