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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, they 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.
Some ant killers are 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 much more powerful. They also work as a preventative measure and can keep ants and other insects away from your home or yard.
The three main types of ant killer traps are bait, powder and liquid.
If you have only a few ants around the house, consider using a bait or powder trap. If there are ant mounds in the yard or you regularly see ants inside, use a liquid spray instead.
For those who want to avoid toxic substances, use a natural option instead. Cinnamon, peppermint, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, lemon rinds and vinegar are commonly used. 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 windows, doors, cracks in the wall, noticeable gaps to the outside, kitchen cabinets, under sinks and 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. This includes fipronil, boric acid or borax, pyrethroids, hydramethylnon, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. 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 replacement once the bait is gone. For minor infestations, these traps should last anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
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.
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. It can kill carpenter ants and fire ants on contact, as well as other insects. It comes in a one-pound container.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.