Best Indoor Ant Killers

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
342 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best indoor ant killers

Last Updated November 2019

Everyone has had problems with ants at one time or another in their life, no matter where they live. Fortunately, ant killers can eradicate the infestation and prevent future invasions of your home.

Since ants originally have their anthills and colonies outside, keeping them out is the best strategy. Getting rid of them after they’ve made their way inside is harder. Once ants have gotten inside and let others in their colony know how to get there, your troubles are just beginning.

Ant killers come in the form of repellents and non-repellents, both of which can get ants out of the home. These products may be sprays, baits, or traps — and using them in conjunction can help put a stop to the infestation. The strength and active ingredients vary from one product to the next, so it is important to research an ant killer before you buy.

If you’re not a pest control expert, finding the right ant killer can be a daunting proposal. Keep reading, and we’ll simplify it for you.

When using a pesticide, give it time to work. It can often take as much as two to three weeks for a pesticide to fully take care of a pest problem. This is especially true with ants.

Key considerations

Before you choose an indoor ant killer, you should take a look at what kind of infestation you are dealing with so you can purchase a product that will work quickly and effectively.

Entry points

Where are the ants coming in? If they’re entering through a ceiling joint, they’re probably gaining entrance to your home by crawling over a branch that is touching it. Alternately, they may follow power lines to the building.

If the ants are coming in at any point below the level of the ceiling, they’re probably getting in through a power outlet, a crack in the floor, window sills, or door frames.

If there are multiple trails of ants throughout the house, this doesn’t necessarily indicate multiple colonies gaining entrance. They could all be coming from one colony, especially if the entry points are on the same side of the house or building. If the entry points are on opposite ends of a house or long building, then you may be experiencing an invasion by multiple ant colonies.

Once you know what type of threat you are dealing with, you can find an indoor ant killer that is up to the job.

Repellent or non-repellent

All insecticides fall into two basic categories: repellent and non-repellent. Each of them does exactly what the name would suggest, and both can be useful depending on your situation and the nature of your infestation

Repellents may be preventative or may be used to combat an ongoing infestation. These ant killers are designed to be detected by ants and encourage them to steer clear of your home. Once the ants have left, you can continue applying repellent to prevent future invasions.

Non-repellent insecticides don’t repel insects at all. Instead, they let them into the house, but the insecticide gets on them as they cross it since these products cannot be detected by ants. They begin to kill ants within a day or two after contact.

Application method

Bait

Using baits is the ideal method of treating for ants in the home. This is because baits wipe out the entire colony, not just the individuals who come in contact with it. When ants find the bait, they carry it back to the colony, where it can get to work.

Trap

Ant traps don’t leave behind any chemical residue and are 100% effective against any ant that ventures into the sticky trap. Unfortunately, all ants won’t go into the trap, and those that don’t will be completely unaffected by it.

Spray

Ant spray has the fastest knock-down time of any method on the market. However, you’re always left with a residue of some kind, even if it’s invisible. Without the residue, there would be nothing to kill the ants. This means there will be a residue on your cabinets, floors, and wherever else you spray. It won’t be strong enough to hurt you, but you should be aware that it does exist — and you should wipe any sprayed areas clean after your ant problem is resolved.

EXPERT TIP

Pesticides won’t stick to wet surfaces. If you recently cleaned an area, wait until the surface is dry before you spray it.


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Features

Active ingredients

The active ingredient in an insecticide is the one that actually kills the ants. The rest of the ingredients are carriers or have synergistic properties to enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient. Common active ingredients are:

  • Pyrethroids
  • Chlorfenapyr
  • Imidacloprid
  • Fipronil
     

Most insecticides contain pyrethroids, synthetic versions of naturally occurring pyrethrins found in chrysanthemums. Pyrethroids have been used for decades, though many insects have become pyrethroid-resistant. There are hundreds of different kinds of pyrethroids, as manufacturers have tried to alter them just enough to work around the resistance insects have built up.

The other three active ingredients were first used for killing termites. Because termites and ants share many similarities, any active ingredient that can kill termites can also kill ants. However, it takes eight to ten years and expensive testing for the EPA to register an insecticide. In recent years, termiticides have begun making their appearance in ant-killing products.

Residual impact

EPA regulations are explicit and non-negotiable: insecticides are required by federal law to biodegrade within 90 days of application. As a result, 90 days is the absolute maximum that insecticides will be effective, and many last for considerably shorter periods.

Effects on humans

The EPA registers all insecticides to ensure that they are not dangerous to use in the home. Because insecticides contain toxins, it is possible for them to be harmful if ingested. If you or someone in your home consumes insecticides, you should contact the Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222.

Essential oils

Some manufacturers offer products using essential oils such as peppermint, cedarwood oil, lemongrass oil, sesame oil, and other essential oils as their active ingredients. They are effective as cleaning products to erase the pheromone trails ants leave behind, but they are less effective at killing and repelling ants.

EXPERT TIP

Repellent pesticides can be used to “funnel” ants toward bait stations to make them more effective.


Staff  | BestReviews

Indoor ant killer prices

Products for under $10 have low concentrations of active ingredients and are unlikely to fully eradicate the ants in your home.

For $15 to $25, you will find more reliable options. You’ll also find some low-end professional-strength insecticides here. Products in this range have higher concentrations of active ingredients and can often prevent ants from re-entering your home.

Above $25 are professional-strength ant killers that are designed to tackle serious infestations. Some organic options fall into this range, as well as bulk options.

EXPERT TIP

Spray around the trash cans outside to kill any ants that are trying to get into them. For best results, spray the entire can from top to bottom to kill ants as they attempt to climb the can.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Once you’ve identified the entry point for the ants, spray the insecticide on the entry point as well as into it.
  • Spray all cracks and crevices of the window sills and doors on the side of the house where the ants seem to be concentrated.
  • Before using bait stations, clean surfaces frequented by ants with soap and warm water to erase the pheromone trail. When they smell the bait, they won’t be distracted from it by the preexisting trail.
  • Most insecticides can be used outside as well as inside. If you can track the ants back to their anthill, spray the ground all around it for about three feet in every direction. Don’t spray into the mound unless you’re using a non-repellent.
  • Because ants are drawn by odors, you should wash the dishes every day, wipe down the counters and tables, and sweep or mop the floors to ensure there aren’t any food crumbs to entice them. Make sure that anything that is opened, like cereal, sugar, flour, and other food items, are sealed in airtight containers.
  • Keep the lid on tight on any trash cans, and keep the trash cans at least 10 feet away from your home to lure ants away.
  • Ants love pet food. It has everything a growing colony could need. As soon as your pet is finished eating, pick up their bowl and put it in an airtight container. Keep their bag of food inside an airtight container as well.

Other products we considered

If you didn’t find a product that met your needs in our top recommendations, there are a few other ant killers we came across that should get the job done.

We like Stryker 54 Aerosol Contact Insect Spray from Control Solutions for its professional-strength active ingredient, pyrethrin, at 0.5%. This is an excellent contact kill option for use during heavy infestations when you need a fast knockdown to stop the ants.

We also like the Temprid Ready to Spray Residual Aerosol by Bayer. The active ingredients are Beta-cyfluthrin 0.025% and Imidacloprid 0.05%. Imidacloprid is a well-known termiticide that has proven effective at killing ants. In combination with beta-cyfluthrin, it gives you a fast knockdown with a good residual impact. It should not be sprayed on food preparation surfaces unless you clean them afterward.

The best results come from using two different insecticides, one outside and one inside. If one doesn’t get them, the other will.

FAQ

Q. Why can’t I spray insecticides on countertops?
A.
This is a violation of EPA regulations for the intended use of ant killers. These sprays do contain toxins, which can easily make their way into your food if applied to food preparation surfaces.

Q. Can I spray inside an electrical socket?
A.
Yes. As long as you don’t touch anything inside the socket, you’ll be fine — and you’ll eliminate a potential point of entry.

Q. Once the ants are gone, do I have to keep spraying?
A.
You should spray at least once every 90 days as a preventative measure to keep the ants from coming back.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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