The 9 Best Ant Killers of 2021

Foolproof products for eliminating those creepy crawlers

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Ant Killer Sprays

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

If you're like most people, seeing ants in your home probably gives you the heebie-jeebies. These irksome insects love to hang out in human territory, where they're likely to find food to bring back to their underground lairs. Since ants live on every continent except Antarctica, you're bound to come across them at some time or another. But luckily, there's something you can do about it.

Enter: ant killers. From granules and sprays to traps and gels, there's a range of effective products you can use to take care of the problem once and for all. You'll find options that kill the little marchers on contact, as well as those that kill the queen, and thus, the whole colony.

Some are designed for outdoor use, others for indoor, and some work nearly anywhere. Just bear in mind that certain types aren't ideal for households with kids and pets, as they might be harmful if they're swallowed, so be sure to take note when browsing options. If you're not sure what's right for your home, fear not, because we rounded up the best products in every category.

Below, the best ant killers available today.

Our Top Picks
These granules are effective enough to kill the whole colony of ants and last for up to three months.
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Free from harsh chemicals, this pet-safe indoor spray uses essential oils to kill ants on contact.
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The natural formula contains peppermint essential oil to repel and kill ants, spiders, and other pests.
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Direct the can at the insect offenders, press the button, and watch as they die on contact.
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Just shake this easy-to-open bag around the perimeter of your home to release the granule bait.
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You'll get six bait stations, each filled with liquid that the marchers love to feed on.
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This concentrate contains a powerful pesticide that kills carpenter ants and lots of other pests on contact.
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Best for Fire Ants:
Ortho Fire Ant Killer at Amazon
Sprinkle the granules onto your lawn, then water your grass to release them into the ground and kill the colony.
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Best Overall: Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait Granules

Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait Granules 24oz

Pest Type: Ants | Application: Granules | Approved Use: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Great value

  • Lasts three months

  • Kills entire colony

  • Lasts three months

What We Don't Like
  • Not safe to use around pets

If you're looking for a long-lasting solution that tackles the issue at its source, your best option is Amdro Ant Block. You'll get a full 24 ounces of granules, which act as bait because the ants think it's food. They bring them back to the queen, who will be killed when she eats them. As a result, the entire colony will perish.

Shake Amdro around the perimeter of your home to create a protective barrier of bait. A jug of this stuff can cover nearly 1,100 linear feet, which is enough to treat the average-sized house five times. What's more, one treatment lasts as long as three months, killing carpenter ants, fire ants, and over 20 other ant species. Needless to say, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck.

What Testers Say

"I found this product very easy to use. It took me just minutes to open the bottle and line a track around the perimeter of the house. Once applied, the product stayed in place, protecting the home from ants for months at a time." — Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best Pet-Safe: Aunt Fannie's Ant Remedy Ant Killer Spray

Ant Remedy Ant Killer Spray

Pest Type: Ants | Application: Spray | Approved Use: Indoor

What We Like
  • Safe for pets

  • Kills on contact

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Not preventative

For folks with fur babies at home, we recommend Aunt Fannie's Ant Remedy. Since it doesn't contain any harsh chemicals, it's safe to use around pets and kids. Formulated with essential oils, it kills those marching insects the natural way—no pungent odors left behind. Just spray it on, and watch as your home becomes ant-free in a matter of minutes.

Best Natural: Mighty Mint Insect & Pest Control

Insect & Pest Control

Pest Type: Ants/spiders | Application: Spray | Approved Use: Indoor/outdoor

What We Like
  • Great value

  • Natural formula

  • Prevents and kills

  • Safe to use around kids and pets

What We Don't Like
  • Oily formula

Want a natural formula that's safe to use around kids and pets? Your best bet is Mighty Mint. Made of 100 percent plant-based ingredients, this potent spray calls on Mother Nature to battle ants, spiders, and other bugs. The active ingredient is peppermint essential oil, which both repels and kills those creepy crawlers, whether indoors or outside. We also like that the 128-ounce jug contains enough ant killer to get you through several treatments.

Best Spray: Raid Ant & Roach Killer Aerosol Spray

Raid Ant and Roach Killer

Pest Type: Ants/roaches | Application: Spray | Approved Use: Indoor

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Plant-based formula

  • Safe for indoor use

  • Kills on contact

What We Don't Like
  • Not preventative

  • Strong smell

If ants frequent your personal space, it's good to have a can of Raid on hand. This aerosol spray kills on contact and is safe to use anywhere in your home, including your kitchen and other areas where pets or kids hang out. The plant-based formula contains lemongrass and other essential oils, which are an immediate defense against pests. While the smell is somewhat strong, it's undoubtedly effective.

Best Granules: Terro Outdoor Ant Killer Granules

Outdoor Ant Killer Granules

Pest Type: Ants/cockroaches/fleas | Application: Granules | Approved Use: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Kills entire colony

  • Prevents entry

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Not safe to use around pets

Granules are great for keeping ants out of your home, as they create a barrier of bait, which the ants think is food. This 3-pound bag of Terro Outdoor Ant Killer effectively kills the entire colony once the ants bring it back to the queen. We also like that the convenient resealable bag is designed for easy shaking. Just unzip it, hold the handle, and shake it around the perimeter of your house to spread the granules. The result? No ants, cockroaches, or fleas for about a month.

Best Outdoor: Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits

Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, 1.0 fl. oz. - 6 count

Pest Type: Ants | Application: Bait stations | Approved Use: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Kills entire colony

  • Waterproof design

  • Prevents entry

What We Don't Like
  • Can be tricky to open

For outdoor defense, you might also consider Terro Liquid Ant Baits. You can place them on pavement or any other flat surface outside your home or use the included stakes to stick them into your lawn. You'll get a box of six stations, each filled with an ounce of liquid bait, which the marchers love to feed on. They'll carry it back to the queen, who will die, resulting in the death of the entire colony.

What Testers Say

"The plastic stations are compact, and their green and white color helps them blend into grass or groundcover; we liked that they didn’t draw undue attention. A roof of sorts covers the liquid bait; we found that the stations remained well-protected during rainfall." — Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best for Carpenter Ants: BioAdvanced Carpenter Ant and Termite Killer Plus

Carpenter Ant and Termite Killer Plus

Pest Type: Ants/termites/ticks/spiders/scorpions/crickets | Application: Concentrate/spray | Approved Use: Indoor/outdoor

What We Like
  • Lasts three months

  • Great value

  • No-drip formula

  • Works on multiple types of pests

What We Don't Like
  • Requires mixing and a spray bottle

Have a carpenter ant problem? BioAdvanced Carpenter Ant and Termite Killer Plus is going to be your new best friend. This 40-ounce jug contains a potent pesticide concentrate, which you can mix with water and then apply with a spray bottle. Not only does it kill carpenter ants on contact, but it also destroys a range of other pests, including spiders, ticks, termites, crickets, and even scorpions. We also appreciate that you can use it both indoors and outside.

Best for Fire Ants: Ortho Fire Ant Killer Mound Treatment

Ortho Fire Ant Killer

Pest Type: Ants | Application: Granules | Approved Use: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Kills entire colony

  • Works quickly

  • Preventative

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't last as long as other treatments

If you're dealing with fire ants, you might need to pull out the big guns—and by that, we mean Ortho Mount Treatment. This 4-pound bag of granules is not only easy to use but also highly effective. Just sprinkle the mixture onto your lawn, then water it to release it into the ground. Before long, the whole colony will be dead. Plus, it prevents new ones from forming.

Final Verdict

The most effective solution for killing ants and keeping them out of your home is Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait. It works by poisoning the entire colony and offers three months of protection. However, if you're looking for a pet-safe option you can use both indoors and outside, go with Mighty Mint Insect & Pest Control (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in an Ant Killer

Type

Different species of ants are attracted to different things—namely sugar or grease. To determine what type of ants you have and what kind of ant killer you need, place both items in a room and see where the ants go. If they’re attracted to the sweet stuff, pick an ant killer suitable for sugar ants; If the ants are attracted to grime, pick one suitable for grease ants.

Indoor vs. outdoor

Many ant killers can be used both inside and outdoors. Always check the label, though—some stronger ant killers may be too potent for indoor use while some household products may not hold up to the elements outside.

Safety

If you have pets or young children, opt for ant traps because they’re more contained than sprays and granules.

FAQ
  • What's the best way to get rid of indoor ants?

    The best way to get rid of indoor ants is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. This means using an effective outdoor bait that they'll feed on and bring back to their colony, which will eventually kill the whole bunch.

    That said, to deal with ants currently in your home, your best bet is to place indoor-safe bait stations around places they frequent. It's also good to have an ant killer spray on hand to stop them in their tracks.

  • Are most ant killers safe for homes with children and pets?

    Most ant killers on the market are considered safe for homes with children and pets. However, there are some exceptions, and some are safer than others. For instance, granules are okay to use around the outside of your home, but you don't want your pets to eat them. They shouldn't be harmful once they settle into the ground, so just make sure there are no pets around when you're sprinkling it. If you're concerned, opt for formulas containing essential oil as the active ingredient.

  • Can you get rid of ants permanently?

    If you want to get rid of ants permanently, you have to kill the entire colony. With this in mind, many ant killer products attract the insects, which then feed on the bait and bring it back to the queen. When the queen dies, the whole colony will die. Having said that, new colonies can always develop, so permanent protection isn't always a guarantee, even if you've killed the original colony.

  • At what point should you call a professional?

    In most cases, all you need to get your ant problem under control is the right product. However, if you've had multiple failed attempts, have flying ants inside your home, or think carpenter ants might be tunneling around in your walls or floors, it might be best to get in touch with a professional. An exterminator can identify the issue, make expert recommendations, and ultimately get the infestation out of your home.

Why Trust the Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a professional freelance writer who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. Having dealt with ants at every home she can remember, she'd tried a number of products to take care of the issue and usually always goes back to Amdro Ant Block. You can read more of her work on Byrdie, Verywell Fit, and MyDomaine.

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Article Sources
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  1. Ants. National Wildlife Federation.