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Best Ant Killers [Indoor + Outdoor]

When ants invade your home, it can be a frustrating experience. They seem to come from everywhere and can suddenly appear in large numbers. There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of finding an ant crawling on you which can have you feeling “phantom ants” all over your body for the rest of the day!

To get rid of ants, you need to kill the ants – duh! But this is much easier said than done. You could spend all day squishing every ant you see and won’t make a dent in their population. Some ant colonies can have tens of thousands of worker ants!

The way to kill ants is to work smarter, not harder. I’ll show you the best ant killers you can buy to deal with an ant infestation and tell you which ant killers can actually make your problem worse!

Type of Ant Killers

When selecting an ant killer, there’s a variety of form factors to choose from. I’ll quickly go over each one and the pros and cons you should be aware of.

Liquid Sprays

Liquid sprays are very effective ant killers, and they come in two main varieties – contact ant killers and residual ant killers.

Contact ant killers are sprays that kill on contact. You’ll typically see these in your grocery stores or supermarkets from brands like Raid. You see the ant, you spray the ant, and you watch it shrivel up and die. Sounds great, right?


Contact killers should be avoided when dealing with an ant infestation.


Because they actually act as a localized repellent and cause other ants to avoid the area for a few days. This means the ants are simply staying out of sight or invading other areas of your home. They’ll return again in the same numbers they had before – this isn’t what you want!

Residual ant killers are sprays that can be applied and act as an invisible, deadly barrier around your home (or inside your home). These sprays (at least the ones I recommend) do not repel ants because you want the ants to come into contact with the spray.

The genius of the residual sprays I recommend is they don’t just kill the ant that comes into contact with it right away. Instead, the ants stay alive long enough to travel back to the colony and spread the pesticide to other ants, creating a domino effect of ant killing!


Powders or “dusts” are another form of ant control that work similarly to the residual sprays I mentioned above. These dusts can be all-natural such as diatomaceous earth for ants, or a more effective man-made silica dust such as CimeXa.

cimexa dust pesticide

Powders are best applied with a hand duster in a thin, even layer around areas where ants travel. If you apply too much powder, ants will simply avoid it and you’ll have the same repellent effect as contact killer sprays that you don’t want.

I usually don’t recommend powders until you have ants in wall voids or other hollow areas where an airborne powder can disperse freely to cover a wide area.


Ant baits are basically slow-acting poisons that ants eat. The reason why they’re slow acting is so ants can find them and bring them back to their nest to share with the colony. This will kill many ants quickly and hopefully kill the queen(s), too.

Ant baits typically come in three different forms – liquid, gel, and granule. In addition to the form factor, baits will also be sugar-based or protein-based since ants tend to seek out one nutrient or the other depending on their needs or species.

Liquid ant baits are very common for store-bought ant baits. These baits are typically sold already contained in their own plastic container that you can just set out along an ant trail. Terro ant baits are the most common you’ll see in stores with the use of borax as the ant poison. Liquid ant baits are almost always sugar baits.

Generally speaking, liquid ant baits contain less effective poisons but some ant species like argentine ants prefer liquid food sources so they can still be recommended.

Gel ant baits are typically sold in a syringe or tube, and you’ll squeeze an amount out onto a plastic container, cardboard square, or any other easily disposable surface. Gel baits usually contain a more effective kind of poison that can be transferred more amongst the colony and is more likely to kill the ants. Gel baits are typically sugar baits.

Granule ant baits are small pellets that you typically shake out of a container for ants to find and drag back to their nest. The main thing that makes granules unique is they’re usually protein-based, so if you find your ants are ignoring your sugar baits then it’s time to try these out.

See our full guide on the best ant baits for any situation.


Foam ant killer is a less common way to apply pesticide but if you’re dealing with carpenter ants or if you find the ant’s nest, it can be extremely useful.

A foaming ant killer works as advertised – you spray it into an area and the foam rapidly expands. If you’re spraying into a carpenter ant tunnel or ant nest, the foam will push deep into the tunnels reaching areas you never could be other means, killing ants faster.

You can buy ready-mixed foams which don’t require any complicated equipment or setup process. You simply shake the can, point the straw and nozzle where you want it to go, and press the trigger.

Best Ant Killers

Now that we covered each type of ant killer, let me tell you what the best ant killers available are and how they should be used.

Best Outdoor Ant Spray

Taurus SC
Active Ingredient: Fipronil 9.1%

Taurus SC is an extremely long-lasting pesticide that’s also easily transferred between ants that come into contact with it resulting in a domino effect of ant deaths.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

If you’re dealing with an ant infestation, the odds are the main colony nest is outside of the home and the ants are simply traveling in and out of your house to find food and water to bring back to the nest.

While it’s rude that these ants are using your home as their own Wal-Mart, it does make treating the problem easier. By using Taurus SC (active ingredient: Fipronil), you can knockdown the ant colony pretty quickly.

What’s special about this spray is it’s completely indictable to ants so you can spray it around your home’s foundation and any outdoor ant trails you find and they’ll happily walk right over it.

More important, the ants inadvertently track the pesticide back through the colony, killing more ants they come in contact with. This allows Taurus SC to decimate the ant population in days and wipe out an entire colony in just a few weeks.

Taurus SC is rated for outdoor use only and should only be applied ~2 times per year. It’s extremely potent and long-lasting so there usually isn’t a benefit from overdoing it.

Best Indoor Ant Spray

Spectre 2 SC
Active Ingredient: Chlorfenapyr 21.45%

Spectre is another long-lasting pesticide labeled for interior use that’s extremely effective controling ants, bed bugs, roaches, and more.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

If you’re seeing most of your ant activity indoors and can’t seem to find a trail outside, you may want to apply an indoor spray. The best ant killer spray for indoors is Spectre 2 SC.

All of the great things I said about Taurus SC above apply to Spectre. It’s a non-repellent ant killer that can transfer between ants. The differences are Spectre’s active ingredient is Chlorfenpyr, and it’s only labeled for indoor use.

Apply Spectre along ant trails and places you suspect ants are moving through regularly such as baseboards, window sills, and any other cracks. Spectre will also kill other insects like bed bugs, cockroaches, and more.

Best Sugar Ant Bait

Advion Ant Bait Gel
Active Ingredient: Indoxacarb .05%

Advion uses Indoxacarb, a slow-acting poison that lets an ant share it with the colony to kill more ants and even the queen to wipe out the colony.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

Most ant species prefer sugar ant baits, and the sugar ant bait I prefer is Advion Gel.

Advion uses the active ingredient indoxacarb, which slowly kills ants but not before they share it with other ants in their colony. Since queen ants rarely leave the nest, getting to them with a poison bait is the best way to kill off the colony.

If applying indoors, you can squeeze some gel out into a scrap piece of cardboard or plastic and leave it where you see ant activity. If successful, you should see lots of ants within a few hours rushing to take the bait back to the colony. Be sure to let the ants work and don’t disturb them! It may be tempting to start squishing every bug you see, but you won’t kill the queen ant that way.

Best Protein Ant Bait

Maxforce Complete Granular Bait
Active Ingredient: Hydramethylnon 1%

Maxforce Granular bait is a protein-based bait that some ants may prefer over a sugar-bait.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

If your ants are looking for protein and not sugar, I prefer Maxforce Granular bait. This bait comes in a shaker bottle and you can either apply the bait into a bait station or sprinkle it around the exterior of your home/along ant trails.

When it comes to actually killing the ants, the bait functions the same as the other baits described. The ants round of the bait and carry to the nest. You just need to worry about reapplying the bait as long as you’re still seeing ants.

Best Powder Ant Killer

CimeXa Insecticide Dust
Active Ingredient: Amorphous Silica 92.1%

CimeXa Dust is an extremely long-lasting pesticide that works on nearly all insects. When left undisturbed, it stays effective for over 10 years!

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

Powder dusters can be useful for applying to hard to reach areas or areas you don’t want to access often. I always use CimeXa Dust when dusting. It’s effective against nearly all crawling insects and can be effective for 10 years if undisturbed in areas like a crawlspace or wall void.

I would say most homeowners won’t need a powder when dealing with ants, but if you have a lot of ants in the interior of your home, then dusting with CimeXa can be very effective. The silica dust is relatively harmless to humans and pets, but to insects it cuts through their waxy exoskeletons and causes them to dehydrate.

Best Foam Ant Killer

Fuse Foam Ready-to-Use Insecticide
Active Ingredient: Fipronil 0.005%, Imidacloprid 0.02%

Fuse Foam can be applied into tunnels, cracks, and crevices where it will rapidly expand, reaching deeper than any other methods.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

If you’re dealing with wood-destroying insects like carpenter ants, then a good foaming pesticide is a lifesaver. I recommend Fuse Foam which uses the same active ingredient as the Taurus SC spray I mentioned above.

Once you find the wood damage caused by the ants, you can inject this foam directly into the tunnels which will coat them far and wide with deadly pesticides. This makes extremely fast work of ants!

If you’re wondering if you have termites or carpenter ants, check out my guide to the signs of carpenter ant infestations.

How Long Before I See Results?

Since the methods I recommend are optimized for long-term ant control and wiping out the colony, not instant killing, it will take 24-48 hours before you see noticeable results. It could be a few days longer if you’re only using ant baits.

Within 3-7 days, you should certainly see fewer ants around your home and see that ants have been eliminated after 7-14 days.

To prevent ant problems before they start, you can apply a perimeter spray in the early spring which should help prevent invasions.

Are These Ant Killers Safe for Pets?

When applied correctly, all of the pesticides I recommend are safe for pets. I have dogs of my own, so I know what a concern this is!

Here’s some tips for keeping pets safe when applying pesticides –

  • If spraying, wait for the liquid to dry before letting pets re-enter the area. This usually takes an hour or two depending on humidity.
  • Never use permethrin if you have cats – it’s extremely toxic! But other pesticides are safe.
  • When using baits, be sure to place them somewhere that pets and children can’t get into them.
  • Store unused pesticides away in a safe closet or cabinet that pets and children can’t get into.

Should I Use a Raid Spray to Kill Ants?

Raid sprays can kill ants, but they won’t kill a colony. For that reason, it’s not a product I would recommend using when dealing with an ant infestation. You’re simply guaranteeing the need to keep spraying cans of Raid continually.

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Written by Wesley Wheeler

Wesley has over 10 years of residential and commercial pest control experience dealing with every kind of pest. He ran his own pest control company for 6 years and now shares his knowledge online.

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