What sets the best ant poisons apart from the rest? One may think that this question has a very complicated answer. In reality, things are straightforward. It’s not so much about the ingredients and the poison. Mostly, it is about how the ants come in contact with the poison.
In this article, you’ll find various common household ant poisons which apply to different methods of treatments. Check out the following top picks and skip doing unnecessary research so that you can deal with your infestation swiftly.
8 Best Ant Poisons for a Thorough Treatment
- 8 Best Ant Poisons for a Thorough Treatment
- Types of Attractants
- A Presentation of the Most Common Ant Poisons
- What You Need to Know About IGRs
- Choosing the Right Ant Poison for Indoor and Outdoor Use
- A Special Note on Application Methods
- Is Poison Always the Answer?
The Demon Max Insecticide is one of the most versatile ant poisons on the market. It is a professional-grade product that you can combine with water and use in various situations.
It can kill anything from ants to termites and even roaches. You can choose concentration as well as viscosity when you combine the formula with water. Because it has a very high percentage of the active ingredient Cypermethrin, you will be able to use this for multiple types of treatments.
Depending on how you mix it, you can use it for broadcasting and spot treatment, as well as for cracks and crevices to target carpenter ants or termites.
Due to its potency, and unique formulation, you can mix anywhere between 1.3 to 5.1oz of Demon Max Insecticide with one gallon of water. Use how much you think is necessary for the treatment you have in mind or depending on the severity of the infestation.
One more thing that I like about this poison is that it has a very long shelf life. That’s why, despite the higher initial cost, it’s worth the investment, especially to homeowners in rural areas.
The Terro T600 Ant Dust is a Deltamethrin-based and killer. It’s not super efficient against larger insects, but it takes care of the most annoying ant species quickly. You can use it against fire ants and carpenter ants with the same level of success.
Its formulation also includes an insect growth regulator. On top of that, the potency of the formula ensures a residual control effect of up to eight months. Under optimum conditions, of course.
While the dust is somewhat waterproof, too much rain will dilute the formula. Even if it’s unlikely it will wash it away. I like that the powder comes in an adjustable shaker. That helps with spot-on and broadcasting applications.
Although you can use the dust indoors too, to an even greater and more long-lasting effect, it’s not as easy to get it into cracks and crevices without a special applicator. Unfortunately, you will have to buy the applicator separately.
However, this is a potent ant poison, and it’s quite cheap per ounce, compared to many other alternatives.
3. Taurus SC
The Taurus SC is an ant killer you can use anywhere outside of NY and CT. It’s a broad spectrum poison that takes care of tiny critters such as ants and termites, as well as larger pests such as bugs, roaches, and spiders.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this formula could be your saving grace. It doesn’t contain any ingredients with repellent properties. That means that it’s undetectable to all targeted pests.
It doesn’t kill on contact. I like this when facing severe infestations or when I’m having a hard time locating the nest. A slow-release poison can take care of ants that you can’t see and makes treating for infestations go a lot smoother.
However, it’s worth pointing out that it could take up to three days to wipe out an entire colony. Therefore, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you’re trying to clean the house fast.
The Bayer Maxforce Quantum is an Imidacloprid-based ant poison. It doesn’t have the highest active ingredient concentration, but it has powerful attractants that make it an ideal liquid bait for tray-type bait stations.
Although not effective against too many insects, it is effective against most ant species. I would still argue that it’s a broad-spectrum ant poison, just for this reason alone.
The formula is odorless, which makes it great for both outdoor and indoor use. Its liquid formulation acts as a double attractant since it offers ants both a food source and a water source. I also like that it doesn’t dry out as quickly as some gel baits. It should last up to three months in a covered bait station outside.
The poison doesn’t kill on contact, which is excellent for killing the ants you can’t see and eliminating entire colonies, even if you can’t locate the nests.
5. Bifen I/T
The Bifen I/T is an insecticide/termiticide formula. It comes in large 3/4 gallon canisters, and it can treat for over 75 varieties of typical garden and household pests. Although it doesn’t have the best residual control effect, only around 90 days, it’s a very potent killer nonetheless.
Its knockdown potential is impressive. I find that this product works best when you can locate ant nests and mounds before application. That’s because the formula has minimal broadcasting properties, and it’s best to spray it on or inside mounds directly.
There’s no sprayer attachment included. So, unfortunately, you’ll need a separate sprayer bottle or canister in which you’ll mix the formula with water. It’s not the most convenient situation, but not everyone is set on ready-to-use ant poisons.
Besides, this will allow you to control just how potent the Bifenthrin-based solution is. Even though it’s not considered harmful to plants and it shouldn’t stain, you may still want to stick to light applications. Not all plants are equally resilient.
6. Advance 375A
Are you looking for a smaller package to treat a small room or a small yard? If so, then the Advance 375A might be a good fit for your needs. This ant killer comes in the form of granules.
Therefore, it uses food-grade attractants to draw ants to it and a slow-release poison that can decimate entire nests. The main ingredient is Abamectin B, and it’s a powerful one too.
As is the case with all granulated ant poisons, the application is super simple. The Advance 375A even has an applicator, so you won’t have to use your hands or buy an aftermarket applicator. I also like that there is some residual control effect too.
The granules should remain active for a few weeks. That’s because they have decent moisture-wicking properties and are not as affected by weather as water-based or dust formulas.
This formula contains 5.40% Borax, which is more than enough to take care of any type of ants in and around your home. Borax is one of the oldest and most effective ant poisons, and the Harris formulation should be affordable for any homeowner.
The Liquid Borax Ant Killer is a bait. It comes in a squeeze bottle, and nine reusable ashtray-type bait stations are in the package, as well. Although Borax can kill any ant, the attractants used mostly target ants with a sweet tooth. Argentine ants, black ants, acrobat ants, are just to name a few.
Keep in mind that, as is the case with many baits, it will take time. Borax is a particularly slow-acting mineral ant poison. Because of this, you won’t be able to manage a severe infestation quickly.
However, once it kicks in, the poison will destroy entire colonies, including the queen, eggs, and larvae. It may not be fast but is very thorough. Unfortunately, Borax doesn’t offer much of a residual control effect. The formula also doesn’t contain any insect growth regulator, so it won’t be able to prevent reinfestation.
Formulated mostly for outdoor use, the Bengal Ultra Dust Fire Ant Killer can do a lot more than it advertises. It can handle other ant species too, and most importantly, it’s one of the safest products that you can use around ornamental plants and on lawns.
The dust is not too fine, which is good because it should help prevent rain from washing it away. But, it’s also not as moisture-wicking as granules. Each shaker applicator contains 12oz of Ultra Dust. According to the manufacturer, this is enough for up to 30 mounds.
I agree, although depending on the ant species, you may want to give a few extra shakes around some mounds.
The dust is odorless, as you would expect, and it doesn’t contain any repellent ingredients either. Even though it doesn’t contain food-grade attractants, it should still be easy pickings for most outdoor ants. Especially fire ants.
Types of Attractants
You will notice that not all ant poisons and baits target the same ant species. Just because a product contains food-grade attractants, it doesn’t mean that it’s the ideal meal for all ants living on your property.
Some ant species like sweet food, while some prefer protein. So while pharaoh ants may love sugary ingredients, fire ants will not. Fire ants and other grease eating ants prefer fatty substances and even different viscosities in baits.
A Presentation of the Most Common Ant Poisons
Let’s start with the most common poisons, the ones found in baits. Using baits to deal with an ant infestation is very common and very convenient. Baits aim to poison an entire colony, and they feature slow-acting active ingredients. Common ingredients include Fipronil, Boric acid, Spinosad, and even Indoxacarb.
The latter, however, is not particularly effective against ant queens. Hence not many high-grade baits feature it.
There’s a difference between ant killer dust and diatomaceous earth. For example, the latter is an organic compound that kills on contact through dehydration. But something like boric acid dust acts more like a poison. It slowly kills ants through starvation, and the infected ants can spread it throughout the colony.
Most people will probably end up using particular baits, such as liquid baits. These baits serve as both food and water sources and are thus more attractive to ants. They can often contain pyrethroids such as Deltamethrin or Bifenthrin. These are very toxic but also very efficient.
These active ingredients won’t kill on contact. However, they also won’t take too many days to show positive results, as is the case with many dusts, granules, or dry baits.
What You Need to Know About IGRs
Not all ant killers contain insect growth regulators. An insect growth regulator, IGR for short, is an insect sterilizer. Its task is to sterilize the queen and stop the breeding cycle to prevent infestation.
Believe it or not, some poisons rely solely on IGRs. While this is considered less harmful to the environment at times, it’s also not the best way to approach things. Some IGRs can take a few months to show any positive results, by which point things can get out of hand.
A mix of a slow-release poison and IGRs is always going to be better than just using IGR-based formulas.
Choosing the Right Ant Poison for Indoor and Outdoor Use
Most homeowners will turn to sprays for indoor use. It makes sense since they’re easy to use, they kill on contact, and they are easy to clean afterward.
But bait stations make a lot of sense too. As long as you can use covered stations so that your kids and pets can’t reach the bait, you’re good to go.
Using bait stations inside your home might be even better than sprays. If you have an infestation and can’t find the nest, then a slow-release poison should do the trick.
The same thing applies to many lawn applications too. Baits are pretty much the only way you can ensure that the poison will reach the queen. There is a catch, though.
If you’re not managing the bait stations well enough, and they stay empty for too long, you might have to change the product entirely. Believe it or not, ants can sometimes get tired of going after the same food.
If they’ got tired of your brand of bait, and you also don’t bother replacing it on time, you might find that once you do, your ants will just go around it. No matter how tempting the bait was in the beginning.
A Special Note on Application Methods
You won’t be able to use the same type of formulation or texture everywhere you want. For example, you can’t always blow dust into cracks and crevices and hope to deal with carpenter ants.
It’s also not feasible to just spread gel bait on the ground and hope that rain won’t wash it off before ants get it and take it back to the mound. Ants are adaptable, so you need to adjust to the situation at hand too.
Is Poison Always the Answer?
Not exactly. You can kill ants with plenty of organic products too. There are many sprays made from essential oils that can kill ants on contact. Natural products have one massive benefit – they are harmless to humans, pets, and plants.
But it’s hard to kill the ants you don’t see with such products. And, if you have a severe infestation, sometimes you just have to face the fact that an ant poison, a synthetic killer will simply do a more thorough job.
In the case of a severe infestation, it’s all about fast and thorough results. The goal is to kill the colony and the queen as fast as possible. While you could pour some organic ant killers directly into mounds, not all of them will be strong enough to deal with the queen and all unhatched eggs too.
Final Thoughts on the Best Ant Poisons
As you can see, you have plenty of options at your disposal. But just remember that weather resistance is vital when you’re picking ant poison for outdoor use. It’s not always about having the best ingredients but rather the best formulation and texture.
When picking the right poison to deal with your infestation, you have to consider how severe it is. And, make sure that you identify the problematic ants first so that you can get the most tempting bait for them without wasting money on trial and error.