7 Best Ant Sprays – Alternatives to Traps and Bait Stations

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The best ant sprays won’t cost you a fortune. But, unless you pick the right one for your particular situation, it can mean waiting for weeks to see positive effects.

Check out the top ant sprays I’ve reviewed to see what you should expect when using a specific kind of product.

Best Ant Sprays for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Available in 16oz spray cans, the Hot Shot Ant Killer Plus is a very potent insecticide. Its formula features Permethrin and Tetramethrin, two compounds known for being damaging to the nervous system of ants.

This formula is excellent because it kills on contact. It also targets a large variety of ant species, which means that you can use it in various treatments in and outside your home. The residual control lasts for up to four months. It’s not bad, given the price of the spray.

The formula is, of course, water-based. That means that it won’t leave a residue or stain fabrics, upholstery, wooden furniture, and other surfaces. It’s also unscented, which makes it convenient to use even in small apartments.

However, for outdoor use, it may not be the best solution. Not only can it damage aquatic life, but it also doesn’t have the best weather resistance. Hence even light rain can wash the formula away and allow ants to move back in.

  • Odorless
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    Ready-to-use spray
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    Two active ingredients
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    Kills on contact
  • Not the best outdoor formula

Raid is a household name when it comes to insecticides and pesticides. The Raid Ant & Roach Spray is a dual-action product that targets the smallest and largest of insects that can commonly infest your household.

And talk about value for money. While having a similar price tag as various other killer ant sprays, this Raid formula comes in two-packs of spray cans, each holding 17.5oz of the killer spray.

Is it for everyone? Not exactly. While many alternatives today come unscented, Raid opted for a lemony scent, which is quite potent and may not appeal to everyone. However, at least you won’t need to use too much of it to kill large groups of ants on contact.

When sprayed into cracks and crevices, the formula can also remain active for up to four weeks. It’s not a lot, but it can prevent a quick reinfestation.

  • Four weeks of residual control
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    Good value for money
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    Kills on contact
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    No chemical odor
  • Potent lemon scent

It stands to reason that EcoSmart would bring to the table a non-toxic formula that you can use both inside and outside the house. It may not be a super-fast ant killer, but it gets the job done, nonetheless. It can kill ants in minutes or hours, depending on the species and how much spray you use. However, it won’t kill them on contact.

The formula is made mostly from plants, which means that it has a strong scent, but nothing foul and, most importantly, nothing remotely similar to chemical insecticides. Because it’s plant-based, you can use it around kids and pets without worrying. You can even spray it around plants, which makes it even better.

What I love about this spray is that the oily substances don’t leave a greasy residue. That means that you can effectively use it on any surface.

The 14oz spray should be enough to treat a small to medium-sized home. After all, the formula doesn’t offer any residual control effect, so you’ll only need to spray it for the ants you can see.

  • Kills a wide range of species
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    Organic formula
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    Pet-friendly
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    Can be safely used on plants and plant beds too
  • Little to no residual control

This formula comes in either 16oz spray bottles or 32oz canisters. Whichever option you go for, the spray arrives ready to use. Even the 32oz container comes with a handle and an extension sprayer attachment, which will be ideal for broadcasting applications.

Although advertised as being able to kill on contact, the spray may take up to six minutes to dispose of larger ants. That may give some of the ants time to go back to their colony and die there. Although the lingering effect is not too long-lasting, it could be enough to target some of the hidden ants as well.

The formula is non-staining, but it’s not odorless. It has a strong citrusy scent, which not every family may like. But, since it’s organic, you can treat every plant and every surface in your home.

Interestingly enough, the solution may cause some skin irritation. That’s even though it features an organic formula.

  • Pet-friendly
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    Natural ingredients
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    For indoor and outdoor use
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    Extension sprayer also included
  • Could cause mild skin rashes

The Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer is one of the most popular and widely used ant sprays on the market. It has a formula that’s continuously being refined to remain effective each year, against a wide range of ant species.

It’s odorless and non-staining, as you’ve probably become accustomed to by now. What’s most impressive about it is that the formula offers residual control for up to 12 months. Of course, only when used indoors or in outdoor areas where it can’t get washed away.

Apart from killing ants fast, the solution can also act as a barrier. That means that it’s very good at preventing reinfestation since it repels ants. The standard bottle sprayer contains 24oz of the Home Defense Insect Killer.

That and the fact that the nozzle has a broad dispersal pattern means that you can treat large affected areas very fast.

  • Good for broadcasting applications
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    Odorless and non-staining
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    12 months of residual control
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    Very consistent performance
  • Might not work as advertised against larger insects

The Ant Killer Spray isn’t just any other ant spray. It’s a natural ant spray with an eco-friendly formula that’s been revised by Harris for years. The 20oz spray bottle is easy to use and has a powerful jet. That means that you can easily use it to treat cracks and crevices in walls and foundations.

Since this is mostly a water-based formula, the presence of clove and cottonseed oil won’t be enough to cause stains. Or leave any sticky residue for that matter.

The scent is light and quite pleasant. It’s not too minty or citrusy when compared to other similar organic formulas, which might make it more appealing. Its mild scent is especially convenient for apartments and smaller houses.

In terms of quickness, there are better options. But, even so, the Harris Ant Killer Spray can still dispatch even the hardest to kill ants in up to 30 minutes. It’s not bad given that it’s safe to use around kids, pets, and plants.

  • Eco-friendly
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    Non-staining
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    Leaves no oily residue
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    Targets all ant species
  • Not the fastest ant killer

The standard 20oz canister of Taurus Insecticide should be enough to treat the average-sized household. However, you should know that although wildly popular, this canister doesn’t come with a sprayer attachment.

It is, however, designed to work with a garden hose attachment, should you want to spray it outdoors and kill the pests before they reach your home.

The Fipronil-based formula works against all ants. It’s a known broad-spectrum insecticide with a stellar track record in both residential and industrial applications. Like many others, this one targets the nervous system of ants and also the muscles, causing quick deterioration and death.

It’s also important to understand that this solution lingers for a while after spraying. It dries quickly and has decent weather resistance, which means that it will continue working. And, despite what you may think, it will kill and not just repel ants so that they can come back once it dissipates.

Although it’s among the more consistent choices, you can’t use this everywhere, and you may not be able to order it from NY or CT.

  • Broad-spectrum insecticide
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    Highly concentrated
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    Can be used with a garden hose attachment
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    Good residual control effect
  • Sprayer attachment not included

Ant Sprays or Broad Spectrum Sprays

These days there aren’t that many pure anti killer sprays. That’s because most insecticide manufacturers cycle through the same main ingredients, year after year. So, at least when it comes to synthetic insecticides (those based on Fipronil, Deltamethrin, and others), you should be able to target a wide range of insects with a single puff.

But, when it comes to natural products, the effects might not be as noticeable among tougher ant species or large insects such as roaches. That’s why it’s essential to check the label before you buy and check the list of targeted insects.

How Fast Acting Should the Spray Be?

That depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you only have a couple of ants in your kitchen? If so, any on-contact killer formula will do the trick.

Are you trying to get rid of an entire colony? Well, if that’s the case, then you may want a broadcasting insecticide. That means a formula that doesn’t kill on contact.

Infected ants will be able to make it back to the colony and spread the poison to the other ants. Good ant killers will also make the carcasses poisonous and infectious. That’s considered the best solution to dispose of ant colonies, whether you’re using a spray or bait stations.

Broadcasting formulas are the way to go when you want to be thorough, and the situation is getting out of hands.

Do You Need an Exterminator?

Calling in an exterminator to dispose of ants is overkill and overpriced most of the time. Unlike other pests, ants don’t go out of their way to hide their activities. That means that you’ll have no problem following the trail back to the nest and dealing with them on your own.

It’s quite the opposite when dealing with mice, rats, or other larger pests. They tend to hide what they’re doing and are often hard to spot. With ants, all you need is some light and a good pair of eyes to follow their movements.

Restrictions

Various restrictions and regulations prohibit the use of certain insecticides and pesticides in some states. However, manufacturers are obligated to indicate that on the label.

You don’t have to dig deep to figure out if what you’re trying to buy is illegal in your area. Restrictions are usually applied to outdoor products to protect wildlife or plant life. However, it’s not a good idea to ignore them just because you plan on using a particular banned insecticide indoors.

Indoor and Outdoor Use

Not all indoor products will work outdoors, and vice versa. Consider the fact that many synthetic insecticides may be harmful to plants, and most importantly, to aquatic life.

Using synthetic products inside your home is a lot safer when you think about it. That’s because you can spray areas where kids and pets can’t ever reach.

But you can’t use just any synthetic insecticide to treat your yard for ants, especially for broadcasting applications.

Sprays or Bait Stations

Sprays can deal with the problem within minutes. Bait stations require careful placement. They need you to track down the nests, use the right kind of bait, and set them down in areas of high-traffic or near entries into the colony’s nest.

Of course, not all bait stations are the same. Some can also trap and kill ants by drowning them in a solution once they enter to feed on the attractant. Others will poison the ants but allow them time to get back to the colony and spread the poison through their infected carcasses.

Always Have an Ant Spray on Hand

Whether you prefer sprays or not, it never hurts to have one in your home just in case. At the very least, it will allow you to prevent an infestation from happening in the first place. That is if you’re lucky enough to spot the ants coming.

As you can see, there are plenty of options, too, both synthetic and more eco-friendly. Therefore, you can spray whenever and wherever you feel comfortable.

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