After thorough research, the InsectCop team has independently hand-picked the products presented on this page. When you click on any of the affiliate links within the article, we may receive a small compensation which, in turn, will help us to continue providing you with the best pest control advice we can.

Best Ant Baits

Ant baits are among the most effective and efficient ways to deal with an ant infestation. These are simple food baits of almost any kind that include a slow-acting insecticide. To find out which bait is most suitable for the ants on your property it’s usually best not only do a fair bit of research but also to do some testing with several different pre-baits and see which food is the one the insects prefer. So, with this buying guide, we want to help you choose the best bait to get rid of ants.

Ant baits are among the most effective and efficient ways to deal with an ant infestation. These are simple food baits of almost any kind that include a slow-acting insecticide. To find out which bait is most suitable for the ants on your property it’s usually best not only do a fair bit of research but also to do some testing with several different pre-baits and see which food is the one the insects prefer. So, with this buying guide, we want to help you choose the best bait to get rid of ants.

THE MOST POPULAR CHOICE

TERRO T300

If you have a large ant infestation running into your home, this pre-filled and ready to use bait can help deal with it.

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BEST FOR LARGE INFESTATIONS

Terro 1806

Fighting with common household ants is no more problem when using this well priced, well designed and easy to use outdoor bait.

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BEST PERIMETER BAIT

TERRO T1812

Make an ant-free perimeter around your house with these ant bait stakes that are designed to attract and kill ants.

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1

TERRO T300

THE MOST POPULAR CHOICE
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • You will probably see more ants at first, but that’s just how the mechanism operates
  • Have to keep away from children and pets
  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • Will only eliminate ants not other common household pests

Review

Eliminate all those annoying ant colonies before they completely infest your living space using TERRO’s liquid ant killer bait stations, this product will leave your home a totally ant-free zone! The mechanism behind these borax ant killer traps is quite simple, just place the traps near the major indoor locations where ants have been observed. The bugs enter into the Terro ant traps, eat (or drink) the sweet-tasting syrup contained in the liquid ant killer before returning to their nests and passing the bait on to their brethren. The borax for ants containing liquid bait is specially formulated so that the ants stay alive just long enough to infect their relatives. The liquid in the Terro liquid ant bait stations also keeps the bait getting to dry and provides your pests with a steady supply of bait, day after day. Try not to interfere with your borax ant killer stations at all, if you can.

When the bait gets depleted, simply replace with another station – in this pack, you get 6 separate boric acid ant killer stations, which should be enough to last you quite a while! Though you should see a significant reduction in the number of ants infesting your home after only a couple of weeks – though of course, initially, you will see something of an increase in the number of insects around your place – they will be very attracted by the bait after all! Pre-filled and good to go straight from the box, setting up these ant borax ant bait traps is a breeze, just be careful to keep away from children and pets as the liquid is poisonous to them too. For superb – and rapid – results in indoor pest control, choose TERRO’s borax ant trap stations, they will eliminate all ants from your indoor living spaces, down to the last insect. Highly recommended.

Features:

  • Home liquid ant bait stations, eliminate all common household ants seen around your home with minimal effort – your home will soon be an ant-free zone with this product
  • Sweet-smelling and tasting liquid ant bait draws the ants in, providing them with a steady food supply of ant bait liquid day and night
  • Specially formulated borax for ants active ingredient keeps the infected ants alive long enough to make it back to their nest and supply a dose to their brethren
  • Quick results – should see a significant reduction in the number of ants inhabiting your property within a couple of weeks
  • 6 stations included in the box
  • Pre-filled and easy to set up
  • Keep away from children and animals

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: TERRO
  • Active ingredients: borax
  • Target insects: ants
  • Where can be used: indoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 18 fluid ounces
2

Terro 1806

BEST FOR LARGE INFESTATIONS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Outdoor use only
  • Apparently the instructions for setting them up leave a little bit to be desired, if consumer reviews are anything to go by
  • Will only eliminate ants not other common household pests
  • Not safe to use around children and pets, be careful!

Review

The fine people at TERRO are back again with another fine ant bait product, this offering of theirs’ comes with 3 liquid bait stations and a grand total of 18 fluid ounces of liquid – more than enough to handle large infestations of ants. Unlike the above product, this Terro liquid ant bait device is for outdoor usage, set it up in the main outside locations where ants have been observed and kill them off before they make it to your front door! The sweet tasting and smelling syrup will draw in the ants, and the boric acid ant killer will eliminate them whilst still keeping the ants alive long enough to deliver a dose to their brethren back at home in the nest.

Kill the queen and kill the colony! The borax ant trap stations come with ground stakes for extra stability, and are super easy to set up – no extra equipment required, full instructions included. The borax ant killer stations are already pre-filled. Kill all commonly seen household ant breeds before they take up permanent residence in your home with these borax ant bait stations from TERRO, this is one of the best products of it’s kind out there on the market today. Well worth the investment of time and money.

Features:

  • Outdoor liquid borax ant killer bait stations, kill all common household pests hanging around your property before they start infesting the inside of your home
  • 3 pack, 18 fluid ounces in total – place your Terro ant traps stations at the key locations around your property where ants have been observed
  • A sweet smelling and tasting liquid will draw in the ants
  • The borax for ants active ingredient is specially designed to keep the ants alive just long enough to pass on the bait to the ants back in the nest. Kill the queen and kill the colony with this product
  • Ground stakes included for extra stability
  • Keep away from children and pets
  • No obtrusive odors or scents
  • Pre-filled and easy to set up, all equipment and instructions are provided

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Terro
  • Active ingredients: borax
  • Target insects: ants
  • Where can be used: outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 18 fluid ounces
  • Other features: Weather-resistant
3

TERRO T1812

BEST PERIMETER BAIT
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Outdoor usage only, not for use indoors
  • Designed to eliminate ants, not other household pests
  • Not safe to use around children and pets – take care!

Review

Here we have yet another fine offering from Terro, this set of liquid Ant bait traps/stakes are designed to quickly and effectively eliminate any and all ants that inhabit the outside areas of your property. To use, simply set up your Terro liquid ant bait stakes at the key outdoor locations where ant trails have been observed, and the insects will be drawn to the sweet-smelling syrup that makes up the bait ‘like moths to a flame’. Having consumed the bait they will then return to the nest and infect the remainder of the colony – the active ingredient in these Terro ant traps, borax, is specially designed to kill all ants exposed to it but not before they have had time to supply a dose to their brethren.

You get 6 borax ant trap stations with this product and 12 fluid ounces of liquid bait – more than enough to eliminate all the ants hanging around your property. The stakes deliver stability – important in variable outdoor weather conditions – whilst being easy for the ants to access. This product is fully weather-proof also. Quick results are guaranteed with Terro’s borax ant killer stations, you should see almost all ants on your property eliminated within a couple of weeks. Regularly monitor the amount of bait remaining in the traps and re-fill where necessary. They’re easy to set up and access, no extra tools are required and full instructions are supplied as well. Terro a well-known manufacturer of these sort of pest control products with a proven track record in delivering quick and successful results – this offering of theirs’ is no exception. Go out and grab one for your place today.

Features:

  • Outdoor Terro liquid ant bait stakes will quickly and successfully eliminate all ants dwelling outside of your property. Beat back the ant infestations before they reach your front door with this borax ant killer product
  • Set up the ant bait stations at the key locations outside your property where ants have been observed and they will be drawn to the sweet smelling and tasting liquid that makes up the bait
  • Borax for ants active ingredient is specially designed to keep the ants alive just long enough to return to the nest and infect their brethren
  • 6 ant bait stakes, 12 fluid ounces of bait
  • Stakes provide stability in all weather conditions
  • Pre-filled and easy to set up, no extra tools required and full instructions provided as well
  • Full weatherproof
  • See-through window, allows you to easily monitor the level of bait remaining in the traps

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Terro
  • Active ingredients: borax
  • Target insects: ants
  • Where can be used: outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 12 fluid ounces
  • Other features: weatherproof, see-through window for monitoring liquid bait levels

Other products to consider

4

AMDRO Ant Killing Bait

BEST FOR OUTDOORS USE
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • For outdoors use only
  • Mustn't be used in vegetable gardens
  • Shouldn't be used if kids, pets or other animals are nearby

Review

Eliminate ants in your backyard with these AMDRO ant killing stakes. Set them up near your ornamentals, flowerbeds or next to your home and watch the ants flock to the product. It works by attracting worker ants to it that then feed on the bait and bring it back to the colony to share with it and the queen. And since the bait contains Hydramethylnon once the queen and other ants feed on the bait the delayed action pesticide then begins working and slowly the whole colony dies.

To ensure that worker ants are attracted to the bait it is made to taste like food. While the pesticide itself will ensure that the ants have time to bring the bait to the colony and the whole colony is able to feed on it because it starts to take effect only about a week after application.

Just be cautious when using the product around your pets, other animals or if you have a vegetable garden. Hydramethylnon is toxic to humans and other mammals which means that the Amdro Ant Killing Stakes shouldn’t be used in a vegetable garden or in areas that house pets, livestock and other animals.

Features:

  • These Amdro Ant Stakes will eliminate all ants quickly and efficiently.
  • The bait starts yielding noticeable results in about a week after application. And within two weeks the whole ant colony is dead.
  • Can be placed in nearly any outdoors location except in your vegetable garden or near animals.
  • 8 ant stakes are included in the package.
  • Easy to set up, just place the sticks into the ground and let them do their job.
  • Perfect for protecting flowers and ornamentals from ants.
  • No mess to clean up and odor-free as well.

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Amdro
  • Target insects: ants
  • Where can be used: outdoors only
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Other features: kills the entire colony within two weeks
5

Maxforce Ant Bait Stations

IDEAL FOR HEAVY INFESTATIONS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Slower acting than some of the other products reviewed here, according to customers
  • For indoor use only, not outside
  • Keep away from children and pets

Review

If you want to eliminate ants from your household in a manner that is quick, cost-effective and eco-friendly, then you could do a lot worse than choose this offering from Maxforce. These ant bait stations of theirs’ contain Fipronil which is one of the most potent insecticides out there. Contaminated ants will be eliminated either by ingestion or other contacts with the liquid ant bait – though not before having time to return to the nest and spread the anti-killer to their brethren, including the queen.

You get 24 stations with this liquid ant traps product, more than enough to eliminate ALL ants from your property or your workplace including hospitals, schools, warehouses, nursing homes – you name it. They’re ready to use straight out of the box – no special set up required, and full instructions are provided free of charge. They also have the virtue of being non-toxic and made from materials that are not harmful to the environment. Maxforce’s ant bait traps are some of the best and treatment products of their kind out there, set them in key areas around your home and watch the ants disappear before your eyes! Go out and get a pack today, they are some of the best ant traps you will ever encounter.

Features:

  • Ant bait stations that will quickly transform your home or workplace into an entirely ant-free zone, it’s some of the best ant bait out there
  • Ant bait filled with food and liquid that is specially designed to attract all ants
  • Fipronil active ingredient, potent insecticide – this formula is specially designed to keep ants alive just long enough that they can return to their nest and infect the rest of their ant colony, including the queen
  • Kills ants either by ingestion or another direct contact
  • 24 bait stations included with this product, excellent value for money
  • Fast acting, quick results – you will see ants start to disappear from your home within the first 24 hours of usage, within a couple of weeks most of them will be dead
  • Ready to use straight out of the box, no special set up required at all

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Maxforce
  • Active ingredients: fipronil
  • Target insects: all ants
  • Where can be used: indoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
6

Homeplus Ant Killer

BEST CHILD RESISTANT DESIGN
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Will only eliminate ants, not other common household pests
  • Exercise caution when using around children and pets

Review

‘Kill the queen and kill the colony’. That’s the catchcry behind PIC HomePlus’ 6 pack of ant killer bait stations, and this device well and truly makes good on its claims. This product comes with 6 bait stations each of which includes 4 different food sources – enough to satisfy the palette of any common household ant! But they also contain Abamectin B1 which will effectively eliminate any exposure to it – though not before the ants have had time to carry the bait back to the next and infect the rest of the ant colony.

Pre-filled and easy to set up, you can use these ant bait traps both indoors and outside – wherever you find a trail of ants, just set up one of these bait stations nearby and PIC HomePlus will do the rest. You will start to notice results within 24 hours – within a couple of weeks, virtually all ants should have been removed from your property. Equally effective both indoors and out, this product from PIC HomePlus will drastically reduce the numbers of ants hanging around your home within the first 24 hours of usage – eventually it will leave your property almost completely pest free. It’s right up there with the very best ant traps out there on the market today.

Features:

  • Ant killer bait stations will successfully and rapidly remove all common household ants inhabiting your property, both indoors and outside – your home will soon be an ant-free zone. This is the best ant killer for home products currently available on the market
  • 6 bait stations included in the box
  • Contains 4 different food sources – something in here for every type of ant
  • Abamectin B1 active ingredient is specially designed to kill all ants exposed to it though not before they have returned to the colony and infected their brothers and sisters
  • Pre-filled, easy to set up with no extra tools required and full instructions included
  • Equally effective both indoors and outside
  • Fast acting, you will begin noticing results within 24 hours – within a couple of weeks virtually all ants will have been eliminated from your property
  • Weather resistant

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: PIC HomePlus
  • Active ingredients: Abamectin B1
  • Target insects: all ants
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Other features: weather-proof
7

Combat Ant Bait Strips

BEST FOR HARD TO REACH PLACES
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Kills ants only, not other household pests
  • Not safe to use where children and pets are present
  • Some customers complain that the adhesive on the back of the strips doesn’t hold the strips in place properly

Review

Combat’s Ant Killing Bait Strips rely on an ant-disposal mechanism which is simple yet oh so effective. Simply set them up in your location of choice and the ants will be inexorably drawn to the food and liquid present on the strips. Having consumed the liquid ant bait they will also consume the Fipronil insecticide present in the food – this active ingredient is powerful enough to kill any ant, yet it is also specially formulated to keep them alive just long enough to return to the colony and infect their brothers and sisters – and the Queen.

There are 6 pack of 5 strips each included with this product (that’s 30 strips in total), and they are suitable for use both indoors and outside, fast results are guaranteed with this product – you will see a noticeable drop off in the number of ants hanging around your property within the first 24 hours; after a week or two, your place will be virtually ant-free zone. Another handy feature of these ant bait traps is that the strips are slim and discreet so that you can position them in hard-to-reach places that other ant traps can’t access. They’re also ready to go straight out of the box. All in all, these ant killing bait strips from Combat tick all the boxes, they will eliminate entire ant colonies from your property within a matter of days – for quick and successful results you can’t go past them.

Features:

  • Ant killer bait strips will get rid of all ants infesting your property quickly and with minimal fuss. These are some of the best ant traps in town at the moment
  • All types of ants commonly found around your household will be attracted to the food and liquid supplied in the strips
  • Fipronil active ingredient is one of the most potent insecticides out there – this specific formula is specially designed to kill ants whilst keeping them alive just long enough to spread the poison to the rest of the ant nest
  • 6 packs containing 5 strips each – 30 strips included in total
  • Fast acting – you will ants start to drop off within the first 24 hours, and within a couple of weeks your home will be virtually free of them
  • Slim and discreet strip design means you can position them in hard to reach places that your standard ant trap can’t access
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside
  • Fully weather resistant
  • Ready to go straight out of the box

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Combat
  • Active ingredients: fipronil
  • Target insects: all ants
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Other features: weatherproof, can place in hard to reach locations
8

Hot Shot Ultra Ant Bait

CONTAINS WATER AND BAIT
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Only 4 stations included in the box, not quite as many as some of the other products reviewed here
  • Keep away from children and pets if you can
  • Kills ants only not other common household pests

Review

Hot Shot’s liquid ant bait pack will quickly and successfully remove all ants loitering around your household and with a product that doesn’t break the bank either. Simply set them in the ‘highest traffic’ areas around your house and the insects will be drawn to the bait source, unable to resist the delicious food and drink on offer. The active ingredient is specially designed to kill ants but keeps them alive just long enough to take the poison back to the nest and infect the rest of their colony – including the queen. Suitable for use both indoors and outside, quick results are guaranteed with these liquid ant traps – you will start to see ants falling by the wayside within the first 24 hours, after a couple of weeks your place will be a virtually ant-free zone.

It’s easy to set up and is fully weatherproof as well. All materials are certified as non-toxic and friendly to the environment. These liquid ant bait traps from Hot Shot deliver outstanding pest control results, they are also affordable, non-toxic and eco-friendly as well – they tick all the right boxes. Go and grab a pack for your home today.

Features:

  • Liquid ant bait will quickly and successfully remove all ants from your property, indoors and outside, they’re some of the best ant traps currently available on the market
  • Delicious food source will attract all common household ants, they won’t be able to resist
  • The active ingredient is specially designed to kill all ants but also keep them alive long enough to infect the remainder of the ant colony back in the nest – including the queen
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside can place them in any location
  • 4 bait stations included
  • Quick results guaranteed – will start killing ants within 24 hours, after a couple of weeks your home will be almost entirely free of pests
  • Easy to set up, they are pre-filled and work straight from the box
  • Non-toxic, eco-friendly materials

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Hot Shot
  • Target insects: all ants
  • Where can be used: indoors and outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Other features: weatherproof, non-toxic and eco-friendly
9

Spectracide 65597

BEST ALTERNATIVE FOR OUTDOORS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Outdoor use only
  • A little bit on the expensive side

Review

Do you suffer from periodic ant infestations at your place? The Spectracide Ant Shield Outdoors Killing stakes provides just the solution to your pest problems. Ants seeking for their brothers and sisters will be drawn to the delicious food and drink contained in the liquid ant bait of this product, unable to resist they will start feeding before taking the rest of the bait back to the colony, infecting the other ants including the queen. The indoxacarb active ingredient is one of the most potent insecticides out there – this formula is specially designed to keep infected ants alive just long enough to spread the disease to their brethren. Fast acting, quick results are guaranteed with this product, the colony will cease reproducing and begin to die out after only a couple of weeks of you using these ant bait traps.

You get 6 bait stations with this product, they are a child- and weather-resistant and thus safe to use in any location (outside only). They are also long-lasting, you should get about 3 months’ worth of coverage from these stations. Head off ant infestations at the pass with the Spectracide Ant Shield Outdoor Killing stakes, it’s one of the best ant traps products out there on the market today.

Features:

  • Ant Shield outdoor killing stakes will eradicate entire colonies of ants leaving your home an ant-free zone for months to come. If you are looking for the best thing to kill ants currently available out there on the market, then this product fits the bill
  • Liquid bait provides an attractive food source for all common household ants, they won’t be able to resist
  • Indoxacarb active ingredient is one of the most potent insecticides out there, it will kill all ants exposed to it, but not before they take the bait home and infect the whole colony – the queen included
  • Quick results – you should see the colony begin to cease reproducing and die out within a couple of weeks
  • 6 bait stations included
  • Child-resistant
  • Weather-proof
  • Long lasting, 3 months’ long lifespan

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Spectracide
  • Active ingredients: indoxacarb
  • Target insects: ants
  • Where can be used: outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 042 fluid ounces
  • Other features: weather resistant, child-proof
10

Victor M256 Insect Magnet

POISON-FREE ANT TRAP
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Some users report that the pheromone doesn’t work on some insects – crickets for example
  • Be careful when using around children and pets

Review

Few pest control devices cast as wide a net as the Victor M256 Insect Magnet Traps. Whether it’s cockroaches, ants, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, crickets and other insects – this device will eliminate them. The special, patented pheromone formula is specially designed to attract all creepy crawlies to the trap before keeping them stuck there with the glue lining the inside. You can place them both inside and outside, and with their unique design they will fit in any discreet, hard to reach location; the insects will have no trouble accessing the trap, whatever angle they approach it from.

Twelve traps are included with this product, distribute them all around your house; they are ready to go straight from the box, and when they are full you simply discard and replace with another. Ensure your home remains a pest – and poison – free atmosphere with this quality offering from the folks at Victor. This is the last ant bait product to be reviewed in this list, but it is by no means the least. Go out and grab one today.

Features included:

  • Insect magnet trap will eliminate any and every kind of pest infesting your property that you care to mention – ants, cockroaches, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, crickets and more. Right up there with the best ant traps on the market
  • Special patented pheromone formula attracts insects to the trap whilst the sticky glue lining the inside keeps them there
  • Unique design enables you to place them in any discreet, hard-to-reach location
  • Insects will be able to access the trap from all angles
  • 12 traps included
  • Ready to go straight from the box, no special set up required
  • Replace when full
  • No smell or mess generated
  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly materials

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Victor
  • Active ingredients: pheromone
  • Target insects: ants, spiders, cockroaches, scorpion, centipedes, silverfish, palmetto bugs, crickets
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Other features: unique design with numerous entry points, non-toxic and eco-friendly

Types of ant baits

Ant baits can differ in several major ways. For one, the bait itself can be different – from bread and peanut butter, through fruits and nuts, all the way to meat. The active ingredient can be different as well and we’ll cover them in more detail below. A third and key way in which ant baits can differ is their composition. This is important because different ant baits are suitable for different situations. Here are the main types to look for:

  • Ant gel baits. Gel baits are intended to be spread around the corners and edges of rooms or cabinets that are frequently traversed by ants. The benefit of the gel form is that it allows for an easy and precise application on specific locations. You can encircle some of the entry points of the worker ants into your home or you can place the gel around some of the previously raided food sources of the ants.
  • Ant liquid baits. Similarly to gel baits, liquid ones are meant to be applied to wide and specific locations. You can spray a liquid ant bait anywhere, particularly in or around the ants’ holes and entry points into your home.
liquid ant bait

Svineyard/Shutterstock.com

  • Ant granular baits. Granular baits are typically best used outdoors. Their granular form is ideal for spreading in or on top of the soil in your garden or yard. Granular ant baits are typically made to be harmless to mammals and birds as you don’t want your pets, kids or non-pest wildlife to be damaged by them. They are also typically water-resistant or need water to be better distributed in the soil. These baits have little application indoors aside from putting them in plant pots.
  • Ant powders. A lot of people think that ant bait powders are meant to be spread over wide areas indoors – that’s far from true. Ant powders are meant to be blown inside walls and other unreachable places using a powder blower device. Doing this ensures that you won’t just reach the unreachable spots but that the powder will actually cover a lot of surface area as it settles down. Keep in mind, however, that these powders are still insecticides so you shouldn’t blow them with your mouth – use a powder blower, as well as protective gear such as a face mask and goggles.

Active ingredients in ant baits

The active ingredient in ant bait is the insecticide that’s doing the actual work. Without an active ingredient – or with an ineffective one – you’ll essentially be feeding your ant guests a hearty meal. The opposite alternative – a very effective and fast-killing active ingredient – is also not great as it will kill the ant scouts or workers that consume the bait too quickly and won’t leave them enough time to return to their colony. Such a fast-acting insecticide will essentially turn the bait into an on-contact exterminating bait which is still good but is not nearly as good as a slow-acting bait that can devastate an entire colony.

Of course, just as there are thousands of different types of ants there are also many different active ingredients you can use. Some are broad-spectrum insecticides that are meant to target as many ant species (and other insects as well) as possible, while other insecticides are designed to target specific types of ants that are known to be more resistant.

Species like carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, and the infamous red fire ants usually have special insecticides and products designed to target them in particular.

Here are some of the most popular active ingredients you might find in commercial ant baits:

  • Bifenthrin – moderately toxic to humans and mammals when ingested but with no listed long-term exposure effects.
  • Borate – an inorganic insecticide with a low level of toxicity and no long-term effects.
  • Cypermethrin – moderately toxic to humans and mammals when ingested. It’s also listed by the EPA as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Hydramethylnon – slightly toxic upon direct contact and listed in the California Proposition 65 as carcinogenic.
  • Lambda-cyhalothrin – moderately toxic to humans and mammals, and very toxic to honey bees.
  • Pyrethrin – slightly toxic upon contact and with no long-term exposure effects.
  • Silica gel – very low toxicity levels, however, it is listed by the California Proposition 65 as carcinogenic when inhaled in large quantities and/or over a large period of time.

Of course, there are lots of other types of insecticides and pesticides that can be used in ant baits. Whichever you choose, it’s always strongly advisable to use protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a face mask.

Additionally, keeping pets and kids away from the bait is always a must – even the least toxic ant bait can cause physical problems in a mammal when ingested or inhaled in large enough quantities or over prolonged periods of time.

Ant bait buying guide

As you can see, the diversity in ant baits is quite significant – possibly more so than you might have imagined before starting this article. This diversity is vital as it allows you to pick and choose the perfect ant bait for any situation but it also makes the choice itself much harder. Obviously, we all would have loved it if there was just one kill-all insecticide bait that worked perfectly against all ants and insects while miraculously being 100% harmless to us and our families. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

So, to make the best choice you can, here are several steps and considerations to keep in mind before making a purchase:

  • Consider the type of ant you’re trying to exterminate. For example, if you’re having problems with carpenter ants, granular ant baits containing abamectin as their active ingredient are a popular and effective choice. If you are battling red imported fire ants instead, baits using hydramethylnon and/or an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR-Methoprene) are usually the best way to go about it. More often than not you will probably want to choose a broad-spectrum insecticide, but if you can, researching the type of ant you’re having and what works best against it is advisable.
  • Consider the situations you’re going to use the bait in. As we said – granular ant bait is usually best for outdoor purposes, while liquid, gel, and powder ant baits are preferable for most indoor situations. If you know or suspect that you have ants in your walls, a powder bait should be the way to go, while gel and liquid ant baits are perfect for targeted treatments of specific open areas.
  • Consider the presence of kids or pets. If you have pets or small children, choosing the right bait is important. Properly applying the bait in locations where your kids or pets can’t reach is important as well, but if possible try to pick a bait that’s as harmless for mammals as possible. Pets, in particular, can easily smell and notice the bait, and then try to eat it. Also, keep in mind that faster acting baits will likely leave a lot of dead insects lying around your home. Consuming these insects can also lead to contamination and poisoning.
  • Consider where in your home you’ll need to use the bait. Baits with strong insecticides as their active ingredients are best not used near food produce. Unfortunately, the kitchen is often a place where you need to use ant bait. So, while there are a lot of safety guidelines that need to be followed when using ant baits near food, it’s also smart to pick an insecticide that’s as safe as possible anyway.
  • Consider how much of the insecticide you’re going to need. Quantity matters. And while the main benefit of slow-acting ant baits is that even a bit of them can wipe out huge chunks of a colony, the fact remains that ants reproduce with astonishing speeds so you’ll often need a fair bit of insecticide to get the job done.
  • Consider using several different types of ant bait. As we mentioned above, ants have varying tastes, as well as different resistances to some active ingredients. So, using at least several different baits and insecticides simultaneously can drastically increase the speed of the whole process.
  • Consider the overall price. While we certainly wouldn’t recommend putting price over effectiveness because an ant infestation that’s left unchecked for long enough can be quite costly, the overall price is still to be considered. When comparing the prices of different products don’t just look at the flat number but instead consider how many treatments each bait will be good for, how long they are going to last, how effective they’ll be, and how all this correlates to their price.
  • Consider the brand of the ant baits. Branding isn’t everything but if you don’t have much else to go on it can still point you in a relatively smart direction. Some of the brands we’d recommend you steer towards include: Combat, Terro, HomePlus, Maxforce, Hot Shot, Victor, and Spectracide.

Ant killer bait usage tips

As with any other insecticide control tool, there are quite a lot of tips and guidelines that you should follow for maximum effectiveness and safety. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Locate the most common ant trails. Sure, ant scouts will often traverse unknown grounds in search for new food sources but it’s still much more efficient to place the bait on known ant trails. This will ensure that lots of ant workers will find it and bring it back home to their queen and her offspring.
  • Plant the ant bait on any hole, crack or crevice you can find in your home, even if you’re not sure whether ants go through it.
  • Keep an eye on the bait and once it’s been consumed replace it immediately. Not only will this increase the speed with which you’ll be able to deal with the colony but leaving a trail “un-baited” for long can cause the ants to abandon it entirely and form a new trail.
  • If, alternatively, the bait is left intact, move it to another location and try using a new bait together with it. Either the ants haven’t found it or they are just not interested in that particular bait.
  • When baiting outdoors you should either use water-resistant ant bait granules or use bait stations to keep the bait safe from the rain and the elements.
  • Do not use ant repellents or fast-killing insecticides near the bait as this will ruin their effectiveness. You can use repellents in places that are further away from the baits to try and force the ants to switch trails but that’s usually pointless – you use baits there as well.

Expert tips

Don’t place ant baits directly on top of an ant hill. Instead, bait near the ant hill as this way it will be much more likely that the ants will find the bait.

  • Clean your home and property of all other possible food sources. The less other food alternatives there are around the more likely the ants will be to go to the ant baits.
  • Use protective gear when applying ant baits, particularly when using ant bait powders. Things such as gloves, a face mask, and goggles may seem unnecessary at times but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • When choosing the locations for ant baits don’t just think about their effectiveness but keep safety in mind as well. If you have kids or pets, it’s best to bait locations that are unreachable for them.
  • Be careful not to wash the bait away while cleaning.

Other ant killing products to consider

Another type of ant killing products that’s a close alternative to ant baits is residual action sprays. These products are similar to baits in that they use slow-acting insecticides that take a while to kill the insect, thus giving it time to return to its colony (opposite to kill-on-contact sprays that are meant to be sprayed directly on the ants). The difference between residual ant killing sprays and ant baits is twofold:

  • Residual sprays are not baited so the ants won’t be drawn to them. Instead, you’ll have to use the spray in such places where the ants will have to pass through – nooks, holes, crevices, and other entry points into your home where you know ants go through.
  • Residual sprays are not consumed directly by the ants. Instead, the ants get them on their legs and body as they walk over them. This means that the insecticide will either have to pass through the external shell of the ant (which usually involves compromising the shell itself and hampering the ant’s ability to absorb moisture from the air) or the ant will consume the insecticide as it cleans itself. Either way, once the ant is contaminated and it returns to the colony, it will usually contaminate the other ants through direct contact, with its feces, as well as with its corpse. This is usually less effective than ant baits as with them the ants will often bring the bait itself to the colony as well, thus allowing much more ants to get contaminated at once.
ant spray

DUANGJAN JITMART/Shutterstock.com

All in all, ant baits seem like the more effective products in the majority of situations. Residual ant killing sprays are not without their uses, however, as they can usually last for weeks without any need for reapplication. This means that you can spray a large quantity of such a spray in your home and leave it like this for a couple of weeks. This is a good option if you were planning on traveling anyway or if you don’t leave in the house at the moment anyway.

Conclusion

In this article, we have reviewed the best ant baits currently out there on the market. So if you suffer from periodic ant or other pest infestations at your place, get out there and grab one of these products, they really work wonders at turning your home into a totally ant-free zone.

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