After thorough research, the InsectCop team has independently hand-picked the products presented on this page. However, when you click on any of the affiliate links within the article, we may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Best Ant Killer Sprays

Whenever ants get a sniff of stray food lying about your house, they are drawn to it like moths to a flame. A household ant invasion can be a real nuisance, making your home look unsightly, causing damage to property and pets, and it can even leave bad smell behind. It is therefore very important to be able to contain your ant problem before things get out of hand. And a good idea is to take action with ant sprays because of the formula of slow-acting insecticides that contaminates the worker ants but leave them alive for long enough so that they can return to their colony and spread the insecticide there as well.

Whenever ants get a sniff of stray food lying about your house, they are drawn to it like moths to a flame. A household ant invasion can be a real nuisance, making your home look unsightly, causing damage to property and pets, and it can even leave bad smell behind. It is therefore very important to be able to contain your ant problem before things get out of hand. And a good idea is to take action with ant sprays because of the formula of slow-acting insecticides that contaminates the worker ants but leave them alive for long enough so that they can return to their colony and spread the insecticide there as well.

BEST ANT SPRAY BARRIER

Ortho Home Defense (2pack)

This insect killer spray kills not only ants but various other target insects that bothering you and your family!

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BEST REPELLENT SPRAY

Cedarcide Original

Spray that is made of essential oils helps you to not get in touch with ants, especially with fire ants, during the outside activities.

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BEST ORGANIC

Wondercide Insect Spray

An organic product that is safe around children, pregnant mothers and animals – all you need for safe ant elimination.

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1

Ortho Home Defense (2 pack)

BEST ANT SPRAY BARRIER
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Use with caution if you have children and pets around

Review

Turn your home into an ant-free zone with the Ortho MAX Insect Killer. This product contains a powerful insecticide formula that is effective against ants, cockroaches, spiders, beetles, and other common household pests, you can use it in both indoor and outdoor settings and get equally good results either time. Fast acting, quick results are guaranteed with this indoor ant spray product. What’s more, after the initial insect infestation has been dealt with, this spray will keep you protected against future invasions for up to 12 months via the residue left by this product – it effectively creates a chemical barrier between your home and ants and other pests.

Other advantages of the Ortho MAX insect killer are that it leaves no mess or stains, and is odor free – your ants won’t know what has hit them, there is simply no way they can detect the presence of this insecticide, and thus no way they can evolve defense and means of avoiding it. Say goodbye to home infestations and keep them away for good with this product from Ortho, it’s one of the best ant pesticides of it’s kind out there today. Highly recommended.

Features:

  • Ready-to-use, home defense insect killer spray, protect your household against ants and other common household pests, including cockroaches, spiders, mites, beetles and more – it’s just about the best ant killer product out there today
  • Fast acting insecticide formula will rapidly eliminate your insect problem
  • The residue left by the insecticide leaves a chemical barrier protecting you against future invasions – up to 12 months’ protection provided by this product
  • Can spray on both indoor and outdoor surfaces, and get equally effective results either way; the insecticide will absorb into the ground thus targeting subterranean insects as well
  • Non-staining and mess free
  • Odor-free also, the bugs won’t know what’s hit them – there is simply no way they can detect the presence of this insecticide, and thus evolve defenses against it and means of avoiding it

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Ortho
  • Target insects: ants, cockroaches, spiders, stinkbugs, centipedes, mites
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 16 fluid ounces
  • Other features: stain free
2

Cedarcide Original

BEST REPELLENT SPRAY
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Some customers have complained about the smell
  • A little on the expensive side

Review

If you suffer from frequent insect infestations at home, then never fear! Whether it’s ants, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes or other common household pests, Cedarcide Original will take care of them all. It’s effective against insects at all stages of their lifespan, including the eggs. This ant spray product is also ready to use from the box and promises fast results with its all-cedar insecticide formula. Just spray in affected areas, both indoors and outside – you can even use it on your pets to protect them against fleas and lice.

Not only that but the residue of this natural insecticide forms a bug barrier that provides long-lasting chemical protection to your household against ants and other pests. Another impressive feature: because of the all natural ingredients, this is one non-toxic ant spray that is safe to use around your children and pets – a property that most products of this sort out there on the market today can’t boast of. It’s one of the most eco-friendly ant killer sprays out there as well. It leaves a pleasant cedar scent, and with no mess or stains to clean up afterward, this product ticks the cleanliness box as well. You will never be harassed by home pests again once you buy the Cedarcide Original, for long-lasting protection against pests of all kinds you can’t go past it. Go out and grab a bottle for your house today.

Features:

  • All natural cedar ant killer spray, protect you and your loved ones against incursions by ants, cockroaches, lice, fleas and other common household pests. If you are looking for the best insecticide for ants going around on the market at the moment, then you could do a lot worse than choose this product
  • Cedar all-natural organic insecticide, good for the environment and safe to use around children and pets
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside – you can even use it on your pets in order to protect them against fleas, ticks, and lice
  • Fast acting with quick results guaranteed, kill ants in yard rapidly using this product
  • The residue forms a long-lasting chemical bug barrier protecting you against future insect problems
  • Leaves a pleasant and fresh cedar scent
  • Stain and mess free

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Cedar
  • Active ingredients: cedar
  • Target insects: ants, flea, ticks, lice, mosquitoes
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: Yes
  • Net volume: 32 fluid ounces
  • Other features: stain-free
3

Wondercide Insect Spray

BEST ORGANIC
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Doesn’t provide particularly long-lasting residual protection compared to some of the other products reviewed here
  • A little bit on the expensive side also

Review

Comprehensive home and garden pest control are right at your fingertips with this insect pray from Wondercide. Say goodbye to ants, fleas, ticks, lice, earwigs, cockroaches, spiders, moths, silverfish and other common household pests and all with a 100% natural organic insecticide formula containing only FDA-approved Human Food Grade Material. Few ant killer sprays are as eco-friendly and child- and pet-safe as this one. Use it inside in your cupboards and pantries, around crevices and cracks, or outdoors in the garden and around your house – you will get equally good results either way. You can even spray this non-toxic ant spray on plants including vegetables and fruit trees, for it also doubles up as a treatment for various fungal diseases including black spot, mildew, brown rot, and others.

After the initial application, the cedar residual aroma left by this product creates a virtual chemical barrier protecting against future outbreaks – it will be up to six weeks before you need to re-apply this product. There are lots of ant killer sprays out there on the market today, but few compare with this offering from Wondercide. If you are looking for the best way to kill ants out there today, this product just about takes the cake. It’s well and truly worth the investment of time and money.

Features:

  • All-natural insect control spray, protect your home against ants, fleas, ticks, lice, earwigs, cockroaches, spiders, moths, and other household pests
  • 100% organic, all-natural insecticide formula, it contains ONLY FDA-approved Human Food Grade Material
  • Fully child and pet safe
  • Can use both indoors and outside
  • Doubles up as an effective treatment for various fungal diseases, you can spray it on all your plants including vegetables and fruit trees
  • Fast acting, the residue also provides long-lasting protection against future insect invasions – it will be at least six weeks before you need to re-apply this product
  • Stain-free and leaves a pleasant cedar odor

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Wondercide
  • Active ingredients: organic, food grade oils
  • Target insects: ants, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, lice, earwigs, moths, silverfish
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: Yes
  • Net volume: 32 fluid ounces
  • Other features: mess-free, effective fungal treatment

Other products to consider

4

Cutter Backyard Bug Control

BEST BACKYARD SPRAY
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Suitable for outdoor use only
  • The residual chemical barrier is not as long lasting as some of the products reviewed here

Review

Hit common household pests for 6 with this 6-pack of backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate from Cutter. This product is effective against all manner of pests that like to take up residence around your property including ants, beetles, lice, fleas, ticks, spiders and more. Effective on landscapes, lawns, concrete and other outdoor surfaces, the hose end sprayer makes treating your entire lawn a breeze with this ant repellent spray – you can rapidly treat up to 5000 square feet of lawn with this product.

You can also use the Cutter Bug Control Spray Concentrate flowers and plants. No need to worry about your children or pets coming to harm either, this product makes use of ingredients that are certified as fully safe. After the initial application, the residue from this product also provides long-lasting residual protection against pests as well, it will be 12 weeks before you need to re-apply this product. And it is also odor free and with no stains or mess to clean up afterward either. Ants, fleas, ticks and other pests will never ruin your indoor or outdoor experience again once you’re armed with this ant spray from Cutter. It ticks all the right boxes.

Features:

  • Comprehensive outdoor pest control, keep ants, mosquitoes, fleas, beetles, flies, ticks, lice, aphids and more from ruining your outdoor living spaces by using this product. It is just about the best ant repellent you will encounter
  • Spray onto lawns, landscapes, concretes, plants and flowers
  • Hose end sprayer means you can quickly treat your entire lawn with this product – pray up to 5000 square feet of lawn with it
  • Safe to use around children and your pets
  • Chemical residue left by this product forms a long-lasting barrier protecting you against future pest invasions – it will be up to 12 weeks before you need to re-apply it
  • Odor free and with no mess or stains to clean up afterward

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Cutter
  • Active ingredients: lambda-cyhalothrin
  • Target insects: ants, fleas, ticks, lice, mosquitoes, beetles, grubs, aphids
  • Where can be used: outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: Yes
  • Net volume: 32 fluid ounces
5

Spectracide Triazicide Killer

BEST FOR LAWNS AND LANDSCAPES
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • It has received rather mixed reviews as to its’ effectiveness
  • Not for indoor use, it is an outdoor ant killer spray only
  • Not really safe to use with children and pets roaming around

Review

Enjoy long-lasting outdoor pest control using a simple spray bottle with this product from Spectracide, it protects you and your property against over 250 listed insects, including ants, lice, earwigs, beetles, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and many, many more. Killing on contact, simply spray on your lawn, landscaping, trees, bushes, flower, or shrubs – you can effectively treat up to 5,120 square feet of backyard lawn using a single bottle of this stuff. Simply attach the spray bottle to a hose and you are ready to go. And it leaves a powerful chemical residue that forms an enduring bug barrier protecting you against future invasions after the initial infestation has been dealt with – it will be up to 3 months before you need to re-apply this ant repellent spray, making it one of the longest lasting ant killers sprays out there on the market today.

The formula is specifically designed so that it absorbs into the soil, thus killing insects both above ground and below. Spectracide have really scored a home run with this ant killer spray of theirs’, it’s one of the best ant killer products of this sort out there today. Run out and grab one for your place.

Features:

  • Outdoor pest control, turn your lawns and landscaping into a bug-free zone with this ant killer spray from Spectracide. It is just about the best way to kill ants out there on the market at current
  • Kills 250 plus listed insects on contact, including ants, mosquitoes, lice, ticks, fleas, earwigs, ticks, crickets and many more
  • Spray onto your lawns, landscaping, trees, shrubs, bushes, and flower – attach the spray bottle to the end of a hose and you can treat up to 5120 square feet of lawn with this product
  • Leaves a powerful chemical residue that provides enduring protection against future bug invasions after the initial problem has been dealt with – it will up to 3 months before you need to re-apply this product
  • The formula is specially designed to be able to absorb into the soil, thus dealing with insects both above ground and below
  • Odor and stain free

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Spectracide
  • Target insects: ants, beetles, earwigs, lice, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, crickets and more
  • Where can be used: outdoors
  • Kid-safe: No
  • Pet safe: No
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 32 fluid ounces
  • Other features: long lasting residual protection (3 months)
6

EcoRaider Ant Killer

BEST FOR INDOORS AND OUTDOORS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • The residual protection left by the spray is not quite as long lasting as some of the products reviewed here

Review

If you want to eliminate household pests quickly and in a way which is non-toxic and good for the environment, then you could do a lot worse than choose this offering from EcoRaider. Synthesized from organically extracted insecticidal compounds that resemble all-natural essential oils, this outdoor ant killer is effective against ants, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, moths, spiders, silverfish, stink bugs, crickets, beetles, dermestids, gnats, millipedes, midges, springtails, and a number of other household pests. Suitable for use both inside and outside, simply spray onto the surface, or into the cracks and crevices to be treated, and EcoRaider’s unique ant killer formula will do the rest.

It kills fast and the chemical residue forms an effective and long-lasting chemical barrier protecting you against further incursions by insects. As it is made from all-natural ingredients, this is one ant killer spray that is eco-friendly, and also fully safe to use around the children and pets in your household. Odorless and fast-drying, there are no stains or smells to contend with when using this product either. This unique insecticide formula from Ecoraider will kill insects, fast, it’s also eco-friendly and fully safe to use around pets and children. It has everything you could ask for in a natural ant spray, so go out and grab one today. You won’t regret this purchase.

Features:

  • Eco-friendly insect control is at your fingertips with the Ecoraider ant killer, it will protect your household against all manner of common pests
  • Effective against ants, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, moths, spiders, silverfish, stink bugs, crickets, beetles, dermestids, gnats, millipedes, midges, springtails
  • 100% eco-friendly, the active ingredients are formulated from organically extracted insecticidal compounds that resemble natural essential oils
  • Fast acting, it kills on contact – simply spray it onto the surface to be treated
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside
  • After the initial application, long-lasting chemical protection is provided by virtue of the residue left by the spray
  • Safe to use around your children and pets
  • Odor free and with no stains to clean up afterward

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: EcoRaider
  • Active ingredients: organically extracted insecticidal compounds
  • Target insects: ants, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, moths, spiders, silverfish, stink bugs, crickets, beetles, dermestids, gnats, millipedes, midges, springtails
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
7

Orange Guard spray

GOOD ALTERNATIVE FOR OUTDOORS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • A little bit on the expensive side
  • Doesn’t protect you against as many different kinds of insects as some of the other products reviewed in this article
  • Some consumers complain that you have to really drench the bugs in this ant killer spray to get effective results – you will probably go through a bottle of this stuff pretty quickly

Review

Broad-ranging protection against common household pests is yours for the taking with this pest control spray from Orange Guard. Kills insects outright, including all manner of ants, fleas and cockroaches, then keeps them away via the residue left by the spray. It’s made from all-natural organic ingredients – the main active ingredient is D-Limonene (derived from orange peel oil) – and so is eco-friendly and safe to use in areas inhabited by your children and pets; you can also spray it in areas where you store your food. Use Orange Guard’s outdoor ant spray both indoors and outside- you can spray this product in cupboards and cabinets, in cracks and crevices, and on top of your lawn and landscaping. No insect will escape from it!

Fast acting, this ant killer spray kills outright, and via the chemical residue left by the spray, it also keeps the insects away for several months before re-application is required. Odor free, it dries quickly as well, leaving no smells or stains that have to be removed afterward. All in all, this pest control spray from Orange Guard kills all common household pests outright then keeps them away, it’s the only ant killer spray you will ever need.

Features:

  • An all-natural pest control ant killer spray will rapidly eliminate all ants, fleas, and cockroaches that are taking over your home. It is one of the best ant spray offerings available on the market
  • All-natural, organic ingredients – the main active ingredient in this outdoor ant killer product is D-Limonene (derived from orange peel oil)
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside
  • Fast acting, it kills insects outright and on contact
  • Chemical residue left by the spray also provides long-lasting protection against future insect invasions
  • Odor free
  • Dries fast, no stains to clean up afterward

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Orange Guard
  • Active ingredients: D-Limonene (orange peel oil)
  • Target insects: ants, fleas, cockroaches
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 32 fluid ounces
8

Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray

FAST ACTING SPRAY
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Some customers complain that it does not work against cockroaches
  • Not as long lasting as some of the other products of this sort out there

Review

Defend your home against invasive pests with the Eco-Defense organic insect killer spray. Effective against ants, cockroaches, spiders, fleas, scorpions, silverfish, earwigs, mites and other creepy crawlies, this ant killer spray is made from 100% all-natural, eco-friendly and non-toxic ingredients. As a result, it is fully safe to spray in areas inhabited by your children and pets – in fact, the only creatures this product poses a danger to are the ants and other pests themselves! Suitable for use both indoors and outside your home, this product is fast acting but at the same time long lasting; the insecticidal residue creates a chemical barrier against future insect incursions that won’t have to be renewed for a long time to come.

Perhaps the best things about this ant killer spray are that it is a totally risk-free investment! It comes with 100%, 60 days money back guarantee, so if you are in any way dissatisfied with your purchase, you can return it to the manufacturer and get a full refund, no questions asked. In summary, your home will be free of pests for months and even years to come after this product from Eco-Defense is through with it, it’s one of the best ant killers spray out there on the market right now.

Features:

  • Beat back home insect invasions with this ant insecticide from Eco-Defense, it is one of the best natural ant spray products of its kind out there on the market today
  • Effective against ants, spiders, cockroaches, fleas, earwigs, ticks, stink bugs, mites, silverfish, scorpions and more
  • Made from 100% organic, all natural ingredients it is one of the most environmentally friendly ant killers sprays out there right now
  • Safe to use around children and pets
  • Fast acting, it kills on contact
  • Long lasting, the chemical residue left by this spray forms a virtual bug barrier protecting you against future insect invasions
  • Comes with a 100%, 60 days money back guarantee – if you are in any way dissatisfied with your purchase, return to the manufacturer and get a full refund, no questions asked

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Eco-Defense
  • Active ingredients: organic oils
  • Target insects: ants, cockroaches, spiders, fleas, scorpions, silverfish, earwigs, mites
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 16 fluid ounces
9

Hot Shot 95846

BEST FOR INDOORS
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Not as comprehensive as some of the other products reviewed in this article in terms of what kind of insects it protects you against

Review

Last but certainly not least in this review article we have this superb offering from Hot Shot. Their all-natural home insect spray will give the boot to ants, spiders, cockroaches and other household pests, killing them outright, and then keeping them away for months at a stretch via the chemical residue left by this outdoor ant spray. No harmful insecticidal residues to deal with there, the active ingredient in this product is lemongrass oil, a completely organic, non-toxic natural substance. Indeed, this ant insecticide product is fully safe to use around your pets and children – you can even spray it in areas where you store food, like your pantry or kitchen cabinets, or the vegetable patch and any fruit trees you’ve got outside. Suitable for use both indoors and outside, it’s also odor free and dry fast leaving no unsightly stains.

We’ve reviewed some pretty good ant killer sprays in this article, and this offering from Hot Shot is certainly no exception. It’s one of the best ant killer sprays out there today, and a great note on which to round out this list. Well worth the investment of your time and money.

Features:

  • All-natural insecticide spray, effective against all ants, cockroaches, and spiders – this is just about the best pesticide for ants products going around at the moment
  • Lemongrass oil active ingredient, 100% organic, non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Kills bugs outright, then keeps them away for months at a stretch via the chemical residue left by the spray
  • Safe to use around children and animals – you can also spray it in areas where you store food, like your pantry or kitchen cabinet – and outside on the vegetable patch or on the fruit trees in your yard
  • Odor free
  • Dries fast and leaves no unsightly stains that have to be cleaned up afterward
  • Suitable for use both indoors and outside

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Hot Shot
  • Active ingredients: lemongrass oil
  • Target insects: ants, cockroaches, spiders,
  • Where can be used: both indoors and outdoors
  • Kid safe: Yes
  • Pet safe: Yes
  • Residue: Yes
  • Odor/scent: No
  • Net volume: 16 fluid oil

Types of ants

The types of ants we have just spoken about are ‘outdoor ants’ – so called because they establish their colonies in the outdoors. But they can still be drawn to the inside of your home by the tempting aroma of food and water – becoming indoor ants for you only! The two main types of outdoor ant that you have to worry about are carpenter ants and fire ants. The former nest and form colonies near wood and trees – like the firewood you keep near your home. As for fire ants, they are known and so-called because of their painful bites, the experience of which has been said to be akin to having one’s skin burnt by flame. They usually nest deep underground, though their presence can also be detected by the fluffiness of the soil at the surface. If your home is invaded by fire ants, this is very serious as they pose a great risk to your pets and children, and can also damage your property, including the wiring.

What damage can ants cause to your property?

If ants invade and colonize the inside of your home, they can eat your food, damage the structures of your house – including the wiring – leave unpleasant smells, and bite your pets and children. Their presence will also detract from the appearance of your home.

Different types of ant killers

The concept behind ant killer products is very simple. They contain an insecticide that poisons ants – as well as other common household pests.

Some of them do so by killing the ants outright as soon as they ingest, others are designed to keep them alive just long enough for them to transmit the insecticide to the other members of the colony via the food they bring back to their brethren.

Some ant killers work by employing some form of ‘bait’ which is intended to attract the ants to the poison; others simply kill the ants upon contact – because they are odorless the pests cannot detect the trap and so cannot take steps to evade contact with it.

Ant killers come in lots of different forms. Some of the more common ones include sprays, liquids, gels, granule, and dust.

Liquids & Gels

Most of these products make use of a sweet solution that is designed to attract ants, before killing them. Because they don’t have absorbent properties, they are often applied with the aid of a syringe that is used to access cracks and crevices where ants may be lurking.

ant gel bait

Svetlana Elchueva/Shutterstock.com

Solid baits

These come in the form of granules or ‘dust’ that you spread across the lawn or other areas where ants are known to be present. They contain food which attracts the ants and which the ants carry back to the colony, infecting their brethren

Sprays

Usually contained in an aerosol can, this type of insecticide-containing ant killer can be sprayed directly onto trails of ants spotted around your home, or in the areas where ants are known to nest or otherwise hang around. Unlike liquids and gels and solid bait products, the spray naturally absorbs into the ground, and so it is able to access subterranean-dwelling pests that the former are not able to. Also, ant killer sprays are not a ‘bait’ product that relies on luring ants with food or an enticing smell. Rather they are designed so that they are odorless and non-detectable by insects; that way, the ants will have no idea they are in the presence of poison, and won’t be able to evolve defenses against it and means of bypassing the bait.

Another advantage of sprays is that the wide-ranging chemical residue will not only kill ants that come into contact with it but also form a long-lasting chemical barrier preventing future infestations. Different insecticide sprays work against different species of ants, so be sure when purchasing an ant killer spray to get one that will work against the specific type of ant that is causing you problems.

Ant killer sprays

Sprays that kill the whole ant colony

These non-repellent, slow-acting, and usually called “residual” sprays are among the best tools in a homeowner’s arsenal when it comes to combating ants. A typical residual ant killer spray will last for at least a couple of weeks (up to a couple of months) after it’s been sprayed. This means that while the spray itself will dry off in a couple of hours, the insecticide in it will remain active on the sprayed location in the form of miniature, sticky insecticide particles. These insecticides are usually harmless to mammals unless they are directly ingested or inhaled, but they are deadly to insects.

Unlike ant baits that are designed to attract the worker ants to themselves, residual ant killer sprays don’t have this effect. Instead, they are designed to be as unnoticeable as possible so that the ants can simply walk over them accidentally.

Once the ant passes over the sprayed surface, the miniature particles of the spray will stick to its legs and body. Depending on the active ingredient used it will either start poisoning the ant through its external shell (usually be disrupting its ability to absorb moisture from the air) or the ant will have to ingest the insecticide as it cleans itself later on.

In a while, the contaminated ant will return to its colony and it will either: 1) contaminate other ants by direct contact, 2) contaminate the food it was carrying and touching, 3) contaminate other insects through its now contaminated feces, 4) contaminate other ants with its corpse once it dies inside the colony.

This may all sound rather gruesome but it’s nevertheless one of the most effective solutions to most ant problems. Still, it should be noted as these sprays are not bait in and of themselves, they should be sprayed cleverly on locations that ants are likely to traverse frequently – on their ant trails, on or around their entry points into your home, etc.

Also, keep in mind that while these sprays are designed to be as safe for mammals and people as possible, it’s still very important to avoid direct contact. It’s strongly advisable to spray them in locations where kids or pets won’t accidentally touch them, where you won’t accidentally wash them off. It’s also very important to use protective gear when spraying in the form of goggles, a face mask, and rubber gloves.

Sprays that kill ants on-contact and repel them

Alternatively, on-contact ant kill sprays work in a very different way. They include the same delivery mechanism – a liquid spray that can be applied directly on ants or on their trails, and that dries off after a while. However, these sprays don’t have a residual effect and typically stop working very quickly. They also employ a much more fast-acting insecticide active ingredient which prevents them from affecting the ants inside the colony in any meaningful way.

There are also some on-contact sprays that do have residual properties and can last for quite some time. They are still considered on-contact sprays, however, because they still employ a fast-acting insecticide formula.

A fair question to ask is why would anyone use on-contact sprays over the more efficient residual killer sprays? After all, while one will kill only several worker ants, the other stands a chance at wiping out the entire colony. Well, there are still a couple of things that go in favor of on-contact sprays:

  • They often act as effective repellents. Where residual sprays are designed to be unnoticeable for the ants so that they keep walking over them, on-contact sprays tend to repel a lot of the ants that see their co-workers die. This is effective if you want to keep ants off your property instead of just trying to exterminate a new colony every year after the nest of the old colony has been repopulated by a new queen.
  • They don’t leave a residual insecticide for your pets or kids to accidentally touch or lick. Leaving residual insects on the kitchen window where your cat, dog or child likes to sit is a risky action to take. Instead, on-contact sprays with no residual effects will expire much sooner and leave the surface safe for people and pets.

Active ingredients explained

There are literally thousands of active ingredients that can be used in an ant killer spray. This is thanks to the fact that a lot of the synthetically derived insecticides have been created in thousands of different forms during testing. Pyrethroids, for example, which are the synthetic alternative to the natural Pyrethrins alone are a group of thousands of sub-types. So, while we can’t list every possible insecticide, let’s at least point out that it’s important to watch for several things:

  1. Whether the insecticide is fast acting or slow acting,
  2. How toxic it is to humans and mammals upon direct skin contact,
  3. Whether there are any long-term exposure side effects even without direct skin contact.

Fast acting insecticide ingredients in on-contact kill sprays:

  • Organophosphates – this is the most widely used insecticide today. It works by damaging the acetylcholinesterase enzyme in the insects’ bodies. This halts their nervous system and kills them almost on-contact.
  • Pyrethrins – this natural insecticide is derived from some chrysanthemum flowers. It’s a very fast acting active ingredient with a broad spectrum of uses.
  • Pyrethroids – this is a group of artificially synthesized insecticides that are similar to the naturally derived Pyrethrins. They too are fast-acting and can be used against a broad spectrum of insects.
    Slow acting insecticide ingredients in residual kill sprays:
  • Carbamates – an organic insecticide derived from carbamic acid (NH2COOH). These are a slow-acting active ingredient that takes up to 24 hours to kill the contaminated insect.
  • Bifenthrin – a slow-acting insecticide with moderate toxicity to humans and mammals upon direct contact. It has no long-term exposure effects if direct contact is avoided.
  • Hydramethylnon – This slow acting and synthetically derived insecticide has a slightly toxic effect on mammals upon direct contact. It is also listed in the California Proposition 65 as a carcinogenic.

Ant killer sprays buying guide

Ideally, you want a product that will not be washed away by rain or otherwise contaminated by external environmental conditions, reducing its overall effectiveness. When you buy an ant killer spray, you probably also are better off with a product that will not only deal with the existing ant infestation but will also prevent future insect incursion due to the chemical residue left by the spray. Check the label of your product to see how long the residual chemical barrier left by your spray is claimed to effective for – the longer the amount of protection provided, the less money you will have to spend dealing with future ant infestations.

Be careful!

The insecticides contained in ant killer sprays can cause serious harm to your pets and children if you do no take the proper care.

Some insecticides are safer than others, a few of them are actually advertised as child and pet safe, so choose wisely here if you have little ones scampering around at your home.

Ants may seem harmless enough creatures – compared to termites, say – but they can still cause you a lot of hassles. If ants have already made great inroads upon your territory, then decisive action is required, and there are few better options than a good ant killer spray.

So, to summarize, which are the factors to consider when buying an ant killer spray:

  • Do you need an on-contact ant killer spray or one with a residual effect? The former act mostly as repellents while the latter gives you a fighting chance at wiping out the entire ant colony. While the latter is often preferred as it is more decisive, simply repelling the ant invasion with an on-contact kill spray has its merits from time to time.
  • Do you need to be wary about the toxicity of the spray? If you have pets or children it is of the utmost importance that you are careful with what you apply to your home. Many insecticides have devastating effects on mammal biology when directly touched, consumed or inhaled. Additionally, some insecticides are harmful even without such direct contact but simply due to prolonged aerial exposure. Knowing what you buy, what you’re going to use it for, and what you’ll need to look out for are all essential considerations here.
  • Does the spray you are about to buy has a noticeable odor? Some sprays are completely odorless while others have a significant smell. If you are about to spray them in an inhabitable area (such as a garage or a crawl space) the smell might not be a problem but it could be significant in the kitchen.
  • Does the residual spray stain certain fabrics and surfaces? Some residual insecticides are so strong that they can damage the surface they are sprayed upon. This is rare with ant killer sprays but it’s still to be looked out for.
  • What is the price/quantity/residual longevity of the spray? Don’t just look at the flat price of the product but also consider how many applications it will be enough for, as well as how long each application will last (in the case of a residual spray). This correlation will give you a more accurate idea as to how much you’ll be paying compared to other products.
  • What is the brand of each product? Branding is not a sole factor that should drive your purchase as there are a lot of famous brands that sell sub-par products and a lot of unknown brands that offer great quality. Still, if you are at a loss as to what to do, keeping the brand in consideration can still point you in a good direction. Here are some of the brands we’d recommend: Wondercide, EcoRaider, Ortho, Cutter, Cedarcide, Eradicator, Orange Guard, Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eco-Defense.

Conclusion

Beat back ants and other irksome common household pests trying to make incursions on your territory – then keep them away – using one of the ant killers sprays reviewed in this article. All of these products are fasting acting and deliver long-lasting residual protection against future insect invaders; most of them are also made from eco-friendly ingredients and are fully safe to use around pets and children. There are some really great products here – so go out and grab one for your household, and turn it into a pest-free zone today!

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