14 Best Ant Killers for Your Home and Yard

Updated: Jun. 21, 2023

There are many ways to kill ants in and around your home and yard. Check out this rundown of the most effective.

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Ant on an appleJenny Dettrick/Getty Images

How To Kill Ants

When it comes to ridding your house or yard of an ant infestation, time is of the essence. Although ants rarely cause serious problems, they have the potential to damage property, sting or bite and carry diseases.

Whether you decide to DIY with a natural home remedy or commercial product or call in a professional exterminator for help, read on to learn about the best ways to kill ants.

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Ant Bait: TERRO PreFilled Liquid Ant Killer II

For minimal fuss, pre-filled liquid bait stations like TERRO PreFilled Liquid Ant Killer II are an effective and popular DIY ant killer. Simply place stations in and around your home and leave them.

The containers have tiny openings to keep paws and little hands from coming into contact with the bait. And because ants consume liquids easier than solids, they’re more likely to bring the bait back to the nest, wiping out the entire colony in less than a week.

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Ant Bait: Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

One advantage of ant baits is that they’re formulated for a certain type of ant, so they have little or no effect on non-targeted insects and organisms. A top pick for killing menacing fire ants that’s also safe for pets is Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait.

Strategically lay down the granular bait near mounds or wherever you see fire ants congregate. Expect elimination of the colony in a few days.

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Ant Bait: TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes

Bait stakes are an excellent defense against outdoor infestations. Placed directly into the soil, bait stakes zero in on ants you can see and those you can’t. Fast-acting TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes attract ants straight to the bait’s sugary liquid.

To use, snap off the activation tab and push the stake into the ground. Don’t forget to put a few near your home’s entrance for extra protection against interlopers. Here are nine myths about ants you need to stop believing.

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Ant Gel: Syngenta Optiguard Ant Bait Gel

Beyond being effective in killing ants, the fast-acting Syngenta Optiguard Ant Bait Gel comes in a plunger-style dispenser so you can spread the potent insecticide precisely where ant activity is heaviest.

No need to track down the nest. Insert the gel into cracks and crevices where it will be eaten by workers and later shared with the rest of the colony. It knocks out the workers, brood and queens. For indoor and outdoor use. Plus, these tips will help you to keep all pests away from your home.

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Ant Gel: Terro Liquid Ant Killer II

If you have a big property or a large infestation, Terro Liquid Ant Killer II, like the pre-filled Terro ant stations above, combines the power of borax with the convenience of a gel.

All you need to do is squeeze generous amounts of gel near scent trails and let ants go to town. In some cases, the entire colony will be dead within 48 hours.

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Ant Granules: AMDRO Ant Bait

Prevent more than 14 species of ants from taking over with highly-rated AMDRO Ant Baitwe’ve tried it! Sprinkle the small pellets on your lawn and around the perimeter of your property. We recommend using a broadcast spreader to distribute bait evenly.

The all-weather granules are water-resistant so there’s no need to reapply every time it rains. Be patient! AMDRO is slow-acting and can take up to a week or more to kill the colony. Don’t forget to check out these home remedies for ants.

Note: AMDRO is toxic and should not be applied around children, animals or in vegetable gardens.

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Ant Powder: Harris Diatomaceous Earth

Made from fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms, diatomaceous earth in its purified form is considered “food grade.” When ants ingest it, however, they become dehydrated and die.

Harris Diatomaceous Earth contains no harmful chemicals and is generally considered safe for pets. But because the dust can irritate nasal passages and lungs as well as exposed skin, it’s best to wear a mask and gloves when treating an area.

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Ant Spray: Orange Guard Home Pest Control Spray

Using biodegradable D-Limonene (orange peel oil) as its active ingredient, premixed Orange Guard Home Pest Control Spray not only kills ants but a whole host of other bugs, including fleas and cockroaches.

Water-based and organic, it’s safe around food, children and pets, plus it can be used inside and out. The downside: It’s not effective in destroying the colony. For that, baits are your best bet. Do you have flying ants or termites? Here’s the difference.

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Ant Spray: Raid Ant & Roach Killer Spray

Exterminating insects since 1956, Raid Ant & Roach Killer Spray kills ants on contact using a pair of strong chemical insecticides: imiprothrin and cypermethrin.

It’s a good option as a short-term fix for indoors. The manufacturer claims a residual effect that goes on killing for up to four weeks, but the jury is still out on that. Raid is straight-up poisonous and should be kept far away from food, children and pets. Plus, here’s how to ant-proof your hummingbird feeder.

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Ant Spray: TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer Spray

For a rapid way to knock down garden pests including carpenter ants, fire ants, cockroaches, spiders, boxelder bugs, etc., try TERRO Outdoor Ant Killer Spray.

Intended for outdoor use only before ants make their way into your home, it’s a great spot treatment for surfaces like foundations or garbage bins, or directly on trails and anthills. Apply it around the perimeter of your home to create a reliable barrier of protection.

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Cinnamon sticks in a bazaar
Bilal Kocabas/Shutterstock

Ant Natural Remedy: Cinnamon

In its ground structure, the odor of cinnamon repels ants. However, in its essential oil form, it actually kills them. The effectiveness of cinnamon as an extermination method depends on several factors, such as the potency of the oil and how and where it’s delivered.

A 2014 university study found that certain concentrations of cinnamon oil killed ants. With a little trial and error, so can you.

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Alexander Oganezov/Shutterstock

Ant Natural Remedy: Borax

The active ingredient in many commercially produced ant killers, borax can be found wherever cleaning products are sold.

Take the necessary steps to apply it safely and you can create homemade baits. Combine borax, sugar and water into a paste and place it inside sealed containers. Cut narrow openings on the lids to protect kids and pets from exposure. Hide the bait in corners of the house and yard and see results in less than a week.

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Moving Moment/Shutterstock

Ant Killing Myth No. 1: Cornmeal

Contrary to popular belief, cornmeal does not kill ants nor make them explode. In fact, ants LOVE cornmeal, so spreading it around the house is an open dinner invitation. Plus, here’s how ants know there are crumbs on your floor.

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jar of baking soda
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Ant Killing Myth No. 2: Baking Soda

In reality, baking soda is food to ants, plain and simple. But just because baking soda doesn’t repel and kill ants doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in other ways. Check out these 14 clever uses for baking soda at home.