You keep your house clean, you use gentle natural ant repellents, but they just keep coming back! You’ve got a chronic ant problem; what is the best ant killer to use against an ongoing infestation?
Best ant killer products
Choosing from the wide variety of available products can be confusing. Different products are best suited to different uses. To choose the best ant killer for your circumstances, you need to first understand the dynamics of ant infestations.
The ants that you see straggling–or swarming–through your house, whether in neat lines or ragged bunches, are only the symptom of an infestation, not the source. These ants are the foragers, who intrepidly head out to find food for the queen and other ants who wait back at the nest. Therefore, killing the ants you see will rarely solve an ant problem for good; more worker ants will continue to return, because they will follow the pheromone (chemical scent) trails of their predecessors. Only a very minor, incidental ant problem can be solved with a contact killer. Often, slow-acting poisons are nneeded to get to the root of the problem.
The big players in the market include Terro and Combat, as well as less famous products, such as Amdro or Ortho Home Defense, which also receive top-notch reviews.
Baits and gels
And baits and gels both eliminate ants by attracting ants to eat the bait food, and then carry poison back to their nests to destroy the colony. Both of these products will attract more ants initially, but this initial surge will lead to the colony being eradicated. Resist the urge to kill the ants that swarm the bait! They will deliver the poison to the rest of the colony.
Place baits near the ants trails or points of entry, and use gels in crack or crevices where they march. Keep all baits and gels away from anywhere children or pets might get hold of them, as they are toxic. (Wondering what “child-resistant” on the bait packaging means? Usually, that there are no fumes; you still don’t want your infant chewing on them!)
Expect to see an upsurge of ants the first couple of days after laying bait, but if all works correctly, you should see the infestation subside within a week. However, not all species will respond to every bait, so you may need to try other measures as well.
Aerosol sprays are the best ant killer in the sense that they are the most immediate way to kill ants, but they are not necessarily the best ant control method. Ants die on contact, but this means that they have no opportunity to carry the poison back to their nests; hence, spraying pesticide is a temporary measure. Also, most aerosol sprays contain active chemical ingredients that are toxic to humans and pets, and inhalation of fumes is virtually unavoidable.
A natural spray, such as Orange Guard, can effectively kill ants as well as providing a lasting deterrent to the ants’ return.
A variety of dusting products are available for ant control. These can rely on chemical or mechanical means to kill ants. For example, Delta dust uses deltamethrin, a chemical toxin, as its active ingredient. Chemical dusting products are toxic to mammals, and therefore need to be handled with care. They are only intended for use in cracks, crevices, or hollows where people and animals can’t access them. They are applied with a special duster.
Other dusts, such as diatomaceous earth, kill ants by drying out their exo-skeletons, and thus are not harmful to humans or pets. These can be used freely even in areas that are accessible, but care should still be taken not to ingest or inhale them inappropriately.
Insecticide dusts remain in place and retain their effectiveness for months at a time, so for many they are the best ant killer from the options available. However, they are not without their downsides, in terms of toxicity and ease of application.
Using the above information, it is important to correctly identify the species of ant that has infested your house, and then choose the best ant killer based on the variety of pest and the circumstances of your household.