Is your home being overrun by ants? Are you feeling ‘antagonized’? Ant sprays work to a degree, but when it’s an infestation you’re dealing with, ant bait is best.
Not sure what ant bait is? Don’t stress. We tell you what it is, how it works, and what you need to look out for when you’re choosing a product. And we review our top choices.
- Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder
- PestHunter Ultrasonic Pest Repellent
- Combat Max Outdoor and Indoor Ant Killing Gel
- Spectracide Ant Shield Outdoor Stakes
- Roach Busters Non-Toxic Eco-Friendly Cockroach Traps
- Hot Shot MaxAttrax Ant Bait (Our Top Pick)
- Raid Ant Gel
- Syngenta Optigard Gel
What is Ant Bait?
Ant bait is precisely that. It’s a pesticide that’s mixed with food or liquid, which attracts the ants. Unknowingly, workers carry the poison back to the nest, where it’s eaten by the rest of the colony.
Ant bait is particularly effective because it kills all the ants, including the queen and the larvae.
There are three types of ant bait:
- Liquid and gel baits
- powder or granules
- Enclosed baits
Liquid, gel, and powder ant baits can be used in and around the house, as well as outdoors. They’re especially good for getting in those hard to reach spots ants like to nest, like cracks, holes, and floorboards. And because it’s easy to apply, you can also use it around windows, on window sills, under doors and in between the frames.
Enclosed baits are less of a hassle to set up. Because they’re pre-packaged with the poison, you literally place them in the ground or on flat surfaces.
But before you rush out and buy your gel, powder, or enclosed bait, there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye. Carry on reading to find out what you should consider when selecting the right ant bait for your particular ant problem.
What to Consider Before Buying an Ant Bait?
You now know what ant bait is, how it works, and that there are three different types, but what makes one product better than the next? Not all ant baits are created equal, and what works well for John down the road, might not work for you. Let’s take a look at the most important features to consider before you buy.
What Kind of Ants Are You Dealing With?
No, we don’t mean red or black. There are approximately 12,000 ant species in the world, with around 700 in the US. And of those 700, there are eight that infest our homes. Depending on where you live, the most likely suspects are acrobat ants, crazy ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, Argentine ants, or field ants.
But when it comes to what they like to eat, there are two types; ants that like sugar and those that prefer protein. For bait to be effective, you need to know what kind of ant you’re dealing with so that they’re actually attracted to the bait. And if it’s carpenter ants you’re trying to get rid of, you’ll need one that’s specially formulated for them as they don’t like sugar or protein.
if you’re not sure what kind of infestation you have, choose an ant bait that targets multiple species.
Are You Wanting to Get Rid of Other Insects Too?
Are you trying to get rid of more than just ants? While some baits will only kill ants, there are others available that target a wide range of pests, including spiders, wasps, cockroaches, silverfish, and beetles.
Choosing a multi-insect pesticide or repellent will save you time and money in the long run.
Is It An Infestation You’re Dealing With?
Getting rid of a couple of ants in your kitchen is very different from getting rid of an infestation. If you see a few ants around, chances are they’re scouts. But if they find food, they’ll alert the rest of the colony, and then you’ll have a full-blown infestation.
In this instance, it’s best to use a fast-acting bait that kills them within 72 hours or less. But if it’s an infestation, then a time-delay bait is a better option. Why? Well, it gives the workers a chance to get the poison back to the nest, where the other ants are exposed to it. As a result, the entire colony, including the larvae and queen, will die.
Are the Ants Inside or Outdoors?
Ant baits for inside your home are different from what you’d use in your yard. For example, the ones for outdoors have a stake that allows you to anchor the trap in the ground. Also, outdoor ant baits will be weather and water-resistant.
If it’s a large lawn you’re treating, you’ll need a lot more than what you’d need for an infestation inside your house. And last, but by no means least, you’ll need to be a lot more careful with the kind of poison you use inside, especially around food, children, and pets.
Are There Children or Pets in the House?
Talking about children and pets, if you have either or both in your home, you’ll need to think about the toxicity of the ant bait. Some products use pesticides, which are incredibly harmful if eaten or swallowed.
Look for a tamper-proof ant bait, or go for one that uses natural ingredients or ingredients that are safe if consumed.
Would You Prefer to Repel Them Rather Than Kill Them?
As much as ants are a nuisance, they play a significant role in the ecosystem. If you’d prefer to repel them rather than destroy the colony, you could opt for an ultrasonic repellent. These emit ultrasonic frequencies that repel ants, as well as other insects.
A word of warning, though, an ultrasonic repellent isn’t a good idea if you have small pets or fish in the house.
How Quickly Do You Want To Get Rid of The Ants?
When choosing ant bait, it’s essential to keep in mind how quickly you want it to work. Some baits start working in 24 hours, while others take effect after a few days.
If you’re thinking about an ultrasonic repellent, it’s worth noting it could take up to three weeks before it starts working.
Best Ant Bait Reviews
Ready to find the best ant bait?
We’ve reviewed the most popular products currently available, including an ultrasonic repellent, non-toxic baits as well as a few ‘take no prisoners’ options.
1. Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder
Don’t be put off by the name. Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder effectively gets rid of a wide variety of insects, including ants. The powder is easy to use, and the extended straw means you can apply it in hard-to-reach spots.
The bait starts working within 72 hours, and it’s suitable for use indoors.
Although this is a really effective ant killer, Harris Boric acid is safe to use around food, children, and pets. The only downside to the product, if you can call it that, is that it’s water-soluble and will wash away in rain or damp conditions.
- The bait effectively kills ants as well as other common household pests
- the extended straw allows you to apply the powder in hard to reach spots
- it kills ants within 72 hours and continues working for weeks after being applied
- The ant bait is water-soluble and will wash away in the rain
- It’s not the best option if you’re wanting to get rid of an infestation
- Insects have to walk through the powder for it to be effective
2. PestHunter Ultrasonic Pest Repellent
If you want to take a more gentle approach, then you might want to consider the PestHunterUltrasonic Pest Control Repeller. This updated model features a power chip that repels pests effectively without any risk to your family. It works on ants, mosquitoes, spiders, bedbugs, and even rats and mice.
It is incredibly easy to use and covers an area of approximately 1,600 square feet. The compact ultrasonic repellent has a nightlight and operates with electrical power. It works really well; however, as previously mentioned, you’ll only notice a difference after three weeks or so.
- Because it uses ultrasonic frequencies rather than poison to get rid of insects, the repeller is safe to use around children and pets
- It’s easy to use
- the repellers gets rid of a wide range of pests, including ants, spiders, mosquitoes and even rats and mice
- it’s not the best option if you have small pets like gerbils, hamsters or fish
- it needs a plug outlet to work
- It takes up to four weeks to see results
3. Combat Max Outdoor and Indoor Ant Killing Gel
Combat Max Outdoor and Indoor Ant Killing Gel is a versatile ant bait that’s perfect for indoor and outdoor use. It’s easy to apply, and the syringe-like applicator lets you get into those usually hard-to-reach areas.
We like this particular product because of its high water content, which encourages the ants to eat it quicker. And it starts working within five days. The gel Kills a variety of ant species, but it doesn’t get rid of carpenter ants.
- This is an excellent choice for indoor and outdoor use
- The syringe applicator lets you get to hard-to-reach spots
- It kills the entire nest, including the queen
- It gets rid of a variety of ant species
- If you’ve got carpenter ants, this isn’t the best option
- The gel needs to be placed in areas where the ants have a trail
- The poison is toxic so should be used with caution around pets and children
4. Spectracide Ant Shield Outdoor Stakes
Needing an ant bait for outdoors? Spectracide Ant Shield Outdoor Stakes are the way to go. There are six stakes in a pack, and they’re weather-resistant. The stakes allow you to place the bait stations in the ground, keeping them upright and stable.
The poison works fast, killing the entire colony, including the queen, within a couple of hours. And it’s effective for up to three months. Use with caution around children and pets as the poison’s highly toxic. For the same reason, this ant bait should only be used outdoors.
- This powerful ant bait gets rid of ants quickly and works as a barrier, keeping them out of your house
- it kills the entire colony, including the queen
- the poison is pre-packaged in weather-resistant stations
- It’s only suitable for outdoors and won’t get rid of infestations inside your home
- The bait only works on ants
- It’s not safe to use around children and pets
5. Roach Busters Non-Toxic Eco-Friendly Cockroach Traps
Roach Busters Non-Toxic Eco-Friendly Cockroach Traps work a treat on ants and other insects too, and it’s entirely safe for use around children and pets, as well as in your kitchen and pantry. Unlike the other baits reviewed here, this particular one works using glue. Although a straightforward idea, it’s an effective bait. Ants are lured onto the strip’s sticky surface and get stuck, eventually dying.
The traps are completely safe to use around children and pets and can be placed in cupboards, behind refrigerators, underneath electrical outlets, and even in amongst your clothes. There’s no smell, and it’s super easy to set up. We like that it’s good value for money. There are 11 strips in a pack, and they work for up to three months, or until the strip is full.
- The glue traps work on all types of insects, including ants
- They’re eco-friendly and non-toxic and can be used around children and pets
- They last for up to three months or until they’re full
- They’re an excellent option to use in your kitchen and pantry, as well as in bedrooms and bathrooms
- The strips won’t get rid of nests
- Because there’s no bait as such, the traps work best in areas where there are already ants
6. Hot Shot MaxAttrax Ant Bait
Hot Shot MaxAttrax Ant Bait is one heck of a product, killing the queen within 24 hours of it being set up. The bait works for a long time, in fact, up to six months, and can be used as a barrier to keep pests out.
The formula grease and sugar-eating ants, and best of all, it’s in tamper-proof packaging.
The ant bait is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and can be placed in various spots, including cupboards and cabinets, close to garbage bins, and along ant trails. There are eight stations in a pack, and it comes with a money-back guarantee. That’s when you know something works.
- The product starts working immediately, killing the queen within 24 hours
- It works for up to six months at a time
- The tamper-proof packaging means it’s safe to use around children
- The bait station is easy to use and can be placed indoors in cupboards and cabinets or outside near garbage bins
- It comes with a money-back guarantee
- It doesn’t kill all species of ants
7. Raid Ant Gel
Raid has earned a reputation for making quality products that kill insects fast, and this one is no different. The gel is clear and odorless and works on a wide variety of common household ant species, including carpenter ants, ghost ants, odorous ants, Argentine ants, and crazy ants. It’s easy to apply, and the gel formula gets into those hard-to-reach places where ants love to hide.
Because it’s carried back to the nest by the workers, this product effectively wipes out the entire colony and carries on working for up to one month after being applied. It can be used in and around the house, along window sills and baseboards, door frames and screens, behind appliances under sinks, in the garage, attic, or near water heaters and pipes.
The gel mustn’t be used in places where food is prepared or where there’s a lot of water and should be kept out of reach of children and animals.
- The gel works quickly and carries on killing ants for up to one month
- It kills a wide variety of different ant species, including carpenter ants
- It can be used indoors and outside
- It’s perfect for hard-to-reach spots, along window sills and piping as well as under sinks and behind appliances
- The gel is pre-mixed, so there’s no preparation needed
- Raid is a trusted name
- It’s not safe to use children or pets
- The product shouldn’t be used around food or in areas where food is prepared
- If it gets wet, it loses its efficacy
- The gel doesn’t kill pharaoh ants or fire ants
8. Syngenta Optigard Gel
Another really good ant bait is Syngenta Optigard Gel. This product effectively gets rid of the entire colony, including the larvae and the queen, across a wide variety of ant species. Even notoriously hard to kill fire ants and carpenter ants are no match for this gel. It’s ready to use and doesn’t require any preparation. And the syringe applicator lets you apply it in hard-to-reach areas inside your home, as well as outdoors.
What we like is that the gel can withstand extreme temperatures and isn’t affected by water. It also works, in all weather conditions, for up to two weeks at a time. Unlike other gels that lose their efficacy when they dry up, Syngenta Optigard Gel keeps working, which means you don’t have to worry about constantly reapplying it.
If you have children and pets around the house, it’s best to use with extreme caution or opt for a non-toxic product. However, if that’s not a concern, then this is your best bet. It works, and it works well.
- The gel can be used indoors and outside
- Extreme weather conditions don’t affect the efficacy of the gel
- It kills a wide variety of ants, including carpenter ants and fire ants
- It doesn’t stop working when it dries out
- The gel kills the whole nest, including the larvae and queen
- The product is odorless
- The gel is highly toxic and not safe for use around children and pets
- It’s one of the more expensive options
Which Is Best?
It’s always tricky choosing the best product from our reviews, as all of them are good. But because we have to pick one, we’re going with Hot Shot MaxAttrax Ant Bait. It works on a wide range of sugar and grease-eating ants, and it’s one of the few products that kill the queen within 24 hours.
We like that it can be used indoors as well as outside and that it carries on working for up to six months at a time. The tamper-proof packaging stops little hands from getting to the poison, and with eight stations in a pack, you can place them all around your house and in your yard.
Best of all is the money-back guarantee. We, like you, appreciate a product that a manufacturer believes in enough to put its money where its mouth is.