While ants may be one of the most hardworking creates alive, they can be a nuisance if they make their way indoors. They’re small, so you may not notice them until you have a large problem on your hands. You don’t necessarily want to put down poisonous ant killers in your home if you have kids or pets because they can accidentally get into it.
This is why some of the best ant killers available is one you can make yourself. We’ll give you several recipes for the best ant killers, but we’ll also outline the different types available. This way, you can decide whether or not they work for you to help get rid of ants – the most effective ones can get rid of an entire colony of ants. The type of ants effective against include fire ants, carpenter ants and more.
Five Common Types of Ant Killers
Generally speaking, for pest control, there are five types available to control ants effectively, excluding the type you create in your home. Although people argue for one or the other being more effective, results vary from person to person. The five types of ant killers for pest control include:
Ant Killer 1. Ant Bait Stations
Ants hide in your cabinets, walls, and appliances. They love to sneak in and you won’t see them until there are dozens. Since you can’t actually see right where the ants are coming from, using bait stations are nice. This insecticide uses liquid ant bait. They come designed to attract most household types of ants, including fire ants and carpenter ants, and they eat the bait when they come upon it. The most popular ant bait in this category is the Terro Liquid Ant Bait, which is very effective. The Terro Ant Bait kills all common household ants including fire ants and carpenter ants.
Once the ants eat the bait, it starts working on their digestive system. They take this bait back to their nests and feed it to the ant colony members and the queen. Soon, it can destroy the entire colony. This is a no-hassle approach to killing ants because they usually come ready to go out of the package. You do want to place it in an area where pets and kids can’t accidentally get into it.
Ant Killer 2. Diatomaceous Earth
If you’re after a non-toxic and eco-friendly approach to getting rid of your ant invasion, diatomaceous earth is the way to go. This has a very powdery, white form that looks like talcum powder. The powder is made up of marine phytoplankton’s fossilized remains. This works in one of two ways when the ants encounter it. First, it can cut through the ant’s exoskeleton when they walk on it, or it can stick to the exoskeleton and make them dry out. They can take it back to the colony to spread it.
Ant Killer 3. Gels
If you have problem areas around your house that ants routinely enter, gels are one of the best choices. The gel usually comes loaded in a syringe. When you find the entry points in your home and the bug or ant’s tracks, you can use the syringe to apply the gel directly to these areas.
The syringes are child-proof, and there are no smells with the gel. It gives you precision control over how much gel you expel at one time, and you can easily use the syringe to get it into tight spaces.
Gels give you precision accuracy when you use them to kill ants, and the ant killer is easy to apply.
Ant Killer 4. Granular Bait
Another way to control ants back at their source is by using granular baits. This allows you to simultaneously target the ants in your home while you target their colony. Some of these granular baits contain a biodegradable fungus that is naturally-occuring, but it’s slower to work. Once the ants eat the granulas, they carry it back to the colony. It gets in the colony and can wipe it out within 24 hours. If you have a particular type of ant, you can get specific granular bait to target them.
If you have a problem with Carpenter ants and you’re not sure how they’re getting in, you can go outside on a warm evening and look around your home by the foundation. This time is when these ants are most active, and you can sprinkle the bait right onto them before they make it inside.
Ant Killer 5. Ant Insecticide Sprays
The final type of ant killer available is an ant insecticide spray. The sprays work well if you have seasonal ant problems, and these sprays get rid of the ants you can see. However, if you spray foraging ants, it’ll have a minimal impact on the nest as a whole. It works one of two ways. If you want immediate results, use this as a contact spray. You can also use it as a residual spray, and this can get rid of ants for up to a month.
However, sprays are widely considered to be a short-term fix to an ant problem. They are also responsible for releasing toxic fumes and chemicals each time you spray them. You want to keep your pets and children away from any area you spray, and make sure you have good ventilation. The spray can knock out bedbugs and roaches at the same time.
Pest control spray bottles are some of the easiest ways to apply the liquid ant killer solution. Additionally, it doubles as a storage container.
Creating the Ant Bait
Before you can kill ants, you have to consider where you want to target the ants. The best ant killers usually specialize in one area, either indoors or outdoors. Also, some target the ants you see while others target the nest.
- Outdoors – If you want to target ants outdoors, you start by looking around. Ants usually travel in the same paths each morning when they start looking for food, so it’s easy to see. Every ant mound can have up to 200,000 ants, and this is why you want to hit both the outside and inside areas of your home. The key is eliminating the colony and the queen. You need a fast solution to get rid of as much of the colony as possible with one application.
- Indoors – Ants will go for any food you leave around, even if they like sweets. There are few things you want to do before you start creating ant killers to make your home less attractive. Start by wiping off the surfaces in your kitchen and store your food in airtight containers. Rinse out your containers before you store them, and make sure the ground is dry before you apply your ant solution. Finally, check 30 to 40 days after you apply the product to make sure they’re gone.
Indoor ants can be more challenging to get rid of because most of the best ant killers contain chemicals, and you don’t want these around your pets.
Nine Ant Killing Recipes
If you want to find the most effective solution against ants, you’ll have to do some experimenting with the following recipes and see which one takes care of your any problem. Most of these recipes are natural and safe to use around your family without any negative side effects.
1. Essential Oil
When you pick out essential oils, you don’t necessarily have to go for a name brand. Instead, find pure essential oils because they are some of the best ant killers. You’ll want to get marigold, peppermint, and rosemary essential oil. You mix them at a 0.5-ouch at a 1:1:1 ratio.
- Marigold – Marigold can deter bugs like whitefly, aphids, nematodes, and flea beetles.
- Peppermint – Peppermint gets rid of spider mites, ants, and squash vine borer.
- Rosemary – Rosemary can kill mites, cabbage moths, and aphids.
Essential oils stick to whatever you spray them off, and they won’t wash away. It’s also very fragrant, and this can attract the ants to it. If the oil is strong enough, it’ll cover up whatever scent is attracting them like food or anything you spill. This can cause the ants to go elsewhere.
Get a one gallon bucket and add 1 teaspoon (20 drops) of your 1:1:1 essential oil mix. Add five drops of dish soap because this will help incorporate the essential oils into the water. Fill the gallon jug up with water. Spray in the early morning hours, right before that ants get active. This spray will fade after two weeks or so, and this means you want to reapply this formula to keep the ants away.
Essential oils are extremely strong, so you only need a few drops per batch of the best ant bait you make.
2. Garlic Mint Spray
This easy garlic mint spray targets outdoor ants because it has a very, very strong and lingering smell that you don’t necessarily want in the house. To make this, you’ll need a strainer, food processor, stock pot, and spray bottles. For the ingredients, you’ll need:
- 2 squirts of dish soap
- 12 cups of water
- 3 cups of mint leaves and stems
- 2 teaspoons of dry cayenne pepper
- 2 whole garlic heads, peeled and separated
Plug in your food processor and add your two heads of garlic. Pulse it for a few seconds until you get a very finely chopped mixture. Transfer the chopped garlic and any juice to the stock pot. Carefully add in 12 cups of water and cayenne pepper. You want to bring this mixture to a boil and let it boil for at least five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it sitting in the pot for at least 12 hours.
Once the mixture has time to sit and blend, you can carefully transfer it to your spray bottles or a gallon sprayer. At this point, add your two squirts of soap. Before you use it, shake the bottle well. Spray around the foundation of your home. If you spray it on your plants, make sure it’s cloudy so you don’t burn the leaves. In a few days, see if the spray works. You may have to reapply it.
Mint adds a sharp note to this that is overpowering to the ants.
3. Vinegar and Water
It’s possible to use this mixture both inside and outside. Vinegar does have a stronger smell associated with it, but it tends to fade away relatively quickly. You’ll only need a few ingredients to make this spray, and you can apply it as sparingly or liberally as you like. You’ll need:
- Spray bottle
- White vinegar
Get your spray bottle and add a cup of the vinegar to it. Mix in enough water to fill the spray bottle the rest of the way. If you want a stronger spray, cut back on the water and increase the vinegar. Spray this mixture around your home’s foundation. If you spray it inside, concentrate on the areas where you see the most ants coming and going. You will have to apply this spray once a day or once every other day until you don’t see any ants crawling around.
Vinegar is a cheap but powerful cleaning agent that makes an excellent ant bait that disinfects at the same time.
4. Castile Soap
Castile soap features all natural ingredients that are safe to use around your kids and pets. When you spray this mixture on the ants, it will slowly cause dehydration and kill them. It also has essential oils, and this can help to cover up whatever is attracting the ants to your home. You’ll need:
- Spray bottle
- One quart of water
- 2 tablespoons of liquid Castile soap
Add your two tablespoons of liquid Castile soap to your spray bottle. Mix in enough water to fill your spray bottle. Put the cover on and give it a good shake to mix the soap and water. Apply liberal amounts of this spray directly on the ants and to the areas where you see them. Be careful if you spray this mixture on tile flooring though because it can make it slippery to walk on.
Liquid soap acts like a binding agent that dehydrates the ants and kills them.
5. Vegetable-Based Spray
When you use this, you’ll have to treat the area three or four times before you kill the ants, but it works very well to drive them away. To make this, you’ll need:
- Gallon jug
- Spray bottle with a nozzle
- Cutting board
- Food processor
- Cloth to strain
- Stock pot
- 2 onions
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of dish soap
Take your 2 onions, garlic, and ¾ of the jalapeno and chop them up. It doesn’t have to be perfect. A rough chop is fine. Pop your rough chopped veggies into the food processor and blend them until you get a thick paste. You can keep the seeds in the jalapeno. Dump your paste into your stock pot and add in warm water to fill the pot. Simmer it for 20 minutes.
At this point, the vegetable spray will be very strong. The odors and oils from the vegetables will seep out into the water. Let the water cool. Get your gallon jug, funnel, and cloth. Set the funnel in the gallon jug and lay the cloth over it. Carefully pour your vegetables and water into the funnel, allowing the cloth to catch the vegetables and strain them out. When you get all of the mixture strained, gently squeeze whatever is left in the cloth to get the rest of the water out. Toss the vegetables in your compost.
Add a tablespoon or two of dish soap to the gallon jug. If your dish soap has additives or fragrances, cut it back to a ½ of a tablespoon. Put your funnel in your spray bottle and carefully fill it. Tighten the nozzle on and store the leftover in the gallon jug. Spray wherever you see the ants, especially in the entry points. Go back and spray every four or five days, and treat the area at least four times. Eventually, this will drive the ants out.
The oils from the vegetables release when you blend and boil them, and this is what makes this effective against ants.
6. Garlic Spray
This is a very strong garlic spray that will cover the smell of whatever the ants find enticing in and out of your home. It’s safe to spray inside if you don’t mind the smell lingering around. This is why it is great for killing ants. For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Food processor
- Small bowl
- Gallon jug
- Spray bottle
- 1 gallon of water plus 1.5 cups
- 12 whole cloves of garlic
This is a very fast and easy spray to make, and you can make it in bulk if you have a larger area to cover with your spray. Set up your food processor and peel your garlic cloves. Add the 1.5 cups of water and the peeled garlic cloves to the food processor. Blend them together until you get a thick paste.
Get your small bowl and place your strainer over it. Dump the contents of the food processor into your strainer, allowing the liquid to run through and the garlic to get caught. Add this strained garlic water to the gallon jug, and add in the rest of your water. Give it a good shake and carefully add the mixture to your spray bottle. Spray your problem areas once a week to ward off ants.
Garlic is very potent, but you can use this spray both inside and outside without a problem.
7. Fels Naptha Soap Spray
This is a very strong spray that can burn any plants it accidentally comes into contact with. You need just two ingredients to make it, and you can get this soap from almost any store. If you can’t find it, Amazon has it, and they’ll ship it straight to your door. You’ll need:
- 4 cups of water
- ¼ cup of grated Fels Naptha soap
- Stock pot
- Mason jar for storage
- Spray bottle
Add four cups of water to your stock pot and heat it up until it starts to rapidly boil. While it’s starting to boil, get a grater and grate ¼ of a cup of soap. Add your ¼ of a cup of grated Fels Naptha soap to the water. Remove the pot and soap from the water and stir it constantly until the soap melts. Allow the liquid to cool.
Once your mixture is cool to the touch, add it to your Mason jar. Add one teaspoon of this mixture to your spray bottle, and add four cups of water. This is the ratio you’ll use each time you fill the bottle. Spray this mixture wherever the ants are in your house. You can also spray it along whatever path they take in the morning when they look for food.
The soap blend you make is a concentrate, and you can add a small amount to the water without diluting it too much with this recipe.
8. Borax Bait
If you want to poison the colony and end the ant invasion once and for all, this is one of the best to try. The active ingredient Borax is harmful in any pets or kids ingest or inhale it, so be careful where you put it in the house. You can get the active ingredient Borax in the laundry aisle at almost any store. Try to put it in an area where you can close or lock the door to keep everyone out until you pick it up. You’ll need:
- Small saucers
- Mixing bowl
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of active ingredient Borax
Add the two cups of sugar, one cup of water, and two tablespoons of active ingredient Borax in your mixing bowl. Portion it up and put small saucers full around the areas where you see the ants. Let the ants eat it and carry it back to the colony. The active ingredient Borax will stick to the ants and start to dehydrate them. Pick up the containers when you finish. If it doesn’t seem to work well, increase the active ingredient Borax content.
Borax is an acid that will help dehydrate the ants from the inside out when you use this recipe.
9. Protein-Packed Bait
If you notice that you set out a sweet bait and it’s not working well after a few days, it’s time to switch it up to entice the ants to eat it again. This uses Borax as well, so be careful where you put it. Also, you’ll want to put a new batch of this ant bait out every day. You’ll need:
- Paper plates or scaps
- 2 tablespoons of Borax
- Bacon grease or peanut butter
Carefully mix the Borax into the bacon grease or peanut butter. You want it to have a slightly sticky consistency that can form small mounds. Set small mounds of the Borax-laced bait on the scraps of paper or paper plates and set them around your home. Make sure you don’t erase the ant’s trails to the plates. They need a clear shot that entices them to eat it.
Some of the best ant killers use a high protein bait to attract ants, and peanut butter is packed with it.
The best ant killers are usually the ones that you can make in your home for pest control. As a bonus, you can try several different pest control methods until you find the best ant killer for your situation. They’re inexpensive, safe, easy, and cost-effective to make in large batches. Keep the ants out this summer and keep your family safe with these pest control methods.
Ashley is a seasoned horticulturist with a passion for all things green. She has a Master Gardener Certificate and cultivated her expertise through over 10 years of hands-on experience in a thriving greenhouse environment. Her green thumb extends beyond work hours, as she relishes the joy of nurturing her own vibrant garden oasis. Inspired by the bountiful harvest, Ashley delights in canning the fruits of her labor and using homegrown herbs to elevate her culinary creations. Alongside her botanical endeavors, she eagerly tackles various DIY projects around the house, combining her creativity and practical skills to transform spaces into havens of beauty and functionality.