In old-timey cartoons, ants are cute, quirky creatures that raid picnics and sugar bowls. In pop culture, they’re a metaphor for industriousness and strength, benching 50 times their body mass. But when they pop up in your kitchen, garden, or timber, they’re a tiny clone army of annoyance.
Wood-boring ants (though it’s mostly termites) can eat through wood at surprising rates. They can bring entire buildings down. Other ants can get in your grains and it’s impossible sifting them out of teapots. So what’s the best ant killer? Let’s start with a look at seven top brands to decide.
The Best Ant Killer In UK 2023
1. Home Defence Ant Stop Bait Station (Our Top Pick)
Why is Home Defence Ant Stop so popular? Several reasons. It’s a good name – direct and attention-grabbing. It has extended performance – a single dose continues killing ants for up to months. But the actual killing action takes 3 to 6 days for a single ant. That pace is deliberate because the killer content is mobile. Ants take it and spread it to other ants inside the nest.
So the longer it stays in each ant’s system, the more ‘contagious’ it becomes and the more nests you wipe out. Within a month, you should have zero ant activity. This product contains fipronil. This is a powerful pesticide so you only get 0.05% in the ant killing formulation. One pack of Ant Stop has two bait stations. And every station can eliminate a complete colony plus any new ones.
The Bait Station comes ready to use. It has our holes covered with spurs. Remove the spurs and place the bait station at a convenient location. A good spot is near their main entry point. The spurs can be tight, so use a flat screwdriver or the tip of a butter knife to pry them off. Use duct tape to hold the disc in place. Ants will come inside the station, pick the bait, and pass it on.
But the bait has to stay cool, dark, and dry. So if you’re putting it outside, weigh it down with a brick, broken pottery, or a heavy stone. This keeps sunlight and moisture away from the trap. It also reduces the chances of pets and wildlife grabbing it and taking off. After all, it’s not a large device. Each trap has 10g and is maybe 5 or 6 cm across. That effectively covers an area of 15m.
Outdoors, you want to position the bait station as close as possible to the ant hill entrance. But you still need to shelter it from sun and rain. Inside, you want to protect the bait station from curious kiddie hands. Or rather – you want to protect the kids. So put the bait station under a sofa or hide it with heavy furniture. But never put it under a heat source like a radiator.
Ant Stop Bait Stations kill various ant species. But they’re susceptible to heat damage. So if you’re using it indoors, avoid tucking it under heat-emitting devices like freezers or fridges.
- You can use it inside the house or in the yard.
- A single bait station can wipe out a whole colony.
- Once positioned, it’s effective for up to 3 months.
- If you use it outdoors, you have to shade it against dew, rain, sunlight, and heat.
2. Vitax Nippon Ant Killer Power
The word Nippon (sometimes spelt Nihon) means ‘where the sun comes from’. They’re both vernacular names for Japan. So how did the word end up on a bona fide British pesticide? In the 60s, this powder was shipped from Japan/Nippon in wooden crates. The word ‘Nippon’ was printed on the shipping boxes to identify the source country. Hence the product name and font.
This Vitax ant killer works both inside and outside the house. And once you dust an area, the powder will continue killing ants for up to 6 months. The active ingredient here is 0.488% permethrin. Permethrin works on ants, lice, mosquitoes, and a few other bugs. But it’s gentler on humans and pets so you can safely use this ant killer in a home with pitter-pattering feet.
That said, fish and other aquatic creatures are deeply susceptible to Nippon powder. So keep it away from aquariums, ponds, and waterways. And avoid spilling it down the drain because it will get into the sewers and could make its way back into circulation. And while that permethrin is safe for human exposure, it can still trigger allergies so keep an eye out for adverse reactions.
To use this product, hold the bottle at an angle facing down, remove the cap, point, and squeeze. The perorated top will ‘spray’ fine powder wherever you aim. Indoor, put the powder in wall cracks, doorways, window sills, or any other area where you’ve spotted and runs. The dust works well on surfaces, but be sure not to wipe it off. Avoid carpets, curtains, cushions, and fabrics.
Reason being the powder will seep deep into the weave and be harder to remove. And washing said fabrics just deposits the poison into local waterways. This is also why you should wear overalls or a plastic apron when applying the powder – you don’t want it getting on your clothes.
Nippon is effective against cockroach colonies and wasp nests so dust them generously. If you’re using it outdoors, identify the nest (o wasps, ants, or cockroaches). Don’t just dust the top. Kick o the top and pour the powder down the hole/wall/cocoon. Cover the top with backfill to lock the killing dust inside. Dosage is about 20g or every square meter, both indoors and outside.
This ant killing powder has brand recognition and heritage behind it. It’s a good choice for houses with little ones and it can survive the elements up to 6 months. Avoid putting it on cloth.
- It works both indoors and outdoors.
- The ants will stay away up to 6 months.
- It doesn’t hurt kids or pets.
- It’s tough getting it out of fabrics so don’t dust your curtains or carpet.
3. Maxforce Ant Killer
Unless you’re having a picnic or a barbeque, indoor ants annoy you more than the ones outside. But even the ant trains in your house have an ‘HQ’ somewhere on your property. So if you want a comprehensive resolution to your ant problem, you need to attack them both in your home and the yard. And while Maxforce can do both, it comes with certain … caveats on its usage.
It’s a Bayer brand, so it does come with instant recognition. And like many rival bait station, it’s built to be stuck on the wall or ground. You can paste double-sided tape to the bottom. Or curl a piece of duct tape to make it double-sided. You could also just wrap the tape over the top of the disc, leaving the ant access points uncovered. And this is where the challenge comes in.
With other ant bait discs, you can weigh them down for outdoor use. A brick-sized garden rock will do. But Maxforce won’t work on grass or soil. It needs a flat paved surface like tile, concrete, wood, stone, etc. So or outdoor use, you need to find a stickable surface close to the ant nest entrance. But you could put a slab or plank on the ground near the nest and put the trap on it.
To ‘activate’ the trap, use a knife, scissors, or a screwdriver to pry off the four tabs. That’s where the ants go in. The trap is filled with a mixture of sugar and honey to attract ants. The food is laced with imidacloprid. They eat some and carry some back to the nest where it will wipe everyone out with a week or two. The traps ship as a set of three bright green baited discs.
Maxforce bait stations are simple enough for kids to use and effective enough that professional exterminators love it. The green blends well with your garden, but don’t use it on flowerbeds.
- Its active ingredient is imidacloprid.
- Max Force takes a week or two to clear a colony.
- The bait is built or DIY but beloved by professionals.
- They’re not effective on soil or grass.
4. Rentokil Ant & Crawling Insect Spray
Sprays make the best ant killer because they’re so effortless to use. Just point and spray! But if you hang around a few moments, you may be surprised. Especially for commercial spray cans. Ever aggressively sprayed a roach and watched it roll onto its back and wiggle its legs? Satisfying, isn’t it. Pro-tip: squish that ‘dead’ bug with a shoe or a heavy book, just to be sure.
Why? Because if you sit there and watch for 5 minutes to half an hour, that zombie roach will resurrect, right its posture, and scurry off. This is because many commercial aerosol pesticides will stun insects but don’t kill them. Rentokil is a liquid spray bottled product, so its killing power is more efficient than aerosols. Plus, the liquid droplets can easily drown and kill said ants.
This spray bottle holds a litre of liquid and is effective against both flying and crawling insects. It will kill ants, fleas, beetles, wasps, and more. And it’s easy to apply because you can direct the spray into cracks, crevices, and entryways, saturating those spots with pesticide. You can use it throughout the year, regardless of season or weather conditions. It works both indoors and out.
Or best results, shake the bottle thoroughly and hold it about a foot from the target. Squeeze the trigger and spray generously – the treated area should be visibly wet. The nozzle is adjustable so you can select a misty spray or a more pressurised stream. Set the nozzle to its ‘lock’ position when you’re done to avoid leaks and spillage. The product needs direct contact to be effective.
You need to use a visible amount of Rentokil for it to kill anything. So it’s best used without kids or pets who will try to lap it up. But it barely smells and it dries quickly so it’s fairly safe.
- It’s effective at any time of year.
- It comes pre-mixed and ready to use.
- It kills other insects too, both flying and crawling.
- It may cause skin irritation if it drips on you as you spray.
5. Dethlac Insecticidal Lacquer
We’ve just dug into the possible downside of aerosol pesticides. But we do have one on our list, so let’s see what it has to say or itself. The can says ‘insect lacquer’ rather than pesticide. Is there are a difference? In furniture, lacquer is a thin protective film. And insect lacquer dries in seconds, leaving a potent medicinal layer on your surfaces. This pest-killing film stays in place for ages.
It can extend its presence as long as our months, even in rainy weather. This makes Dethlac the best ant killer or our drizzly UK climate. You can use it both indoors and out in the garden. The killing chemical is deltamethrin and it’s equally effective against cockroaches and woodlice. It dries almost instantly so it’s safe to use around kids and pets. But keep them away while it’s wet.
Because this is a slow-release pesticide, you don’t have to directly spray the ants. Instead, spray the lacquer on doors, window sills, crevices, cracks, skirting boards, and other access points. You can tell where the ants come in because their trains are hard to miss, so note those places or later spraying. But avoid spraying plastic or UPVC since the lacquer might damage it.
Dethlac doesn’t just resist rain – it can also survive scrubbing brushes and detergents. So you can wipe and wash your surfaces without worrying about reapplication. Insects die a few hours after walking in this unseen poison. And because the dried film is completely transparent, it won’t snitch on itself or spoil the beauty of decorative surfaces on appliances and countertops.
This insect lacquer is so long-lasting that you only need to use it once every few months. But don’t use it on carpets, fabrics, or absorbent surfaces. It’ll soak the cloth instead of drying out.
- It remains effective for up to 4 months.
- Dethlac won’t wash away in the rain.
- The active ingredient is deltamethrin.
- Avoid spraying UPVC surfaces or trimmings since the active chemical in this spray could dissolve your plastic.
6. Buy Smart Ant Gone
The most efficient way to destroy ants is to obliterate their nest. No, you don’t need to toss a grenade down the anthill. You can just water it instead. And while that may sound strange, it does work. You could water the tops and visible portions of the nest. Or you could smash it, pour your fluid directly down the gaping hole, then backfill and trample it flat to prevent rebuilding.
This traps the ants inside their fortress stops any from escaping the massacre. It’s easy to apply this product using the guidelines above because it comes in a modified watering can. The red plastic container has a perforated rose on its spout and an ergonomic handle. The rounded ‘right angle’ sits snug in your hand and lets you bend and angle the pesticide comfortably during use.
Buy Smart comes in a 5-litre package and you only need about 50 to 100ml per square metre. So the bottle can treat roughly 50m2 in total. The product comes pre-mixed and ready to use but the nozzle is blocked so you do need to prep the bottle. Pry off the rose and cut the tip-off to form a hole in that hidden nozzle. Press the rose back into position. Now you can ‘water your ants’.
The pesticide kills pests through micro-emulsion. It targets over a dozen pests besides ants. These include centipedes, moths, cockroaches, and wasps. Its murderous ability comes by combining roughly 1% of BACs (Benzalkonium chlorides) with 0.015% of deltamethrin. The ant killer contains disinfectant as well so your space with be pest-free and pristine for months.
Buy Smart’s unusual packaging is both promotional and practical. You’ll make a bee-line or it in the hardware store aisles. And its angular spout and rounded handle make it so easy to dispense.
- It can treat areas up to 100m2.
- The watering can make it easy to dispense.
- Your space will stay ant-free up to 3 months.
- You’ll use it like a watering can so things can get messy when killing ants indoors.
7. Defenders Ant Killer Powder
Let’s close the list with a powdered product. Defenders is safe for both indoor and outdoor use. And it’s easy to apply – just point the bottle and squeeze. The puffa at the top of the bottle will dribble powder onto the desired spot. It’s ideal for directly dusting ant runs and ant trains.
You can also apply it along window sills, door gaps, cracks, and corners. Any spot that draws ants or lets them in. The powder kills them on contact so it will only kill existing ants – it won’t piggyback to their nest. For maximal damage, press the puffa directly into an anthill.
You can collapse the hill after application because all the ants will die on contact. Problem solved and crash the hill around it. The killing agent in this ant powder is permethrin. It’s safer for kids and pets. And this is crucial because that off-white powder will be all over your house and garden. So you need to know your little ones won’t get sick if they accidentally ingest some.
Defenders is extremely fine in texture. So the puffa will sometimes clog. And the powder will occasionally clump. Before and after use, shake the bottle thoroughly to separate the powder particles. You may also need to wiggle the bottle in mod-treatment to release any air bubbles. These bubbles could block the puffa holes and stop your pesticide from exiting the bottle.
Powdered products can be messy since the dust lies everywhere. Your bottle of Defenders Ant Killer will need to be shaken regularly to ‘unpack’ it. Always secure the cap before shaking!
- The bottle is fitted with a puffa for easy application.
- You can treat about 25m2 with one pack.
- Its active ingredient is permethrin.
- Puffas are designed to dispense more than you need so the powder finishes quickly.
If you’re reading this article, we can safely assume you have no problem killing pests. Or at least ants. Otherwise, you’d be more interested in preventing ants or scaring them off. So the issue becomes … do you prefer organic or ‘humane’ options? And what else should you consider?
Indoors vs Outdoor Use
Ants live in colonies of thousands. So the best ant killer is one that tracks back to the mother lode. You’re unlikely to spot ants outdoors though – too much natural camouflage. If you find their base, you can treat it directly. In such cases, you need a slow-release ant killer that won’t degrade in air exposure. Or wash away in the rain. Or accidentally poison your outdoor pets.
It’s easier to see ants inside the house since their ‘trains’ are quite distinct. But it may also be tougher to kill them indoors. You could contaminate your food. Or your kids and furbabies may lick the bait. So indoor ‘ant-icides’ should probably be sealed. Or they should have ingredients that kill ants but have no effect on humans and pets. Borax-based ant-icides are a good example.
Type of Ant Killer
Ant killers often take the form of poisoned bait. It can be a spray, powder, granules, or a seeded trap. Sprays work instantly and are readily available at supermarkets. But they need to ‘touch’ the ant to kill it. So unless you fumigate the entire anthill, you’ll only catch the one or two that contact the spray. Traps are more helpful because ants ingest the bait and take it home.
So they’ll pass on the poison to other ants inside the colony. And because the poison is slow-acting, all the ants will be dead in a few days. The bait in these traps can be powder, gel, or liquid. It’s packaged to look like food to the ant so you can sprinkle it in their path, pour some directly in the anthill, or apply it in the cracks and crevices they use to enter your home.
Pest Proportion Problems
How bad is the situation? Are you dealing with a solitary ant or a single chain? Or is this a bigger issue involving multiple pests? You can step on one ant. Or wash away a sighted ant train. But if you’re also acing roaches, mosquitoes, and gnats, it may be more effective to buy a multipurpose ant killer. One that kills other pests as well, both lying and crawling. And check for rodents too.
Think of it this way – ants have predators beyond you and your big shoes. So if you’re dealing with an infestation, the ant-eating critters have probably noticed too. And to them, your space is now an all-you-can-eat free buffet. So as you inspect your property or signs of ants, lookout or other pests as well. Then pick a comprehensive solution that will include those ant tangents.
Decant the Ants!
Based on what we could find out, we recommend Ant Stop as the best ant killer. Here’s why:
- It works both indoors and outdoors.
- It’s a slow-release pesticide that takes works within a week.
- Bait Stop is effective for up to three months so it will fell newer colonies too.
- The bait has 0.05% of fipronil.
- The pack comes ready to use. No mixing or set-up required.
- Every pack has two bait stations.
- One bait station can eliminate an entire anthill or colony.
What products have you tried on ants? Did they work? Tell us your experience in the comments!