Looking for the best ant baits and gels in 2018?
You're in the right place.
Ants nest almost anywhere and they often enter the house in search of food. When they do, they cause a nuisance, sometimes sting, or leave bad odors.
For this reason, it’s important to control and manage your ant problem before it gets out of hand. This article describes how to choose the best ant bait to control your problem.
A Quick Look At The Best Ant Baits
What is Ant Bait?
Ant bait is an insecticide that’s combined with food or liquid to attract ants. The workers carry it back to the mound where it spreads throughout the colony killing the larvae and the Queen.
The best ant baits provide a long-term solution killing the ants within a few days and the population in around two weeks.
There are several species that are sensitive to different scents and foods. Indoor ants fall into two broad categories based on the type of food they like.
Sugar ants and grease ants.
- Sugar ants are attracted to sweet things, such as ice cream or candy. Sugar ants include, carpenter ants, field ants, pavement ants, and pharaoh ants.
- Grease ants like protein and fatty substances rather than sugars. These are the ones you see dismantling and carrying away the dead insects. Fire ants are the most common type of grease ant.
You need to identify what you have to choose the best ant bait, which is easy with a simple test. Place sugar and a fatty food in different parts of the room and see where they go.
Several species with their own specific habits and preferences fall into the two groups. This gets more complicated when you involve ants that prefer to stay outdoors. You can read more about the different species of ants and their behavior in this article.
You can use ant bait both indoors and outdoors depending on the product that you buy. Some work better indoors and stronger ones are more suitable outside. The main difference is the potency and chemicals inside.
You can either buy or make ant bait. The commercially available ones tend to have better results and sometimes work against others bugs too. Homemade ones usually use a simple bait mixed with borax or boric acid. Both are described below.
Regular Ant Baits:
The most popular types are:
- Liquids: A sweet solution that attracts sugar ants the best.
- Gels: You can squeeze the gel into cracks or down the holes where your ants originate from.
- Solid Bait: These are larger granules that are most suited for outdoor infestations.
- Powder/Dusts: A fine powder that you can apply along trails or into cracks.
In theory, liquid based baits should have a higher success rate than solids. Liquids need less effort to bring back to the nest and share with colony compared to solids. But, this doesn’t always work in practice.
Homemade Ant Baits:
When it comes to homemade baits your level of success will vary. Most homemade traps use borax, a common chemical found in cleaning products, to act as the insecticide. You can usually find this in supermarkets or hardware stores.
Take a look at the video demonstration below.
When you’ve identified the ants that are infesting your house, mix a bit of borax with your bait (a sugary food) and place it around the trails. Personally, I’ve always had more success with regular ant baits.
Here's an article if you want to learn a bit more about homemade traps.
If your pets eat the insecticide, it can cause complications to their health and occasionally be deadly. But ant baits are unlikely to be fatal unless they’re consumed in large doses.
Sweet smelling or food-based ant baits may attract your pet the most. The best ant baits on the market use something that’s innocuous and don’t arouse their attention.
The bottom line is that ant bait is safe around animals as long as they don’t eat it.
You need to find out what type of ant you have. What attracts one could be completely useless against another. The more you know, the better equipped you are to choose the most suitable bait.
Consider where you want to use it. Don’t buy granules if the ants are coming through the cracks in the wall. If you’re a pet owner, make sure you use ones that they won’t eat.
A Note About Ant Bait Usage
Ant baits attract ants. This means that you’re going to see more after you first start to use it.
Don’t start spraying them with insecticide as this scares them away. The goal is for the worker ants to take it back to the mound and poison the others. Be careful using cleaning products around the bait as this also keeps the ants away.
The short answer is yes.
They’re an effective tool and tend to have amazing results if you use the best ant bait for your situation. You may need to experiment with different products, but when it finally does work, it’s usually a permanent fix.
The insecticide is slow and tends to kill the ant within a day or two. The goal is to infect the entire colony. If you don’t see any major changes within two or three weeks, the bait hasn’t worked.
Even the best ant baits aren’t without controversy because they attract more ants. The workers bring their colony, and sometimes ignore it causing you an even bigger problem.
This is quite rare and most baits are successful in controlling the problem.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how the baits work, let’s take a quick look at a few of the best products available.
Ant Bait Product Reviews
TERRO is a container with a sweet liquid inside that attracts sugar ants towards it.
You strategically place the pack on the floor around the trail and ants will come and carry it back to their mound.
This claims to destroy the nest within two weeks.
The pros outweigh the cons with TERRO T300B and most of the time, it’s a very successful product. Just be aware that it works best with sugar ants and expect it to attract large numbers to the bait.
For a full review of Terro Ant Bait Gel, click here.
- The bait has a high success rate and consistently kills a variety of species.
- Liquids tend to be a better bait as it’s easier to transport.
- TERRO has been known to have a very high success rate when it comes to ant problems
- Fast acting results.
- Sometimes it can work too well, which may lead to a lot of dead ants to clean up.
- The liquid inside is sweet and may not be effective against grease ants.
- Ants may start to avoid it after a day or two and search for another source of food.
Ant Bait Granules are potent and claim to kill up to 15 species for both indoor and outdoor use.
The product works over large distances and claims to have a coverage of up to 540 linear feet. The bottle also has a long shelf life and a single one can treat the house several times.
The main advantages are that you can use them safely and confidently around pets. Another feature is that they don’t wash away when it rains.
Want a full review on AMDRO, click here!
- The bait is waterproof and you don’t need to reapply after rain. This feature is great when you use it outdoors.
- You can expect to see visible results in 24 hours.
- This doesn’t attract pets making it safe to use around them. As a dog owner, the granules give me more peace of mind.
- The bait attracts a variety of ants (fire ants, pharaoh ants, etc) making it more likely to work for you.
- The bait may not be effective all the time, especially against the more intelligent ants. Some users claim to see them carry it to their nest and nothing happens.
- This product may not be as potent as other ant baits.
The gel consists of a sugar solution with a syringe to help you put it into the holes and cracks around the house. The sweet gel attracts sugar ants and you can expect to see results after three to five days. Maxforce is effective for up to two weeks after you apply it.
This is great for indoor use and the gel tends to produce noticeable effects over a period of time. Yet, you need to keep in the mind that your pets may be attracted to it too. If you have pets, it might make sense to opt for #2 on our list (the Amdro granules).
- The gel is a strong attractant to the sugar ants.
- After you put it into the cracks, it remains active for up to two weeks.
- The gel becomes hard and blocks the hole. I love this because it attracts the ants, but you don’t see them and have less to clean up.
- Grease ants (fire ants, etc) tend to avoid it. You’ll need to figure out the type of ant you have before buying.
- The sweet solution attracts pets making it unsuitable to use in places where the cats and dogs can find it.
- The gel sometimes gets rubbery and loses its moisture after a few hours.
- Some buyers claim that it’s difficult to assemble from the packaging and the syringe is prone to damage.
This bait is a versatile answer against both sugar and grease ants as well as cockroaches. The bottle comes with a shaker to enable you to put the granules wherever you want. A special formula is designed to kill the ants or roaches when they come into contact with it rather than waiting for them to ingest it.
This is one of the best ant baits in my opinion getting you the most bang for your buck. It kills several species of ants and other bugs. You can also use it around pets.
However, the limited shelf life and poor packaging can sometimes damage the product before it’s even arrived.
- Maxforce is a contact killer, so you'll see measurable results in a short amount of time.
- My favorite feature is the versatility of the granules against different types of pests.
- The granules are odorless making them safe to use around pets.
- This product is marketed as a "general" ant bait so you may get away with buying this and taking care of your problem regardless of the ant you have.
- The granules are quite large and it may be difficult for the ants to take it back to the colony.
- This also has a limited shelf life and it may be unclear how long i'll last if you don't use it.
- The seal on the packaging isn’t very good – sometimes it breaks in transit and damages the product.
- Some ants just avoid and go around it making it ineffective.
The dust is a white powder that you apply with a shaker onto the floor or along cracks in the wall. Ants will approach it and are condemned when they come into contact.
The Ant Killer Dust is durable and can last up to eight months. You can use this both indoors and outdoors and it claims to be waterproof.
The powder is great for immediate results against ants and many other bugs. But, it may not work great as a traditional ant bait diminishing its function. We buy bait as a long-term solution and for this reason, I didn’t like the Ant Killer Dust.
- Kills a wide variety of bugs including cockroaches and spiders.
- You can apply it onto the ant mound for immediate effects if baiting doesn’t work.
- Pets aren't attracted to it.
- People claim that it kills the ants and they don’t come back. Again, another great feature to provide a solution to the long-term problem.
- The powder is fast acting, so you can expect immediate results.
- The powder claims to be waterproof, but this may not be true all the time. I found this out the hard way when I realized the ants came back after a rainy day.
- This is white powder and it stains when you use it. You need to be very careful to avoid external damage.
- It may not work as well as it claims as a bait. After all, this is a powder and doesn’t really contain anything that would appeal to the ants.
- The container is a bit fragile and sometimes you can drop the irritant powder everywhere.
The Bottom Line:
The clear winner for me is the TERRO Liquid Ant Baits. The biggest issue when it comes to ant baits is their ability to attract ants.
Most baits out there require a lot of maintenance and accessories to work properly, where some just don't work at all. In my experience, TERRO delivers on a quality ant bait product that will attract ants by the thousands (depending on the size of your infestation).
The point is, this bait simply works. You WILL see droves of ants marching toward the trap as if it were some kind of Thanksgiving feast.
Wait a couple hours, and you'll find that most of your ants have died.