Ants, while they’re not harmful, too many can be irritating. It’s estimated that there are 1 million ants per person! And with thousands of varieties, you’re never too far from them!
Luckily there are many ant killer methods available which promise to exterminate ants, the queen and the nest. Like with any potential pest problem, prevention is far better than a cure.
Know your Ants!
As one of the most common insect, Ants love the hot and dry weather of summer. Thousands of varieties of Ants exist and it’s estimated that there are around 1 million Ants per person!
Here are the four most common in the UK. Thankfully, none require a specialist ant killer to steam the problem.
Roger’s ant (Hypoponera punctatissima) can reach 3mm in length but are much paler in colour than their Pharaoh cousins.
Pharaoh’s ants (Monomorium pharaonis) are yellow-brown in colour and can reach up to 3mm. They also have wings.
Garden ants (Lasius niger) are by far the most common type in the UK. They are around 4-5mm and have a black body.
Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) are the smallest of the bunch. They are semi-transparent and can reach up to 1.5mm in length.
How to choose the best ant killer
Thankfully, the market is full of a range of ant killers. Some kill the ants, while others cause harm to the nest and deal with the problem at the source. Ideally, the most effective solution would be to target both.
In addition to homemade remedies, you could choose a self-enclosed bait, a spray, granules, powder, or a gel. Let’s explore both options, but first some general tips.
The most common place to see ants is outdoors. And they’re easy to spot as they travel the same route each day. Being creatures of habit makes them easy to find and execute.
Of course, you’ll want to kill all of the ants you see, but you also need to target the Queen and colony.
In this case, home remedies only solve part of the problem. You can start by pouring warm soapy water on where they are building a nest. However, to fully deal with the problem, you’ll need something stronger such as insecticides.
Ants know no boundaries, and so are happy to go where the food leads them! Again it’s best to start with home remedies and follow up with chemicals.
In your kitchen, keep worktops clean and clear. Don’t let dishing pile up as this is a big welcome mat to ants! Use air-tight containers to sort food.
If they’re creeping around the floor, then either Spray lemon water solution or sprinkle cayenne pepper. Vinegar mixed with water also works well.
If you still have an ant problem, then try using a chemical ant killer. Apply the powder to dry ground and check the area for activity around 30 days later.
#1 Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station
Available in packs of 2, Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station is a cheap (£5 from Amazon) way to kill ants and their nest.
The pre-baited blocks draw ants toward it and then kill them when they reach inside. Remove the tabs and place near ant’s trails. They’ll take a few hours to start working, but always kill off any ants.
They last up to three months, so you can really set and forget. While you’ll want to keep them away from pets, the Home Defence Ant Stop! Bait Station works both indoors and outdoors.
#2 Duct tape
This is as low tech as it gets! It’s quite likely you have a roll of duct tape in your home. If you don’t any strong adhesive tape works.
Build a moat around whatever you’re trying to protect using duct tape sticky side up.
For example, if you’re trying to keep your brownies ant free, place tape around the cooling rack. By the time ants are marching toward the tray, the tape will pick them off one by one.
While this method is low tech and messy, you probably don’t need to spend money!
#3 Nippon Ant and Crawling Insect Killer Spray
If you prefer to spray to kill, then buy the Nippon Ant and Crawling Insect Killer Spray (£6 on Amazon).
As a ready to use spray, you can rapidly control ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other crawling insects. You can use it on most surfaces both indoors and outdoors. It’s also pet-friendly.
While it does kill quickly, it has a short active life. So you might be able to use it to stop ants before they become an issue. However, it’s less than effective as a set and forget solution to kill ants.
Ants are repelled by the calcium carbonate in the chalk. Calcium carbonate is made up of ground-up and compressed shells of marine animals.
You can keep ants under control by drawing a chalk line around doorways. Powdered chalk is also fantastic for repelling ants and slugs, just spread some around garden plants.
#5 Neudorff Ant Killer Granules
An environmentally friendly product, the Neudorff Ant Killer Granules (£7 from Amazon), provides long-lasting control of ants and nests.
These granules contain natural pyrethrum, which is an active ingredient that provides a fast, efficient solution.
Lemons have secret powers, especially when it comes to being an ant killer! You might not even need any fancy insecticides to ant-proof your kitchen.
Start by squirting some lemon juice on doorways and windowsills. If you can see any holes or cracks where ants are getting in then, also squeeze lemon juice in those places.
Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. By doing all of these, ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome!
#7 Defenders Ant and Insect Killer Powder
If a powder is more of your thing, then purchase Defenders Ant and Insect Killer Powder (£4 on Amazon). More than just an ant killer, you can use this powder to control ants, cockroaches, earwigs and woodlice.
Place the powder in crevices and cracks as well as doorways. It’s safe to use both indoors and outdoors. As a fast-acting solution, it will kill pests on contact and provides 25 sq m of coverage.
It’s simple, effective and affordable.
Vinegar is another household object that’s very effective in getting rid of ants. Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar (either white or apple cider) and spray the solution on the ant hills in your garden.
Indoors, spray the mix on windows, doors and anywhere you can spot ant trails. The strong scent of vinegar will make the ants avoid the treated areas.
#9 Combat Max Ant Killing Gel
If you have ants pouring out of cracks and crevices, then using Combat Max Ant Killing Gel (£8 from Amazon) could be the ideal solution.
Unlike powder which can be difficult to apply in hard to reach crevices, the gel can be easily squirted in. Combat Source Kill Ant Gel works within hours and keeps working up to a month after application.
It’s active ingredient Fipronil, is quick acting yet slow enough for the ants to return back to their nest. Affected ants, therefore, spread the gel back in the colony and queen, killing all the ants in sight.
The gel can be applied indoors or outdoors and leaves little mess behind.
#10 Washing up liquid
If you want to stop ants in their tracks then, mix washing up liquid and water. Mix one part washing up liquid and two parts water in a spray bottle. Give it a shake to mix the solution thoroughly.
When you see an ant or even a few, spray them with the mixture. They’ll immediately halt and suffocate. Wipe up the dead ants with a wet cloth, and keep the spray bottle around for next time.
Ant killer ideas to control infestations
The next time ants come crawling, you’ll be equipped with a number of ways to kill them and stop them regrouping.
It’s worth remembering that in order to be effective, you need to attack the queen and the nest. If you only try to kill the ants you can see, you’ll soon see more appear.
Start with home remedies and if they don’t seem to work, then go nuclear and use an insecticide.