Ant Baits: Best Way To Kill Ants

There are many types of ants, but the most abundant nuisance ants are those most likely to enter and/or will nest in homes, restaurants, hospitals, grocery stores, and other structures. Those pesky critters will likely be among the following species of ants. In spite of their real names, many people simply call them “Sugar Ants” or “Tiny House Ants”.

  • Argentine Ants
  • Big-Headed Ants
  • Little Black Ants
  • Pavement Ants
  • Pharaoh Ants
  • Odorous Ants
  • Small Honey Ants


The above types of ants are very small, rarely reaching 1/8″ long or less. Other than color, they all pretty much look the same. Colors will range from light tan, light brown, reddish-brown to almost black. With very slight differences, their habits are quite similar. Each is common to all areas of the USA although some are more abundant than others in certain parts of the country.

It would take an entomologist to accurately define one from another. But does it really matter? When ants infest your home or establishment, they all become nuisance pests that will distribute disease-causing bacteria and contaminate everything they contact.

Many people are against using toxic insecticide no matter how safe they may be. If you are one of those, then read this article on “how to repel and prevent ants naturally“. However, once ants have heavily infested your home, the only sure way to get rid of them is to kill them within the heart of their nests.

Why Ant Baits Work Best

Most homeowners reach for aerosol bug killer bug cans when they see a trail of ants. This is a big mistake. When ants are sprayed with a can of bug killer, it only kills the ones seen. There are thousands more in a nest that will terrorize you later. Ants reproduce so quickly that ones just killed will be replaced in a just a few days.

They must be killed within the nest to have meaningful affect. That is best accomplished with ant baits. Here’s why. When ants leave a nest they are foraging for food. Ant baits combine a food attractant with a slow-acting insecticide that is a “slow-kill”. They will take the bait back to the nest where it will be consumed by all of the ants in the colony including the queen. Poof. Queen is gone.

The lifespan of worker ants is only weeks. The real key is killing the queen which is the egg-laying ant that continually reproduces during her lifespan which could be up to one year. Some types of ants such as Pharaoh Ants will have multiple queens in the same nest. If you are to get rid of an infestation of ants, the queens must be killed.

What Insecticides Are in Ant Baits?

The typical insecticides contained in ant baits are usually at the lowest toxicity rating of the EPA. In fact, “boric acid” is the most commonly used active ingredient and it is not much more toxic that regular table salt. It is amazing that a very safe insecticide can be so lethal to ants and insects. Manufacturers of ant baits include different types of active insecticides and food attractants that perform best for different species of ants.

Some baits are sold over-the-counter for do-it-yourself while other baits contain more toxic active ingredients are are only sold to professionals. Following are some of the most popular commercially produced ant baits in a gel form.

  • Terro (R): OTC. Contains Boric Acid and Sugars
  • Pic (R): OTC. Contains Boric Acid and Sugars
  • Drax (R): PRO. Contains Boric Acid and Sugars, Apple, Mint
  • Drax (R) FP.: PRO. Contains Boric Acid,, Peanut Butter, Protein, Grease
  • MaxForce: Gel and Granules. Hydramethylon

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