Best Lawn Ant Killer

Best Lawn Ant Killer to Go Full-Godzilla on Your Yard

Did you know that there are about 10 quadrillion ants in the world? (yes, that’s a word) By comparison, the global population of people is a tad under 8 billion. This means that ants outnumber us in the ratio of 1,250,000 to 1! Not only are these creatures innumerable but they also seem to be incredible survivalists. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate them in your yard (queue the President’s speech from Independence Day). With the best lawn ant killer and a few precautionary measures, you can keep your yard completely ant-free.

The insecticide that I highly recommend and consider the best lawn ant killer option for most homeowners is the Ant Adios Ant Killer from Sunday. It’s a fairly-priced, odor-free product that works well against numerous ant species. It’s also very easy to apply using either a scoop or broadcast spreader. Plus, it’s OMRI-listed, and safe enough to use in organic gardens.

It’s a product that should work well for just about every homeowner, but to be thorough I have compiled a list of other effective lawn ant killers ranging from organic, food-grade options to commercial-grade insecticides.

By the end of this article you’ll have everything you need to know to get ants out of your lawn for good.

My Favorite Lawn Ant Killers

Ant Adios Insect & Ant Killer - Best Overall Lawn Ant Killer
5 Star Rating

A budget-conscious ant killer that’s perfect for organic gardens. The insecticide is in granular form, which makes for easy application to locations around your home.

Save 15% with code LAWNCHICK2024

CSI Bifen LP Insecticde Granules - Best Commercial-Grade Ant Killer for Lawns
5 Star Rating

Eliminating ants from a large lawn calls for a commercial-grade ant killer. This bifenthrin-based product comes in a 25-pound bag and offers 3 months of protection.

Ortho Ready-to-Spray Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape
4 Star Rating

This liquid insecticide gives you one of the easiest ways to exterminate ants. It attaches easily to a garden hose, providing convenient spray application anyone can master. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

How to Choose the Best Lawn Ant Killer for Your Yard

There’s a huge number of ant killers available on the market, but only some of them work the way they claim to.

Question is, which is the most suitable product for your lawn? Which will be effective and solve your problem fast?

To narrow down your options, consider the following factors. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the mistakes that buyers make when buying ant killers (I’ll explain those too).

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, A.S.

What to Look For When Buying Lawn Ant Killers

The most crucial points to consider when buying lawn ant killers are:

Type of Ant

Don’t be in a rush to buy an ant killer. The first thing you should do is identify the specific ants that are invading your lawn.

How to Kill Ants in Lawn - Proper Identification

This way, you can look for a product that specifically targets them. Here are the most common ant species that cause lawn destruction:

  1. Odorous ant – this ant gets its name from the foul smell it produces when it’s squashed. More importantly, it’s resilient, which allows it to withstand mild ant treatments. Odorous ants aren’t very picky about their habitats; they can survive both indoors and outdoors. So once you spot them on your lawn, you’ll need to act fast to prevent them from getting inside your home.
  2. Carpenter ants – these ones come in a bigger size than other ants. The worker ants range from 6 to 12 mm whereas the winged males reach up to 20 mm in size. However, it’s their strong mandible jaws that I have a problem with. They use them to burrow into wood. So if you have any wooden structures (especially wet wood) within your yard, be mindful of these ants.
  3. Army ants – another ant species that’s destructive to lawns is the army ant. Aptly named, army ants like to move in large masses. They like to feed on foliage, meaning they can quickly ruin your turf grass and any vegetation growing in your yard, so these are of particular concern.

Type of Ant Killer

The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out the type of ant killer to use. These products can be classified into two main categories: bait and kill-on contact.

  1. Bait – this insecticide works by appealing to the ants’ natural instincts. Specifically, it leverages the fact that ants love sweet things – sugar, honey you name it. So most baits contain a piece of food that has an attractive scent or flavor to lure ants. They also contain slow-acting ingredients meant to kill the ant. This way, the worker ant has ample time to ingest and carry the leftover bait back to its colony before the ingredient takes full effect. This allows the whole colony to be targeted.
  2. Kill-on-contact – as implied in the name, this product contains fast-acting ingredients that kill these creatures on the spot. However, the ant has to come into contact with the chemical for it to work, so you’re looking at taking on more responsibility for a good application (compared to bait traps which can just be left out to work on their own).

Application Technique

The method of applying lawn ant killers also matters. This helps you establish whether there’s a need to buy additional tools like a sprayer or spreader.

The application methods available are:

  1. Bait station – in this case, all you need to do is to set the trap within your lawn. It should contain a bait, which is essentially a mixture of ant-friendly food, and ant poison. What I like about this is that it’s a set it and leave it approach. Simply, place the bait station in an area that’s frequented by ants and it will do the rest. The drawback is that some beneficial insects may also be attracted, and they’ll become collateral damage.
  2. Sprays – some ant killers come in liquid form. You can spray it directly on the creature, to kill it upon contact. Or, you can apply it to common entry points and along the perimeter of your home. Once you spray, the ant killer leaves a residue that destroys any ants that pass over it. Ultimately, this means that you’ll need a spray bottle or other spraying container to execute the extermination. The liquid products I recommend on this page come ready to spray, so the only thing you may need is a garden hose (which you probably already have).
  3. Granules – granular ant killers are meant to be scattered all over your lawn. With some of these products, you have to water your lawn to activate their ingredients. Once they dissolve in the water, they leave a residue that destroys ants immediately on contact. Scattering granular ant killers calls for a spreader, but it’s an easy and familiar process.
  4. Dust – ant killers can also come in powder form. It kills the intended creature either through ingestion or contact. Dust ant killers are the best option if you’re looking to create a defensive perimeter all around your property, or to target specific anthills in one area.

Active Ingredients

Once you’ve decided on the type of ant killer to use, look for the key ingredient. The best active ingredients are those that exterminate ants without damaging your lawn or posing any health risks to humans.

Highlighted below are some of the most common active ingredients:

  • Deltamethrin – this ingredient is typically found in kill-on-contact ant killers. Once ingested, it interferes with the ant’s central nervous system causing instant death.
  • Borax – this element is used in ant killers with a delayed on-set feature. This means that it takes time to act. The good thing is that it allows the worker ants adequate time to return to the colony and distribute it to others. You’ll find it in many baits.
  • Bifenthrin – is another kill-on-contact poison. This means the ant has to come into direct contact with it for it to be effective.

How to Stay Safe When Handling & Applying Insecticide

Anytime you’re buying an ant killer, you should check whether its ingredients are approved by the EPA. This way, you can determine whether it’s safe to use around kids and pets.

You should also do your homework and understand how long you need to avoid the treated area after application.

Fortunately, the majority of ingredients used in these products are only toxic to ants and some other insects – not people. Still, it’s common sense to take safety precautions to minimize your exposure to them.

Ant Killer

Here are some of the measures I take before applying a lawn ant killer:

  • Wearing protective gloves, long pants, and long sleeves,
  • Wearing eye protection and spraying away from my eyes (be mindful of wind direction), and
  • Placing ant bait stations away from the reach of children.

Things to Avoid When Buying Lawn Ant Killers

Are your ant control efforts proving futile? You’re probably making one of these mistakes with ant killers:

  • Failing to identify the ant species first – before anything else, figure out the specific ants attacking your lawn. If you skip this step, you’ll end up with a product that’s ineffective for the ants in your yard.
  • Not buying the correct amount of the lawn ant killer – another mistake that buyers make is buying an incorrect amount of ant killer. To avoid this, you should calculate your yard’s square footage. This will help you determine the exact amount of ant killer you need to cover the entire lawn. I have a free tool to help you do just that, which you can find right here.
  • Relying solely on ant killers – ant killers offer a fairly quick solution to your pest problem. But, they don’t address the underlying problem. You should also take a closer look at your yard and determine what attracted the ants in the first place. This way, you can save time and money by avoiding another ant infestation in the future.

My List of the Best Lawn Ant Killers This Year

Here’s my list of the best lawn ant killers available right now. 

  1. BEST OVERALL: Ant Adios Insect & Ant Killer
  2. BEST LIQUID: Ortho Ready-to-Spray Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape
  3. BEST COMMERCIAL: CSI Bifen L/P Insecticide Granules
  4. BEST NATURAL: HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth with Powder Duster
  5. BEST FOR FIRE ANTS: Martin’s Surrender Fire Ant Killer
  6. BEST ANT STAKES: TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes
  7. BEST HOME PERIMETER SPRAY: Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Home Perimeter

Below you’ll find detailed information about each of these ant killer products I recommend, including application tips and an explanation of the active ingredients.

I’ll also share how and why each works well to help you have success using these products to kill ants in your lawn.

Ant Adios Insect & Ant Killer

The Ant Adios Ant Killer strikes an excellent balance between pricing and features. This is one of the primary reasons why it’s a top-rated ant killer for lawns. Here’s what you can expect from this insecticide:


Other than its affordability, another feature that drew me to this ant killer is its composition.

The active ingredient is spinosad, derived from fermenting Saccharopolyspora Spinosa. Don’t sweat it, you’re not the only one who found that difficult to pronounce. But the key takeaway is that it’s obtained from a naturally-occurring bacteria in the soil.

This allows it to target ants without causing any adverse effects on your lawn. This then means that it’s safe to use around fruit trees, veggies, berries, citrus, flowers, trees and more.

Still reluctant to buy the Ant Adios ant killer? You can rest easy knowing that it’s listed by the OMRI for organic gardening.


What kind of ants can you control using Ant Adios ant killer? A ton of different species including crazy ants, pavement ants, Argentine ants, and Texas leaf-cutting ants among others. You can also use it to eradicate earwigs, sowbugs, cutworms, crickets, and pillbugs.

That said, this ant killer needs a bit of time to act. Once you apply it, it might take up to 72 hours to see any results. And, to completely eliminate the ants in a colony, wait at least 14 days.


The Ant Adios is a highly cost-effective ant killer. The 2-lb bag that it comes in is enough to treat a  lawn of up to 4,000 sq.ft.

Even better is the fact that it remains effective for up to a month. This means that within that period, you won’t have to worry about seeing any ants on your lawn.

The one thing that I didn’t fancy is that it’s not yet been approved for use in certain states. These include Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

Ant Adios Insect & Ant Killer Specifications

Active ingredientSpinosad
Duration of efficiencyUp to 4 weeks
  • Safe for organic gardening
  • Comes in a ready-to-use state
  • Does not have any odors
  • Cannot be used in some states

My Final Take-Away: Searching for an ant killer that is both affordable and safe to use on your lawn? Then Ant Adios is the ultimate solution.

Our Expert’s Take: According to Art Davidson, a horticulturist and member of our expert panel, “an insecticide with spinosad is always a good choice and is cost effective.”

Where to Buy Ant Adios

You can order this product online directly from the manufacturer:

ORTHO Ready-to-Spray Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape

Getting rid of ants from your lawn can feel like a never-ending chore. Thankfully, this liquid ant-killer arrives in a ready-to-spray state, resulting in very easy application. Here’s a quick look at the Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape.


The biggest selling point of this ant killer is that it’s incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is attach your garden hose, turn on the water, and get started spraying.

The icing on the cake is that it can easily treat large lawns. The 32-ounce bottle that it comes in is enough to cover a whopping 5,300 sq.ft.

Long-lasting control

Most ant killers remain effective for only about a month. But the Ortho Ready-to-Spray takes things up a notch by lasting an impressive 3 months.

Furthermore, ants aren’t the only insects that this product exterminates. You can also use it on American dog ticks, fleas, and spiders (with the exception of black widow).

That said, this product isn’t suitable for indoor spaces. If the ants have already built nests inside your home, look for an ant-killer that’s fit for indoor applications.

Similarly, the Ortho Home Defense is not safe to apply on areas with vegetables and fruit trees that aren’t listed on its label.

Creates a bug barrier

Yet another feature that sets this insecticide apart entails its ability to create a barrier.

Other ant killers can only kill insects on the spot. But they can’t prevent them from moving to your home.

Aptly named, this product starts forming a bug barrier within minutes of application.

Ortho Ready-to-Spray Insect Killer Specifications

Active ingredientBifenthrin, Zeta-Cypermethrin
Duration of efficiency3 months
  • Offers protection for up to 3 months
  • One of the easiest ant killers to apply
  • Creates a bug barrier
  • Can treat an area of about 5,300 sq.ft.
  • Only suitable for outdoor use

My Final Take-Away: The Ortho Ready-to-Spray provides an excellent first line of defense. It starts creating a barrier the moment you apply it, which deters ants from relocating to your home.

Where to Buy Ortho Ready-to-Spray Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

Best Commercial-Grade

CSI Bifen L/P Insecticide Granules

Looking for an ant killer that’s suitable for commercial applications? Look no further than the CSI Bifen L/P Granular Ant Killer. Here are some of the features that set it apart.


The core reason why we recommend CSI Bifen for commercial use is that it comes in a generous quantity.

Specifically, it comes in a massive 25-pound bag making it the best ant killer for heavy infestations. This gives you enough product to cover an area of up to 10,000 sq.ft.

For those with small-to-midsize lawns, it’s also available in a 15-pound bag that covers 3,200 to 6,500 sq.ft.

That said, it’s important that you apply it correctly to get the best outcome. The best way to go about this is to broadcast the granules over your entire lawn. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to buy a spreader if you don’t have one already.

If covering a large area, consider investing in a broadcast spreader. But for small-size lawns, a hand or push spreader will suffice.

Finally, remember to water your lawn after application. This is necessary to activate the Bifen granules.


As its name suggests, the active ingredient in Bifen is bifenthrin. Comprising 0.2% of its total composition, this ingredient is effective against several insects. These include ants, ticks, fleas, chinch bugs, crickets, and moles. 

And like the Ortho Home Defense, this product offers long-lasting protection too. It has residual effects that last anywhere between 2 and 3 months.

CSI Bifen L/P Insecticide Specifications

Active ingredientBifenthrin
Duration of efficiency3 months
  • Large coverage
  • Effective against the majority of pests; fleas, ticks, and moles
  • Provides long-lasting control; up to 3 months
  • Not the easiest to apply if you don’t have the right equipment

My Final Take-Away: If your large lawn is being invaded by ants, then CSI Bifen L/P Ant Killer is just the product to buy. It’s available in 15- and 25-pound sizes, providing ample product to tackle heavy infestations.

Where to Buy Bifen L/P Insect Granules

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

Best Natural Ant Killer

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade with Powder Duster

Have you been searching for an ant killer that’s safe to use around your kids or fur babies? If you have, an all-natural remedy like this Harris Diatomaceous Earth is a fantastic choice. Here’s a detailed review of the product.


The vast majority of ant killers available on the market are made of chemical-based additives and fillers.

This insecticide by PF Harris is an exception as it’s made purely from 100% diatomaceous earth. This ingredient is ground into a fine powder, resulting in a fast-acting ant killer. Within 48 hours, it shreds the ant’s exoskeleton. This then causes to it to dry out and die.


The Harris DE ant killer gives you plenty of freedom when it comes to the mode of application. One way is to spread the dust around the target area using the powder duster that it comes with. This technique is ideal if you’re treating a small lawn.

For bigger lawns, consider mixing the diatomaceous earth with water and using a sprayer for application.

Simply fill your spray tank two-thirds of the way with water. Next, add the DE powder and shake it thoroughly so that the contents mix evenly. PF Harris recommends using just 26.5 oz. of the powder per one gallon of water.

The greatest risk of using this ant control dust is that it might get blown or washed away. In case it does, you’ll want to re-apply it after a week.

Target pests

The Harris Diatomaceous Earth can be used to exterminate a wide range of pests. These include ants, millipedes, fleas, crickets, grasshoppers, centipede, cluster flies, scorpions, and even silverfish. 


Since it’s a natural ant killer, this product is safe to use on lawns that contain beneficial plants. However, you should not spray it directly on a plant’s leaves, stems, or exposed roots.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Specifications

Active ingredientDiatomaceous Earth
Duration of efficiency48 hours
FormAnt dust
  • Fast-acting; provides results within 24 to 48 hours
  • Ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications
  • All-natural; hence, safe to use around kids and pets
  • Effective against multiple pests
  • Comes with a dust applicator for ease of use
  • There’s a risk of the product being blown or washed away

My Final Take-Away: For the safest and most inexpensive ant killer, the Diatomaceous Earth by PF Harris is a fantastic choice. This all-natural product is safe to use not only on your lawn but also in indoor spaces.

Our Expert’s Take: We asked Arthur Davidson, a horticulturist with over 50 years of experience for his opinion and he said: “Diatomaceous earth has been a repellant in and around our house for years. Most insects and spiders avoid it like the plague.”

Where to Buy HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

Martin's Surrender Fire Ant Killer

Fire ants are more lethal than other ant species.

Not only can they ruin your plants and trees but they also have a very painful sting. If you’re looking for an ant killer that works against them, consider the Martin’s Surrender Ant Killer. Here’s a more comprehensive review of it:


Acephate is a common ingredient in insecticides used to control biting insects such as this one. It works by binding to and attacking the ants’ central nervous systems.

Martins Surrender insecticide contains a whopping 75% acephate, making it very effective against fire ants. For this reason, the manufacturer recommends just one treatment for each season.


This ant killer can be applied in one of two ways. First off, you can apply the powder directly on fire ant mounds.

If you choose this route, apply only 1 to 2 teaspoons of the product over each mound. And since it comes in a 1-lb can, this gives you enough insecticide to treat 108 ant mounds. Applied directly, this ant killer starts eliminating fire ants within minutes.

The second way is to mix it with water to create a liquid insecticide. This is the best approach to use if you’ve planted any crops on your lawn. You can then spray the solution on your plants, where it gets absorbed through the root system.

Martins Surrender Fire Ant Killer Specifications

Active ingredientAcephate
Duration of efficiency48 hours
TypeDust/ Powder
  • Contains enough ant killer to cover 108 mounds
  • Kills fire ants within minutes of application
  • Can also be sprayed on plants as a liquid insecticide
  • It’s only available in some states

My Final Take-Away: Tackling fire ants requires you to pull out the big guns. To that end, the Martin’s Surrender Fire Ant Killer is an excellent solution.

Where to Buy Martin’s Surrender Fire Ant Killer

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes

Getting rid of ants from your lawn can turn out to be very time-consuming. Thankfully, the Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Stakes are designed with ease of use in mind. The following is a more detailed look at this ant killer.


The biggest highlight of the Terro Outdoor Ant Bait Stakes is how easy they are to use. These bait stations arrive pre-filled and ready to use.

So all you need to do is look for traces of ants on your lawn. After identifying these spots, place the stakes there, pull off the activation tabs and leave the baits to do their job. 

You don’t need to use any special tools when setting up these baits. Simply push them into the ground using your hand.

Better yet, each stake contains a transparent window to help you monitor the level of the ant bait. Once it runs out, you can replace the station with a new one.

I was also impressed to learn that these ant stakes are waterproof.

That said, it’s crucial to note that the actual ant bait is in liquid form. So if you don’t plant the bait station firmly in the ground, it could tip over and cause the liquid to spill.

Active ingredient

For the main ingredient, the manufacturer resorted to using borax, and rightly so. It’s been proven to be effective against a wide range of ant species.

Stewart Clark (Terro’s director of research) explains that borax works by compromising an ant’s capability to digest and process food. Once that happens, death is imminent.

Another thing I like about borax is that it doesn’t take effect instantly. So the first few ants that ingest the sweet baits have an opportunity to return to the colony and spread it to others. The fact that it’s not a toxic ant killer also makes it safe to use around people and pets.


Most liquid ant killers come in only one size. But with the Terro T1812 Ant Stakes, you’ll be free to choose from 3 sizes.

For small-size lawns, the package with 8 bait stations will suffice. For mid-size lawns, invest in the one with 16 bait stations. And for those with lawns the size of a soccer field, the 48-bait station unit is the best.

TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Specifications

Active ingredientBorax
Duration of efficiency1 month
  • Each station has a see-through window that helps you track the level of ant bait
  • Formulated with borax, which is safe and effective
  • Includes multiple bait stations in each package
  • Easy to use
  • The bait is in liquid form, which can easily spill

My Final Take-Away: The Terro Liquid Ant Bait Stakes come in liquid form, and they’re super effective against resilient ants. With a see-through window and pull-away activation tabs, they’re also some of the easiest bait stations to use.

Our Expert’s Take: Arthur Davidson, a horticulturist and an expert panelist here at Lawn Chick who reviews all of our articles for accuracy, says: “Ant baits with borax are great because ants cannot build up a tolerance to it.”

Where to Buy TERRO Liquid Ant Bait Stakes

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

Best Home Perimeter Spray

Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Home Perimeter

Not every ant killer is suitable for a home perimeter, but if you have ants in your yard that are entering your home, you’ll want something to stop them, fast.

However, it should also be safe so it doesn’t end up being a health hazard to your household. One product that fits this description perfectly is the Ortho Home Defense Max Insect Killer.


The active ingredient in Ortho Home Defense Max is permethrin, which makes up just 0.25%. This proportion is enough to kill ants without posing any safety threats to unintended parties like humans and pets.


One other thing I like about permethrin is that it remains effective for a pretty long time. To be specific, it creates a barrier that keeps bugs out for at least 12 months. This is pretty impressive considering other ant killers are only effective for about a month.

It gets better: the insecticide keeps off other bugs as well (not just ants). These include fleas, ticks, spiders, and roaches.


Applying any lawn ant killer can get messy if you don’t have the right tools. Ortho understands this, which is why they include an application wand with different settings.

While this attachment is a fantastic addition, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it certainly makes it easy to spray the ant killer. In fact, it has an ergonomic handle, making it comfortable to hold for an extended period.

On the other hand, learning how to use the wand takes a bit of time. Some buyers report having to hold the start button for up to 3 minutes to get it started.

Ortho Home Defense MAX Specifications

Active ingredientPermethrin
Duration of efficiency12-month control
  • Keeps bugs away for up to 12 months
  • Comes with a wand for easy application
  • Effective on different bugs, including roaches and spiders
  • Safe enough to use indoors
  • Using the spray bottle and wand is a bit of a learning curve

My Final Take-Away: Looking for an insecticide that can keep ants from your lawn for the longest time possible? The Ortho Home Defense Max Home Perimeter Spray is the ultimate solution. It offers protection for an entire year and is safe to use both indoors and outdoors.

Where to Buy Ortho Home Defense MAX Home Perimeter Spray

You can compare prices and order this online at the following retailers:

Still Not Sure?

Let Me Answer Some Common Buyer Questions

Sarah, the "Lawn Chick" of

If you’re like many homeowners shopping for a lawn ant killer, you might still have some questions.

Below I’ll try to provide some more information about choosing and using lawn insecticides, along with some tips for safe application.

In my experience, the biggest concerns homeowners have about using an insect killer include risks to themselves, their children and pets, and also the potential to harm pollinators and other beneficial insects. I’ll try to address these concerns head-on below.

If you’re still on the fence, please explore my site. I have hundreds of in-depth articles on a range of topics about yard maintenance and lawn care, and I expect that you might find one that addresses your specific question or concern.

For now, here’s some further reading about lawn ant killer products that might help as you make your final purchase decision:

What Attracts Ants to My Lawn?

Like any other pest, ants invade your lawn seeking three main things: food, moisture, and shelter. So if your lawn contains one or more of these resources, don’t be too surprised to find a colony of ants.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the things that might be attracting ants to your lawn:

  • Food sources – ants like to feed on honeydew produced by garden pests like aphids. Moreover, certain species – like the army ant – eat grass.
  • Moisture – do you have objects around the yard that collect rainwater? Those empty gardening pots, pet bows, and kids toys provide ants with readily-accessible water.
  • Shelter – species like carpenter ants like to build their nests within rotting wood. Other ants prefer to build them in soil or yard debris, all of which can be found on your lawn.

Are Ants in the Lawn Bad?

While ants can be considered beneficial, too many ants in your lawn can be bad for your turf and detract from your ability to enjoy your yard.

Ants in Lawn

Some homeowners wonder whether they should get rid of ants considering the benefits they offer. Not only do they improve soil aeration, but they also feed on several pests that are worse to have in your lawn.

Though they can be beneficial, lawn ants have their fair share of drawbacks:

  • For one, they cause gut-wrenching stings and bites – something you don’t want (especially if you have young kids).
  • Secondly, their behavior of digging tunnels underground and piling up soil and sand above ground can get out of hand. These tunnels can cause your soil to dry out; depriving turf grass of the nutrients it needs to grow.
  • Finally, some types of ants will actually eat the foliage of your grass and kill your lawn.

How Can I Use Ant Killers for a Successful Treatment?

First off, you should have a pretty good picture of the specific ant species that is attacking your lawn. This helps you figure out the most suitable ant killer to use.

Secondly, identify the spots where the ants live by founding their mounds or anthills. This way, you’ll know the amount of ant killer to buy (will a targeted approach solve your problem, or will you have to treat the entire lawn?).

Lastly, be sure to read and adhere to the instructions highlighted on the product label, including product coverage and how long it will remain effective. Set a reminder on your phone to re-apply if necessary.

Is Ant Bait Better than Kill-on-Contact Insecticides?

Each type of ant killer has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. So it all depends on what you’re looking for.

To help you choose between the two, here’s a breakdown of their respective pros and cons.

Ant Bait Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Simple application – an ant bait station does the brunt of the work. Simply set it up on your lawn, and it will start attracting ants.
  • Targets multiple ants – with ant baits, you can eliminate the ants you can see and those that you can’t see as well. This is because most ants carry the bait with them back to the colony.
  • No mess – with this approach, you also won’t have to worry about cleaning up residue or ant dust after an application.
  • It’s a slow process – ant baits take time to destroy entire ant colonies. It could take up to two weeks to get rid of all the ants on your lawn.
  • Need to monitor baits – you also have to keep an eye on the ant bait so that it doesn’t run out before you’re able to exterminate all the ants.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Kill-on-Contact Insecticides

  • Long-lasting protection -one advantage of using a kill-on-contact insecticide is that its effects last longer. These products create a barrier that prevents ants from invading your lawn for a month or more.
  • Instant results – don’t want to keep seeing ants crawling leisurely on your lawn, this ant killer can exterminate ants on the spot!
  • Works well for large areas – if you have a big lawn, a kill-on-contact ant killer is the best option. It contains enough liquid or granules that can be applied to a larger area.
  • Requires a cleanup afterward – applying these ant killers creates a bit of a mess. So you’ll have to clean up after the fact, especially if you applied it indoors.
  • Only kills the ants that it comes into contact with it – unlike bait ant killers, these products only eliminate the ants that can be seen in the open.

How Long Does Ant Bait Take to Work?

Most ant baits are capable of killing the individual ants that consume them in a span of 24 to 48 hours.

Best Way to Kill Ants in Lawn

However, it takes much longer to get rid of an entire colony using this approach. It can take anywhere between 10 and 14 days to eliminate a very large colony.

Are Lawn Ant Killers Toxic to Humans?

Overall, unintended exposure to an ant killer poses minimal risk of toxicity. This is because the majority of these products aren’t highly concentrated.

That said, you may experience an array of side effects depending on the part of your body that gets exposed. For instance, if you accidentally ingest the product, you’ll likely suffer nausea and vomiting.

Similarly, if the product comes into contact with your skin or eyes, then you may experience some irritation.

To avoid these unpleasant effects, be sure to wash anywhere that comes into contact with these products with plenty of water.

I want to stress that it is important to take steps to prevent exposure, because that’s easier to do than dealing with any side effects. Wearing long pants and sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and a quality mask or respirator will help ensure you stay healthy without any ill effects.

And always, ALWAYS be sure to store these products securely where children and pets cannot access them.

Does Salt Stop Ants?

Yes, it does. If you’re looking for a home remedy that works exceptionally well against ants, salt may be worth a try. The fact that it’s a desiccant is what makes salt solutions effective.

Put simply; it causes the exoskeleton of the ant to completely dry out; which kills them.

Does salt work better than the products recommended on this page? Not really, but if you’re looking for a natural alternative and haven’t had luck with Diatomaceous Earth, then it may be worth a try.

Do Lawn Ant Killers Kill Beneficial Insects like Honeybees?

Ants and bees are both in the order Hymenoptera, which means they are close relatives. Generally, anything that kills ants will also kill bees. This doesn’t mean that you can’t successfully treat your lawn for ants without protecting your local honeybee population – it just means you’ll need to take some extra precautions and do it the right way.

Do Ant Killers Kill Honeybees? (how to apply them safely to protect pollinators)

If you are concerned about pollinators like honeybees, then I would steer you away from ant bait traps. While it’s unlikely that a bee will visit these traps and ingest the bait, if one did and returned to the hive to deliver it, this could do some damage to the hive.

If you have dandelions, black medic, or clover in your lawn which could attract honeybees, then mow your lawn a bit lower than normal prior to applying any ant killer to your yard. This way there will be no flowers in the treated area to attract the bees, and the flowers won’t return immediately. By eliminating the food source, you ensure that the bees won’t visit the area you’re treating right away.

Also, choose a product with a shorter duration, like the Diatomaceous Earth product I recommend above (which is effective for about two days). This way it will be all-clear and safe for the honeybees by the time the flowers return to your lawn.

You may need to do several treatments in this way to eliminate your ant population (meaning it’s possible you may need to buy extra product to get the results you want), but DE is pretty inexpensive, and it’s probably the safest approach to take to kill ants while protecting pollinators.

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

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