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17 Best Fire Ant Killers: The Comparative Review of Gel Baits, Dusts and Insecticides

It’s very easy to get completely lost when you first think about killing fire ants. there are hundreds of products and it is not obvious at all which ones are truly effective. How do you figure this out? We’ve done it for you! We have analyzed all the ant killers, picked the best ones that you can buy immediately on-line and we’ve chosen only the products in which the active ingredients have been scientifically proven and are considered most effective. We’ll start with organic insecticides before moving on to some chemical ones and even garden and farming treatments. Here we go!

Best Fire Ant Killers 2019

Some products have been specifically made for fire ant control (such as Ortho Orthene), while others are multifunctional, i.e. they are suitable for all ant species (Ortho Home Defense). In this way, despite being labeled Carpenter Ants, don’t be surprised that TERRO dust is suitable for fire ants as well. There exist slow & fast acting types of bait; some are specially designed for these ants while other products implement a 2-step method. Read below to find out everything about them!

Five Low Toxicity, Organic Fire Ant Control Products

If you prefer organic pesticides, especially for indoor treatment (if you have pets and kids at home), we’ve found 5 such safe organic products. There are a few active ingredients that are commonly referred to as “organic” or “least toxic” (e.g., boric acid, spinosad, pyrethrins, and diatomaceous earth). They function both as contact and intestinal poisons.

D-Limonene has also been added to this safe product list by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Program experts. This substance affects the insects’ sensory nerves causing an upsurge in their activity. This looks like chaotic twitching, lack of coordination and convulsions of the poisoned insects. Next comes paralysis and death.

We’ve picked 5 products containing the above-listed organic active ingredients.

Monterey Garden Insect Spray | Spinosad Concentrate

Monterey Garden Insect Spray: photoThis non-toxic bacterial insecticide is based on concentrated fermented spinosad. According to the manual, it is to be dissolved in water and sprayed over the soil or poured down a mound. Spinosad can be used immediately on any garden soil, ornamental plants, vegetables and fruits. The manufacturer claims that the Monterey Spray Concentrate, in addition to fire ants, kills and repels worms (caterpillars), thrips, fruit flies and other pests.

We’ve come across different feedback regarding use of this “bio-weapon”. Some are satisfied and say, “It works! The active ingredient, spinosad, is effective and seems to knock out a nest completely in two to three days. It is apparently non-toxic to creatures other than insects”, while others lament that this product is useless against aggressive Texan fire ants.

To get the maximum effect, apply the mixture ASAP. Don’t leave the solution outdoors as the sunlight is detrimental to the active ingredient.

Price:  Check the current price

Orange Guard 103 Water Based Natural Indoor/Outdoor Home Pest Control | Spray

Home Pest Control: photo

This d-limonen (orange peel extract)-based spray needn’t be mixed with water as the product is ready-to-use. It can be named a “universal killer” as the manufacturer claims that Orange Guard works naturally on different insect pests. Allegedly, it can be safely used near food, people and pets. What makes Orange Guard so effective against dangerous fire ants according to the users’ experience?

It might seem that the product doesn’t work immediately after application, but in the end you’ll be proven wrong: “At first, I hated it because it seemed to tick off the ants – they started swarming like crazy while I sprayed them. I thought, “This stuff isn’t working!” Later – all of them were gone. This stuff seems to be working”. Such activity is explicable as d-limonen follows such a pattern. The insects usually are paralyzed and die after these convulsions. Some users use Orange Guard only because it can safely protect  their dog’s food and drink. Users recommend buying several bottles for treating the entire backyard.

Price:  Check the current price

Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth | Crawling Insect Killer

Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth Ant Killer: photo

Here is a 100% Diatomaceous Earth–based product used for killing many insects, including ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, earwigs, silverfish, crickets, millipedes and centipedes. Diatomaceous Earth acts as a powerful contact desiccant and dehydrates insects on contact within two days causing inevitable death.

The users claim that sometimes it is enough to pour Diatomaceous Earth along insect trails to get rid of the pests in the backyard. Oklahoma State University entomologists warn that Diatomaceous earth, a natural dust, can kill some ants but is not very effective when the soil is moist, and it rarely eliminates ant colonies when used alone. That is why before using it, make sure the soil is not moist and opt for Safer Brand DE combined with other, more powerful slow-acting types of bait.

Price:  Check the current price

TERRO Ant Killer Liquid Ant Baits

 Liquid Ant Baits: photo

The active ingredient of the next product is borax which is boric acid (a stomach poison). This bait is #1 Best Seller in Pest Control Traps category.

This is plastic semi transparent bait with liquid filling for indoor use. The manufacturer claims that Terro bait exterminates all kinds of home ants, including fire ants. The patented design of the device prevents bait from leaking, and neither pets nor people can accidentally contact it.

How does it work? You need to place several plastic plates near the places where there are lots of insects, or along their trails. As a rule, the insects have 1 or 2 most used routes around the house, where you can lure them. They will crawl into the trap, drink the bait and return to their nest where they will contaminate others. Moreover, with the help of this pheromone trail, the insects will let others know about the sweet treat, which means they will also head to the trap. That should last until the colony is completely exterminated, since the poison will affect even the queen.

The manufacturers advise, however, is to be patient. You won’t see any results on the first day or even after a week of use; this is a weapon of slow action. It is gradual contamination that ensures effective extermination of the entire colony.

Price: Check current price.

Boric Acid from ants: photo

You can also use pure boric acid, such as PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid (Check the current price) . This dust is convenient for home use if you need to get rid of the insects in places that are difficult to access, such as corners, holes and under the furniture.

Bait Stations and Dusts for Home

At home, you can use Liquid Baits TERRO (described above), Advion gel or slow acting indoor AMDRO Bait Stations, on which we’ll focus below.

Advion Ant Gel Insecticide with Plunger

Ant Gel Insecticide: photo

Advion Gel is one of the best-selling insecticides. Its wide range of action ingredients promise to remove all the sweet feeders including fire ants. Indoxacarb, the active ingredient, is considered to be fast-acting bait (3-7 days) acting on the insect’s nerve cells resulting in paralysis and death.

It is sweet, odorous attractant and it draws ants actively. Then they contaminate the entire colony, and all other insects including the queen are killed. In this case, the chemicals in use are more effective than boric acid, and the attractant is also very strong as it draws the insects like a magnet.

Of course, the best course of action is placing this bait on the trail or near the entrance to their nest. After that, you should be patient and wait for the poison to do it job. It’s crucial not to prevent them from consuming poison and transmitting it to the nest to poison fellow insects and the queen.

Price: Check the current price

AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stations Hydramethylnon (1.0%) for Indoor (4-pack)

AMDRO Kills Ants: photo

These low cost bait stations contain a poisonous 1% hydramethylnon bait which attracts ants-earners in search of food for the entire colony. After that, they spread the toxins within the colony poisoning all its inhabitants including the queen. It takes some time to act, though, as the active ingredient is slow-acting and it takes 1-2 weeks to kill the entire colony. The manufacturer also promises that Amdro will help prevent re-infestation.

This product is for indoor-use only as it can be used to treat wardrobes, areas behind furniture and appliances. Customer reviews are contradictory as certain users consider Amdro to be better than even some renowned competing products, while others note that ants weren’t even interested in the bait stations placed around the house.

The University of Kentucky scientists observe that the ants are rather finicky in their food preferences and may alter them throughout the year. If one bait product isn’t attractive or doesn’t seem to be working, try another. Optimal results usually require a sustained period of feeding, not just a brief visitation by a few ants.

Price: Check the current price

There is another option for home use, TERRO deltamethrin dust.

TERRO T600 1-Pound Fire Ant Killer Dust

Ant Killer Dust: photo

Deltamethrin is one of the most popular insecticides acting on fire ants. Terro Ant Killer Dust is a contact killer which promises to control fire ants within 8 months after treatment. The dust is packed in a convenient tube that doesn’t require use of an additional sprayer. Pour the insecticide from the tube along insect trails, in the corners, floor cracks, under kitchen appliances, furniture etc.

Terro users are satisfied with its performance. This dust will poison ants. Since deltamethrin is water-resistant, don’t hesitate to use it outdoors, spraying the trails or pouring it down the mounds. In this case, however, the consumption of the product will rise noticeably.

Be careful when treating your lot, as this dust doesn’t have any smell, you’d better wear a protective mask so you don’t inhale its particles by accident.

Price: Check the current price

Poison Baits Action: 6 Slow and Fast Acting Ant Baits for Mound Treatment

The scientists unanimously name using poison bait a key method when eliminating fire ants as the ant-earners carry it to the mound contaminating the entire colony and, what is crucial, the queen.  There are slow and fast acting types of bait.

  • Slow action ones are more effective as the entire colony is poisoned within 1-5 weeks.
  • Fast acting baits provide control in 3 to 7 days.
  • IGRs that prevent queens from producing new workers are the slowest as the treatment takes from 1 to 4 months.

Three Slow Acting Outdoor Bait Products

Hydramethylnon bait (Amdro) is a toxin (slow­-acting digestive tract poison) that disrupts the ant’s ability to convert food to energy. Spinosad bait is also a slow-acting biorational (organic) toxin derived from soil dwelling bacteria through a fermentation process. They both demonstrate control from 1 to 5 weeks.

Amdro have devised an entire product line: home bait stations (covered above), bait stakes and outdoor bait granules. They all have the same active ingredient and action principle in common. The ants spread the poison among all the mound dwellers and contaminate them. It is convenient that you can use the bait even if you are unaware of the location of the nest. Depending on the product type, it will take 1-2 weeks to kill the entire colony including the queen. All the Amdro products are known for their reasonable price. Let’s take a closer look at the two that are for indoor use.

AMDRO Kills Ants: photo

1% Hydramethylnon AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stakes are aimed at killing various species, including fire ants, in the backyard and preventing them from penetrating your house. This control product is available at an affordable price for 8 stakes, and its special shape allows sticking the stakes right into the soil near your house or near the spot of fire ant activity. Some also attempt to use it at home with varying success.

Ant Block Home

AMDRO Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait Granules are more expensive than stakes. The concentration of this product is slightly lower, it is 0.88%, but customers’ reviews prove that this doesn’t affect the product’s effectiveness. The manufacturer assures that a single granule canister will be enough for 5 treatments of an average lot, which is quite economical. This seems to truly work: The users claim that the ants have no chance left. Check the current price

Fertilome – Come and Get It Fire Ant Killer

Fire Ant Killer

Organic slow-acting spinosad-based bait is the third product of this review. Some customers are dissatisfied with the action speed, but as it is slow acting bait, spinosad starts working within 1-5 weeks. The main advantage of this organic insecticide is that unlike hydramethylnon, it can be safely used near crops. This bio-insecticide is safe for all horticultural crops.

Price: Check the current price

Fast Acting Outdoor Bait

Advion is based on Indoxacarb, a fast-action toxin affecting the ants’ nerve cells resulting in paralysis and death. Indoxacarb bait is the fastest-acting bait, providing control in three to seven days following application. It also comes in two options: a home-use ant gel covered above and outdoor bait.

Advion Fire Ant Bait

Advion Fire Ant Bait

Advion is used for treating non-crop areas, including golf courses, resorts, lawns and other sites. It promises to eliminate imported fire ants, bigheaded, pavement and turfgrass ants. This bait is considered to be fast acting as you’ll be able to see first results within 2-3 days following the treatment. However, Advion use requires following several rules:

  • It’s better to use the product when the temperature is above 60°F
  • Don’t use it when it’s raining or on damp soil (if it rains within 2-3 hours after treatment, repeat treatment)
  • Don’t combine it with other chemicals.

Despite these conditions, users are quite satisfied and are naming it an absolute must-have.

Price: Check the current price

IGRs: Queen Sterilizers

All IGRs prevent queens from producing new workers. These types of bait take from 1 to 4 months for control. Although IGRs may take longer to achieve substantial results, control may last up to a year, especially if treated areas are greater than one acre.

Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Extinguish bait containing hydramethylnon is a double-action product that not only kills ant-earners, but also sterilizes the queen thus preventing colony pro-creation. It combines the killing speed of an adulticide (Hydramethylnon) and the long-lasting control of an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) (S)-Methoprene.

The killing effect will be visible rather fast (within 1-2 weeks), but IGR (S-Methoprene) will take about 1 month for control. The best season for treatment is spring and early autumn, but some users also recommend using it in hot and dry summer when ants are looking for additional sources of liquid.

Use this bait just like any other one: pour some of it near the mound, and pour a lot around it and on the trails. From time to time, you’ll have to check for new anthills and apply some additional bait, but soon enough, you’ll see that your observation will eventually bear fruit. Users note that the poison has a premium price, but they believe it’s worth it, especially considering that the product can be used indoors.

Price: Check the current price

A Complex 2 Step-Method for Outdoor Control | Treats up to 162 Mounds

Ortho has created Ortho Fire Ant 2-Step Method for Season Long Control. This program entails quick (3 days) destruction of the insects with the help of two products containing 50% Acephate.

The first one, Ortho 12-Ounce Orthene Fire Ant Killer is used specifically for disposing of the mound (anthill). It kills the queen and destroys the colony. You should pour the necessary amount of it over the mound without disturbing the insects (don’t dissolve it in water!).

Fire Ant Killer

Follow by using Ortho MAX Broadcast Granules to prevent new anthills from emerging for up to 6 months. This product should be applied with a broad spreader. A single packet will cover 5000 sq. ft. Over 90% of the users are happy they trusted this 2-step system. Ortho dust usage result will be visible in a day as life freezes inside the anthill.

Price of Ortho Fire Ant 2-Step Method: Check the current price

Professional Insecticides

Finally, we’ll tell you about two concentrated insecticides used by a professional exterminator but are now available for you, as a homeowner, to purchase. The first one is universal Talstar containing bifenthrin and the second one is Avid with abamectin used for agricultural land.

Talstar Pro 96 ounce (3/4 gallon) jug

Talstar P Professional Insecticide: photo

Talstar is a universal concentrated insecticide containing 7.9% Bifenthrin. This chemical can eliminate all the indoor and outdoor pests, namely 75 species of pest insects. Mix 1 oz of the product with a gallon of water (this ratio works both for indoor and outdoor use) and spray it with a large garden sprayer.

Users are satisfied with its performance and give it a 4.6 out of 5 stars rating. When treating the soil with it, not only you will get rid of the mounds, you will also eliminate other street pests, which is effective and convenient. You’ll come across a variety of tips in the comments section. For instance, you shouldn’t begin treatment right after rain. If you are allergic to pest bites, treat garden furniture more thoroughly so that they never bother you again. Read other customer reviews to find more helpful tips.

As Talstar is a very powerful product, wear protective mask and safety goggles when treating the lot and don’t let kids and pets on the lot until the insecticide has dried up. It is also forbidden to use it near water bodies. Such application restrictions are caused by the extensive length of the residual effect (up to 3 months) and high toxicity of bifenthrin for plants and animals living in water bodies.

Price: Check the current price

For Agricultural Lands and Gardens | Avid 0.15EC

Spider Mite Control for Agricultural

Don’t be surprised that this concentrated insecticide is aimed at spider mite control; the scientists recommend using 0.011% abamectin Avid for fire ant control in citrus, almonds, walnuts, potatoes, around barns and equipment, and chicken houses. It will also not spare other outdoor pest insects. The active ingredient, on the other hand, won’t damage plants. The consumption is also quite reasonable as an 8-ounce bottle of concentrate makes 192 gallons of spray.  It seems to be worth this money as almost 90% of the users rated it highly.

Price: Check the current price

Fire Ant Killers Comparison Chart

Product Type (slow-acting/fast-acting) Active ingredient How to use it?
Monterey Garden Insect Spray 

Monterey Garden Insect Spray min: photo

Slow-acting. Spinosad. Dissolve in water and spray over soil and pour down a mound.
Orange Guard 103 – Spray

Home Pest Control min: photo

Fast-acting. D-limonen. Spray over soil and pour down a mound.
Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth

Insect Killer Safer Brand 51703 min: photo

Fast-acting. Diatomaceous Earth. Pour it along insect trails.
TERRO Ant Killer Liquid Ant Baits

 Liquid Ant Baits min: photo

Slow-acting. Boric acid. Place several ant bait stations near the places where there are lots of insects, or their trails.
PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid (2-pack)

Boric Acid PestGuard min: photo

Slow-acting. Boric acid. Pour it along insect trails, in the corners, floor cracks, under kitchen appliances, furniture etc.
Advion Ant Gel Insecticide

Ant Gel Insecticide min: photo

Fast-acting. Indoxacarb. Placе this bait on the trail and near the entrance to the ants’ nest.
AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stations

Kills Ants AMDRO min: photo

Slow-acting. Hydramethylnon. Place it into wardrobes, in areas behind furniture and appliances. For indoor use only.
TERRO T600 1-Pound Ant Killer Dust

Ant Killer Dust: photo

Fast-acting. Deltamethrin. Pour the insecticide from the tube along insect trails, in the corners, floor cracks, under kitchen appliances, furniture etc.
AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stakes

AMDRO Kills Ants min: photo

Slow-acting. Hydramethylnon. Stick the stakes into the soil near your house and near the spot of fire ant activity.
AMDRO Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait Granules

Ant Block Home min: photo

Slow-acting. Hydramethylnon. Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.
Fertilome – Come and Get It Fire Ant Killer

Fire Ant Killer min: photo

Slow-acting. Spinosad. Dissolve in water and spray over soil and pour down a mound.
Advion Fire Ant Bait

Advion Fire Ant Bait min: photo

Fast-acting. Indoxacarb. Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.
Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait min: photo

Slow-acting. Hydramethylnon. Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.
Ortho Fire Ant 2-Step Method 

Fire Ant Killer Ortho min: photo

Fast-acting. Acephate. Treats up to 162 Mounds. Step 1: Pour Fire Ant Killer over the mound without disturbing the insects. Step 2: Pour broadcast granules over soil.
Talstar Pro

Universal concentrated insecticide min: photo

Fast-acting. Bifenthrin. Dissolve in water to spray over soil and pour down a mound.
Avid 0.15EC

Spider Mite Control for Agricultural min: photo

Fast-acting. Abamectin. Dissolve in water and spray over soil and pour down a mound.


Experts’ Tips on Using Mound Treatments

Scientists recommend using slow-acting broadcast ant killers. Although fast-acting ones demonstrate their effectiveness faster, it is the broadcast killers that show better results in the long run. They can control even underground colonies that have not yet emerged to the surface. Furthermore, the price of these products will never damage your budget.

Experts’ Tips

To obtain best results the scientists recommend following these rules when treating mounds:

  • Use bait immediately after opening the pack or container because its effectiveness is reduced as it dries up. If you don’t need to use it all at once, store the remaining substance in a zip-lock bag but don’t keep it for over 3-6 months.
  • Don’t bother ants in their anthill before laying the bait around the mound. It can hurt you as the disturbed insects can swarm chaotically and sting you trying to protect their home.
  • Don’t pour the bait over wet soil or grass, wait for it to dry. It is also sensible to keep track of the weather forecast: make sure that no rain is forecast for the 12-24 hours following the poison use.
  • Use the bait when the ants are in search of food. Remember that they are least active when it’s too hot or too cold. Afternoon and evening, when the temperature is within the range of 70-95°F, is perfect for using the poison. If the weather isn’t appropriate, conduct the following experiment. Place some edible bait (such as potato chips) near a busy anthill. If the ants have shown up within 10-30 minutes, it’s high time to replace the chips with some poison.

 Why Don’t the Scientists Recommend Using fast-acting baits?

 California University experts recommend that you avoid products packaged as granules that contain the active ingredients cyfluthrin or permethrin as they are actually contact insecticides that rapidly kill foragers and don’t control the colony. Likewise, bait stations with propoxur or indoxacarb aren’t very effective, because the active ingredient is too fast-acting.

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