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. Amazon.com alone sells over 200 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 chosen only those products in which the active ingredients have been scientifically proven and tare considered most effective. We’ll start with organic insecticides before moving on to some chemical ones and even garden and farming treatment.

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 Defens). 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 others complement a 2-step method product. Read below to find out everything about them!

5 Low Toxicity, Organic and Nonchemical Fire Ant Control Products

If you only prefer organic pesticides, especially for indoor treatment (if you have pets and kids at home), we’ve found 5 such safe organic products. According to the entomologists from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, 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 with Spinosad Concentrate 32oz

Monterey Garden Insect SprayThis ~$34.04 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 leave reviews like “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. Read all customer reviews on Amazon.com to decide whether it is worth buying.

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: ~$34.04 Check the current price

Orange Guard 103 Water Based Indoor/Outdoor Home Pest Control - 32 oz Spray

Home Pest Control

This ~$13.63 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?

As customers state, 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 dog food and drink. Users recommend buying several bottles for treating the entire backyard as its consumption will be significant.

Price: ~$13.63 Check the current price

Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth Bed Bug, Flea and Ant Crawling Insect Killer, 4 lb

Insect Killer

Here is a ~$21.91 100% Diatomaceous Earth –based product used for killing many insects, including 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 leading them to 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 moist and opt for Safer Brand DE combined with other, more powerful slow-acting types of bait.

Price: ~$21.91 Check the current price

The active ingredient of the next product is borax which is boric acid. The crystals of boric acid are sharp and get between the joints of an insect's exoskeleton. The sharp crystals abrade the cuticle and make the insect lose water and die of dehydration. It has the same action when it gets into an insect’ body.

TERRO Ant Killer Liquid Ant Baits

 Liquid Ant Baits

This bait is #1 Best Seller in Pest Control Traps category on Amazon.com and it has over 2300 customer reviews. It costs ~$13.44 (2-pack) and its Amazon rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. This is plastic semitransparent 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 colony.

Price: ~$13.44 (2-pack) Check the current price

Boric Acid

You can also use pure boric acid, such as PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid for ~$7.39. 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, Pack of 4

Ant Gel Insecticide

$25.94 Advion Gel is one of the best-selling insecticides on Amazon.com. 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 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.

Some experienced users recommend making foil or other moisture absorbent traps. Even if you run out of everything, you can simply re-apply thin layers of this gel. You can also pour it straight into the slots which are infested by the insects or leave some dough or bread balls covered with this gel.

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: ~$25.94 (4-pack) Check the current price

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

Kills Ants

These cut-rate ~$5.97 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.

Kentucky University 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: ~$5.97 (4-pack) Check the current price

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

TERRO T600 1-Pound Ant Killer Dust

Ant Killer Dust

Deltamethrin is one of the most popular insecticides acting on fire ants. ~$7.49 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 rating is high as over 85% of the users are satisfied with its performance. In Florida, where fire ants tend to crawl into people’s suitcases, then they travel with them and terrorize them back at home, requires a special mention. This dust will poison them. 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. Read over 500 customer reviews on Amazon.com to learn more about Terro indoor and outdoor use.

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

Price: ~$7.49 Check the current price

Poison Baits Action: 6 Slow and Fast Acting Ant Baits

The scientists unanimously name using poison bait a key method when eliminating fire ants as the ant-earners carry it to the nest contaminating the entire colony and, what is crucial, the queen. According to the information from the University of Arkansas, 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. We’ve compiled a range of products for you. Let’s start with slow acting ones and finish with IGR.

Three Slow Acting Outdoor Bait Products

Hydramethylnon bait (Amdro) is a toxin (slow­-acting stomach poison) that disrupts the ant’s ability to convert food to energy. Spinosad bait is also a slow-acting biorational (organic) toxin derived from soil­dwelling 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 ant-earners 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

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 of ~$8.67 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 as they cost ~$12.85 (24 oz). 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 be truly working: almost 90% of the users rated their experience highly and claimed that the ants have no chance left.

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: ~$19.25 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 - 2 # Jug

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 ~$38.69 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 give this bait a very high overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 naming it an absolute must-have.

Price: ~$38.69 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: ~$54.45 Check the current price

A Complex 2 Step-Method for Outdoor Control

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 for ~$10.46, is used specifically for disposing of the anthill. The dust 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 for ~$17.97 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: ~$28.43 Check the current price

Professional Insecticides

Finally, we’ll tell you about two concentrated insecticides used by a professional exterminator. 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

Universal concentrated insecticide

Talstar is a ~$39.65 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 anthills, 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 over 1700 customer reviews on Amazon.com 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: ~$39.65 Check the current price

Avid 0.15EC Spider Mite Control

For Agricultural Lands and Gardens – Avid 0.15EC Spider Mite Control

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. However, a pro insecticide is bound to have an upmarket price of ~$87.03. It seems to be worth this money as almost 90% of the users rated it highly. Make your own conclusions based on that.

Price: ~$87.03 Check the current price

Experts’ Tips on Using Broadcast Treatments

Arkansas University 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:

  • 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.

Fire Ant Killers Comparison Chart

Product Type (slow-acting/fast-acting) Active ingredient How to use it? Price

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 

Monterey Garden Insect Spray

Slow-acting Spinosad Dissolve in water and spray over soil and pour down a mound

~$34.04

Orange Guard 103 - 32 oz Spray

Home Pest Control

Fast-acting D-limonen Spray over soil and pour down a mound

~$13.63

Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth

Insect Killer

Fast-acting Diatomaceous Earth Pour it along insect trails.

~$21.91

TERRO Ant Killer Liquid Ant Baits

 Liquid Ant Baits

Slow-acting Boric acid Place several ant bait stations near the places where there are lots of insects, or their trails.

~$13.44

PestGuard Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid

Boric Acid

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

~$7.39

Advion Ant Gel Insecticide with Plunger, Pack of 4

Ant Gel Insecticide

Fast-acting Indoxacarb Placе this bait on the trail and near the entrance to the ants’ nest.

~$25.94

AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stations

Kills Ants

Slow-acting Hydramethylnon Place it into wardrobes, in areas behind furniture and appliances. For indoor use only.

~$5.97

TERRO T600 1-Pound Ant Killer Dust

Ant Killer Dust

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

~$7.49

AMDRO Kills Ants Bait Stakes

AMDRO Kills Ants

Slow-acting Hydramethylnon Stick the stakes into the soil near your house and near the spot of fire ant activity.

~$8.67

AMDRO Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait Granules

Ant Block Home

Slow-acting Hydramethylnon Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.

from ~$12.85

Fertilome - Come and Get It Fire Ant Killer

Fire Ant Killer

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

~$19.25

Advion Fire Ant Bait - 2 # Jug

Advion Fire Ant Bait

Fast-acting Indoxacarb Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.

~$38.69

Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Slow-acting Hydramethylnon Pour it along insect trails and near the entrance to the nest.

~$54.45

Ortho Fire Ant 2-Step Method for Season Long Control

Fire Ant Killer

Fast-acting Acephate Step 1: Pour Fire Ant Killer over the mound without disturbing the insects. Step 2: Pour Broadcast Granules over soil.

~$28.43

Talstar Pro 96 ounce (3/4 gallon) jug

Universal concentrated insecticide

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

~$39.65

Avid 0.15EC- Spider Mite Control

Spider Mite Control for Agricultural

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

~$87.03

Homemade Fire Ant Killer: Do Natural Fire Ant Killers Really Work?

There is plenty of traditional treatment of fire ants, and perhaps you’ve heard about some of them from your neighbors or read about them online. Certain people recommend pouring boiled water, vinegar, bleach or even urine over the anthill, others claim that the oats sipped onto the anthill helped them get rid of the fire ants. Do all these tricks work? Below we’ve tried to find an answer to this question together with the scientists.

Is it real to get rid of fire ants using boiling water?

Fire ants’ nests are small and you can simply dig them out. This isn’t an easy job though, and it doesn’t guarantee you anything. The scientists have found that the queen can flee deeper into the ground through the passages that were dug earlier. In this case the anthill will be back where it used to be in a couple of weeks. So use liquid nitrogen and boiling water. The former is not easy to buy, though, and the latter may not reach the queen. According to the National Park Service web site, 3 gallons of  boiling water exterminate 60% of the colonies. This is satisfactory, but not fantastic as 40% will still be left.

kill fire ants with boiling water

Boiling the anthill is the only more or less efficient traditional treatment methods (although, there are certain peculiarities to be taken into account). Other traditional tips, such as using vinegar and oats and others are USELESS. The most effect you’ll have is that the colony will flee elsewhere (perhaps it will relocate merely somewhere else at your place) or inside your house in search of a new place to nest in. Even DE is ineffective here! The Arkansas scientists not that there the orange peels cause “some repellent effect” which is still a poor consolation.

Boiled water can be indeed effective, but, as per the Florida University scientists, it is harmful for people and for the environment as the hot water can burn the plants surrounding the anthill and the ants can sting if in case they manage to crawl out. It is only recommended to use this method if you cannot for some reason use insecticides. However, it is still a temporary measure as it won’t help you kill the queen who will create a new anthill with the surviving workers.

INTERESTING FACTS: Don’t pour cold water over the anthill in an attempt to drown them. According to the University of Arkansas specialists, they don’t drown. Even when they find themselves in lots of water, they gather, form a sort of a raft and float to the next location.

The scientists claim that fire ants don’t take the cold well. The Florida specialists state that a fortnight at a temperature below 10° F will be enough “for the substantial number of ants to die” as they need moisture and warmth! For that very reason the invasions in the Northern states with harsh climate conditions are far less frequent than in the Southern ones.