7 Best Ant Killers for Lawns and Yards – DIY Yard Ant Removal
Many - or most - ants live outdoors. And when they infest your lawn, it can make it unusable for you, your children and pets. Here are the best ant killers for lawns that will solve the problem, and take back your outdoor living space!
In this article on the best ant killer for lawns, we will show you what lawn treatments are and what you need to consider when you go looking for one.
When it comes to ants, many of us have experience of them being a nuisance in the home or yard. But sometimes they are more than just a nuisance.
Sometimes they are also destructive, and ants found in your lawn are up to more than just sunbathing.
They build anthills and extensive underground colonies that can damage root balls of plants and damage the turf itself. Annoying when you’ve spent time and money, making it look good.
The other issue with ant hills is the tripping hazard they can present when they start to harden above ground.
They can cause significant cosmetic damage to lawns when left unchecked. Plus, trying to mow a lawn that has ant hills all over is a real pain in the proverbial. You are left with bald patches, craters, and it ain’t pretty.
To banish ants from lawns, you need to understand their behaviors and routines. That way, you can target the colony and give it your best effort to destroy them for good.
Ortho Home Defense
Amdro Ant Blocker
Terro Liquid Ant Baits
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What You'll Learn
- 1 Isn’t Raking Over Ant Hills Sufficient?
- 2 Things to Consider When Buying a Lawn Ant Killer
- 3 7 Best Ant Killers for Lawns
- 4 Wrap Up
Isn’t Raking Over Ant Hills Sufficient?
Ants prefer dry, well-drained soil in an undisturbed low traffic area, making your lawn the perfect place for them.
For a minor infestation, giving your lawn a good raking each week will help to remove dead grass, aerate the soil, plus it will disperse the ant mound as they build it. Making them start over each time.
However, if you have a severe infestation with multiple mounds, raking is unlikely to have any effect. Established colonies will spread across a large area underground and have upwards of 5,000 ants living in it.
So, if a mound is raked out or mowed over, they can rebuild it seemingly overnight. In these instances, you will need to treat the ants directly with lawn specific ant treatment.
We have an accompanying guide on how to get rid of ants in your lawn that we recommend you check out alongside this product guide.
Things to Consider When Buying a Lawn Ant Killer
Everyman’s home is his castle, and every castle is different. So, before you buy a lawn ant treatment, here are a few things that you need to consider.
Home infestations often start on the lawn, so treating the lawn correctly will prevent the problem of them setting up shop. Or worse, moving their shop into your home.
The size of your lawn, how you use it, and the type of ‘lawn lodgers’ you have will be where you start. From there, you will need to decide if you want a fast-acting product, an eco-friendly product, or a pet and kid-friendly product.
As you read through these deliberation areas, make a note of what applies to your needs and then check them against the recommended products that follow. This way, you can be sure to get it right the first time.
The Type of Ants
Here are the ants that are usually responsible for lawn destruction:
Odorous ants, so-called because they stink when you squash them, are hardy and resilient. This often means they can stand up to some of the softer, cheaper ant treatments.
They are also known for being able to withstand adverse weather and a lack of food. So, the chances of you getting rid of them with a half-hearted approach are slim.
The odorous ant has a unique 12 segment antennae that identify them easily. They are usually brown or black in color and 2.5 to 3.5mm in size.
These ants are happy living both outside and indoors, so you need to deal with the outside infestation swiftly and effectively to prevent an inside colony being established.
Ghost ants are a tropical species, so they will often be the prevalent type in sunnier humid climates.
They will most often happily nest in the lawn, but when the weather turns and becomes cold and miserable, they will find their way into the home.
These ants are different from most species in that they aren’t dark all over. They are translucent on the abdomen and legs with a dark head. This, coupled with them only measuring 1.5mm in length, makes them increasingly difficult to spot.
But don’t let their itty-bitty size fool you. They are super active and regularly branch off from established colonies to start new ones.
By the time you spot and identify these tiny blighters, chances are their colony will be spread all over your lawn with satellite nests and thousands of workers.
Carpenter ants, easy to spot difficult to kill.
They are a big problem, literally. Coming in at 6 to 12mm for the workers and up to 18 to 20mm for the winged males in the mating season. They are one of the largest ants likely to invade your yard.
Their troublesome tricks don’t stop there. They are also a walking repair bill, with their strong mandible jaws they burrow into wood and can cause a lot of damage to your home in a small amount of time.
So, having them on your lawn is one thing, them taking up shop in your home and eating away at the structural integrity is another.
Carpenter ants can range from black to orangey red in color, have large heads, and pronounced pincer jaws. Their thorax, the segment below the head, is rounded, while their midsection is pinched with a waist.
Fire ants are not only prevalent pesky critters, but they are also a health and safety risk with their penchant for biting and stinging. When threatened, they will swarm intruders and attach themselves by biting, which holds them steady while they sting.
The sting injects a toxin alkaloid venom called solenopsin, which makes humans feel like their skin is on fire and can last several hours with relentless itching around the blisters for up to a week.
The most common pesticide employed for fire ants is pyrethrin. Best used during the fall when their activity has started to slow down.
A single, undisturbed fire ant colony can contain up to half a million ants. Meaning tens if not hundreds of mounds in a single acre of land.
Fire ant mounds are usually the first sign for us to notice, but are just the tip of the iceberg. By this point, the underground colony will already be substantial. So time will be of the essence in controlling the spread.
Size of Lawn and Infestation
When looking for a lawn specific product like a granular or spray treatment, you will need to consider the size of your lawn. That way, you will be able to make sure you purchase enough to cover the whole infested area.
This might sound obvious, but there is nothing more frustrating leading up to ant armageddon to find out you haven’t got enough weaponry.
Once you have your lawn’s approximate size, you can look at each product for the approximate area coverage. Read the details carefully, because it may require you to apply it in a more concentrated form for substantial infestations. Or less if the ants are few and far between.
Due to the nature of a lawn being outside and uncovered, you face the risk of treatment being washed away by bad weather.
So, looking for weather resilient products is essential. A formulation that cannot be blown or washed away means minimal repeat applications and less wasted dollar.
It also makes them more effective, faster in dealing with the problem at hand, and reduces their risk of going on vacation to your home.
Some products use harsh chemicals to make them effective and weatherproof, which is great for a quick result. But not so good if it’s at the expense of your grass.
So, be sure to read the details on the label and do your research, picking up an outdoor ant killer specifically for lawns.
Must it Be Pet and Child-Friendly?
This is a big factor for many. The last thing you want is an ant killer product that is toxic to your fur babies or a health hazard to the kids.
A harsh chemical-based product may also mean that it can only be applied when pets and kids are away from the yard. Which, let’s face it, isn’t ideal or realistic.
Often, parents of kids and pets will look for organic, all-natural products and home remedies. A choice that can be very effective in the home, but not so much in the outdoors.
With the bulk of the colony being underground, treatment needs to be weatherproof for its slow release action to work effectively. As it may take several days and weeks for the whole colony to be destroyed.
So, you must weigh up the benefit of one application of a harsher product, compared to a natural product being applied multiple times.
7 Best Ant Killers for Lawns
Here are the top-ranking best ant killers for lawns.
Ortho Home Defense
Ortho Home Defense lawn granules are designed to kill ants on your lawn and prevent them from making their way indoors.
It does so by creating a bug barrier within minutes to deter the ants in your lawn and around your home’s foundation.
The granular formula is easy to use and spread by hand or with a mechanical spreader. Once applied, you water it into the treated space, and when dry, people and pets can re-enter.
It is then effective at killing ants and other insects for up to three months after application, and it is waterproof too.
The 20 lb. bag can treat up to 20,000 square feet – that’s a 200×100 foot yard. So, plenty of coverage in one bag giving great value for money.
Here’s a word of warning, though, from those that have found this product to be very effective. When it says bug barrier, it really means it. When you apply it to the perimeter of your home, all bugs indoors will stay put.
Amdro Ant Blocker
So, invest in a spray treatment to kill the bugs indoors and let this take care of the outdoors.
The bait method of killing ants is considered to be one of the most effective, as it works to kill ants and the entire colony by using a slow-release poison or toxin.
The workers take the bait to the colony as food to share, killing the queen and the larvae who will eat it and die.
Amdro ant block is a bait designed to taste like food that is applied around the perimeter of your home. Any ants looking to cross the threshold to find food will come across the bait.
They will then travel back to the colony, leaving a pheromone trail for other workers to find the food bait as well.
This means plenty of bait makes its way into the feeding cycle before the delayed reaction takes full effect and kills the ants, the queen, and the colony.
The active ingredient in Amdro is hydramethylnon, which is a metabolic inhibitor. These pesticides attack the insect’s metabolic system, resulting in lethargy and the inability to perform basic functions, such as feeding. This causes starvation and dehydration on a mass scale in the colony.
Applied by shaking the granules out in a one-foot-wide band around the perimeter of your home, the 12oz bottle will pour for up to 540 feet. It will then take between 7 to 14 days to kill the colony.
Terro outdoor Liquid Bait
The Terro outdoor liquid ant bait stations are stakes designed for outdoor use, and are pre-filled, ready to use and weatherproof.
Housed in a reinforced garden stake, you simply push into the ground where they are needed, pull off the tab, and it will attract the ants and kill them slowly.
The clear window on the front allows you to monitor activity and bait levels. The well-designed station has a tiered interior that allows ants to reach the bait even as the level decreases.
This means bait consumption is consistent, maximizing take up, and killing more ants per bait station.
These Terro bait stations’ premise is to feed foraging ants and encourage them to share the food that contains borax. Which slowly kills them , the colony they feed it to, and also killing the queen.
Borax slowly wreaks havoc with their digestive system leading to starvation and death for all that consume it.
Borax has very low toxicity towards humans and pets, so it makes the bait a safe option for use around the yard and home if you have kids and pets running around.
Couple that with the tamper-proof hard plastic housing, and these are a good option as a pet and kid-friendly ant killer.
Amdro Fire Ant Bait
This Amdro fire ant granular bait is designed and formulated to be super effective against the hardy fire ant species.
It has a two-step application process and will kill all visible ants and their colonies within two weeks.
The granules are effective as an all-over lawn treatment. And it can be applied with a broadcast spreader, or by shaking it straight from the bag.
A light infestation requires around a lb. of granules per 2000 square feet. A heavy infestation requires double the dose at a lb. per 1000 square feet.
Once the affected area has had the full spread treatment, the granules can also be applied as a spot treatment for extra oomph. Once fire ant mounds are located, just two to five tablespoons is enough to spread around the mound, ensuring maximum uptake by the ants.
Amdro fire ant granules are not weatherproof, so it must not be applied on soaking wet ground or when rain is expected.
This formulation requires the ants to gather it as food in granular form and ingest it. When wet, it will dissolve and spoil.
Although specifically designed with fire ants in mind, Amdro states it is also effective against bigheaded and harvester ants.
Amdro Quick Insect Killer
This Amdro product is an easy to apply formula that kills ants on contact and keeps on killing for up to three months afterward.
It is effective for lawn and garden pests such as ants, mosquitoes, fleas, aphids, and Japanese beetles, to name but a few.
Its simple design is easy to use and allows you to attach to a regular garden hose and spray it directly over your lawn and other infested areas for total coverage. No mixing or measuring is needed.
The water-soluble formula also means that it is weatherproof. So, whether the ground is wet or rain is expected, you can still apply it and be sure it will be sufficient.
It’s not just for the lawn, either. You can use it around the yard on flower beds and potted plants if that’s where the pests are, as well as a perimeter spray to keep ants and other insects out of the house.
The fast kill on contact action provides immediate control and the 32oz. bottle treats up to 4,267 square feet. That’s a 40×100 foot garden treated with one bottle.
And it comes with the Amdro guarantee that if it doesn’t work, they’ll give you your money back.
Amdro Ant & Spider Killer
Amdro kills ants and spiders’ granules are designed to kill on contact and are fast-acting. Packaged in an easy to use sprinkler style bag, they are easy to spread around your infested area.
The granules are then simply watered onto the area and left to dry. This allows them to dissolve and stay in situ, creating a toxic coating on lawns and patios that will kill many types of ants as they encounter it.
The main active ingredient is bifenthrin, which is a member of the pyrethroid insecticide family. It is a widely used insecticide that is effective against ant infestations, including the nasty red fire ant.
It’s a nervous system targeting chemical causing paralysis and death in multiple insect species. Staying active for up to two months. Post-application, it will keep garden areas ant-free and ready for you to use again.
It can be used on lawns, flower gardens, and around the home’s perimeter as a preventative measure keeping ants out of the house. A 3 lb. bag will treat up to 2,500 square feet. This is the equivalent of a 25×100 foot garden, which is more than enough for the average yard.
As with all Amdro products, it is guaranteed to work, or you get your money back!
Safer Diatomaceous Earth Insect Killer
This Safer diatomaceous earth product is composed of 100% ground diatomaceous earth. It comes in a 4lb. airtight bag with an included powder duster for easy application.
Diatomaceous earth also has no expiration date like some other products as it is fossilized remains that will not go off.
Diatomaceous earth is made of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a form of waterborne plankton in freshwater. These tiny, fossilized remains are made of silica, and they are ground up into a fine white powder that has microscopic, razor-sharp edges.
When ants encounter them, it punctures their hard exoskeleton. This dries out the protective lipids, removing the barrier that prevents dehydration, which causes the ants to dry out and die.
Diatomaceous earth is also pet and child safe as it is non-toxic to mammals. When applied, however, the dry powder can become airborne which can cause minor irritation to the throat and lungs. This is momentary and will do no lasting damage.
Due to diatomaceous earth being organic and having no chemical compounds within, insects cannot develop a resistance to it. It is a mechanical action that kills the ants, not a poisoning process.
Once they have scraped and cut themselves, they will start to dehydrate, and death will occur within 24 to 48 hours.
Although pesky, Ants do serve a purpose in nature and can therefore be both an ally and a foe. They can eat unwanted bugs and help to aerate the soil as they tunnel much the same as the humble earthworm.
On the other hand, some of their behaviors can encourage other pests such as aphids that ants can farm and milk for their honeydew. These aphids can cause a lot of damage to fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers.
For this reason, it is important to consider the severity of the ant problem before you reach for the harsh chemicals. If it is a very minor presence, then an all-natural approach with diatomaceous earth or something similar is probably the best option for you, your pets, and the environment.
For a heavy ant infestation, a weatherproof all-in-one product will help to reduce the number of ants in your yard and keep them from returning for some time. A more natural approach can then be used as a preventative measure.
It’s essential to use a specified lawn product because anything else could ruin your lawn. This includes homemade tricks such as boiling water, vinegar, and soap and water sprays. They will burn your lawn and make it look just as unsightly. So, stick to choosing one of the best ant killers for lawns in our guide, and it’ll be safe.
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