Getting Rid of Ants Outside: The Best Ant Killers

We cover a range of ant control methods including natural methods and commercial products.

If you’re faced with an ant infestation in your garden, on your deck, or on your verandah, you need to know how to get rid of these pesky little insects before they find their way inside your home.

There are plenty of natural solutions that you can use to get rid of ants outside and also quite a number of good commercial products that will also help.

Types of ants in Australia

Carpenter ants | Pest control
Carpenter ants are one of the most common types of ant found in Australia.

As we know, Australia is a haven for numerous insects and these include a large variety of ants.

The most common types of ants found in Australia include:

  • Sugar ants
  • Bull ants
  • Carpenter ants
  • Red ants
  • Black ants
  • Fire ants
  • Pharaoh ants
  • Argentine ants

Natural ant repellents

If possible, we recommend repelling ants from the areas you don’t want them, rather than killing them.

You can use a number of everyday products to keep ants away from certain areas of your property.


If you can get hold of some chalk, this is a useful way for keeping ants away. All you have to do is draw a line with the chalk around areas you want to keep ant free. 

The ants will not cross this line because the chalk eliminates the pheromone trail that ants use to follow each other and communicate.

This will effectively stop the ants from coming into your home or onto your outdoor entertainment area.

RELATED: How to Kill Fungus Gnats

White vinegar mixed with water

Ants hate the smell of white vinegar and it also eliminates their pheromone trail. If you spray it onto the ants, they will become directionless and will move away from the smell.

Make sure that you mix the vinegar with water and spray it around your outdoor areas. Be careful not to spray the mixture on any plants or over the lawn because vinegar will also kill the grass.

Essential oils mixed with water

As we now know, ants really don’t like strong smells and you can use this to your advantage.

If you happen to have some peppermint or cinnamon oil on hand, you can mix one of these oils with water and spray the mixture around your outdoor areas.

Like many other natural repellents, this spray will disrupt the pheromone trail that the ants create.

Plus, the ants really don’t like the strong scents and will move away from the areas that you’ve sprayed.

How to get rid of ants naturally

If repelling ants is not an option, there are a number of effective methods for killing ants.

Before we look at common chemical solutions, let’s first discuss some natural methods that you can use to get rid of ants outside.

Baking soda and sugar

As you would be well aware, sugar will attract ants as it’s one of their major food sources. However, if you make a mixture of baking soda and sugar, you’ll also be able to kill the ants.

Baking soda disrupts the body functions of the ants which will eventually kill them.

Just mix equal parts of baking soda with powdered sugar and sprinkle it around outside in areas where the ants usually congregate.

Borax mixed with sugar and water

Borax is another common household product that you can use to get rid of ants.

This product dries out the exoskeleton of the ants which eventually leads to their death.

To use this, make a solution by mixing one part borax with one part powdered sugar and adding enough water to mix into a paste. Spread this around outdoor areas where you commonly see ants.

How to kill an ant nest

One of the easiest and quickest ways to kill an ant nest is to pour boiling water into it. You could make this even more effective if you add some borax to the water.

Make sure you wear protective clothing when you do this because the ants will come out of the nest in droves.

In addition, there are many effective commercial products that you buy either in granule or powder form.

These include:

Just sprinkle these over and around the nest area including any cracks in the ground nearby.

If you can’t easily locate the nest, you can use commercial ant baits instead such as Ant-Rid (view at Amazon), Synergy Pro Ant Bait, or Amdro Ant Bait.

How these work, is that the ants will come and feed from the baits and then take this back to the nest. This is a very effective way to destroy the entire nest as it will also kill the queen.

How to get rid of bull ants 

If you’ve ever been bitten by a bull ant, you’ll understand why you don’t want these tough critters anywhere near your garden, your kids, or your pets.

Bull ants build their nests deep underground and many common methods used to kill ant nests aren’t effective enough to get rid of the colony completely.

That’s why, if you have a bull ant nest in your yard, it’s better to engage a professional pest control company that knows exactly how to eliminate these pests from your garden.

How to kill ants in your lawn or garden

ant | Pest control
Common ant control methods can damage your plants and grass.

Many of the natural methods that we’ve discussed to get rid of ants cannot be used on your lawn or around your garden beds because these will also kill your grass or precious plants.

While common household products such as white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and boiling water can be safely used around paved and concreted areas, these should not be used on your lawn or heavily planted garden beds. They will not only kill the ants but will also damage your plants and grass.

The best way to kill ants in your lawn is to use a commercial product such as Firbronil Granular Ant Killer (view at Amazon, view at eBay).

This can be sprinkled all over your lawn and is safe to use on Buffalo, Kikuyu, Zoysia, and Couch grass.

Types of ant poison 

There are a variety of different ant poison products available on the market.

These include products containing Boron compounds such as Ant-Rid and Kiwicare.

Other products contain Fipronil which is a neurotoxin. This is commonly found in many different ant bait products. 

Ant sprays often contain pyrethroids while other common ant poisons may contain compounds such as indoxacarb, abamectin, pyriproxyfen, and thiamethoxam.


What causes a lot of ants outside?

The most common cause of having lots of ants outside is having a food source for them. Especially, sugary and fatty foods. Ants tend to congregate around compost bins, rubbish bins, wood piles, and other areas where they will find plenty of food.

What is the most common ant in Australia?

The most common ants found in Australia are sugar ants or Carpenter ants.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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