Terro vs Spectracide [Ants LOVE These Two]

Terro and Spectracide ant killers are effective brands against many ants – But based on the more environmentally friendly active ingredients in Terro products, our pick OVERALL would be Terro, but Spectracide has some really awesome products that are highly effective.

These brands have many different products within their lines, and we’ll dive deep into the popular ones.

Both brands use synthetic pyrethroids as the active ingredient in the instant killer category.

Both brands also have instant ant killers and ant baits.

However, in the ant baits category, Terro contains Borax, a naturally occurring mineral toxic to ants, whereas Spectracide contains Indoxacarb.  

Below are some product features that make us suggest Terro as the best overall ant infestation product

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Comparison of Terro versus Spectracide 

Both products have different types of solutions for instant and long-term ant control, but the formulations and presentations vary.

Below are some similarities and differences between these two products;

The active ingredient in the instant killers

The ant killers are chemical pesticides. 

Both brands’ spray comes in ready-to-use canisters for instant killers.

Terro aerosol contains Deltamethrin, whereas Spectracide contains prallethrin and Lambda-Cyhalothrin synthetic pyrethroids.

Both products are for spot application and can be used indoors and outdoors.

Terro aerosol’s killing continues for six weeks, whereas that of Spectracide spray continues for 16 weeks. 

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Limitations of Terro and Spectracide sprays

These sprays cannot treat large-scale ant infestations like fire and pharaoh ants.

They only kill on contact, and ants must be exposed to the chemical manually.

The synthetic pyrethroid used to make the sprays are environmentally toxic, and the products are unsafe for pets and kids.

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The active ingredient in each bait

The active ingredient in Terro baits is Borax, whereas, in Spectracide, it’s Indoxacarb.

Both Terro and Spectracide baits are for long-term ant control.

They have a slow killing action, and unlike the contact killers, baits eliminate entire colonies, including the queen and the brood.

Borax interferes with the digestive system of the ants, causing death.

Indoxacarb interferes with the sodium balance of the ants, causing nervous breakdown and dehydration, killing the ants slowly.

Borax is more environmentally friendly than Indoxacarb, making Terro safer than Spectracide. 

However, Borax is ineffective against fire ants, whereas Indoxacarb is.

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Product presentation Comparison

Terro borax-based baits are liquid, and some products are available only for indoor or outdoor use.

Terro indoor ant baits are Terro liquid and Terro multi-surface baits.

Terro outdoor baits are available as bait stations or bait stakes.

Spectracide does not have indoor baits. 

Spectracide outdoor baits are available as bait stakes.

Unlike Terro, which has Borax, the ant shield killing stakes contain Indoxacarb as the active ingredient. 

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How Good Are They At Specific Ants (The Tough Ones)

Terro and Spectracide are broad-spectrum ant killers.

They eliminate many species of sugar ants, like black ants and pavement ants.

As mentioned earlier, Terro liquid baits are formulated with Borax to eliminate many types of ant activity effectively. However, these products are ineffective against fire and carpenter ants – which are commonly the two most problematic ants.


Due to fire ants’ reproduction proficiency, their colonies are invasive and can be large, with populations running into thousands as such regular sprays or aerosols may not stop the ant activity.

In the next section, we compare Terro and Spetracide fire ant products. 

Terro and Spectracide fire ant killers

Terro has two products for fire ants, Terro Fire Ant killer and Terro Fire Ant Bait.

Like Terro, Spectracide has two product alternatives, an instant killer and a bait.

The fire ant bait takes out a nest slowly. 

Terro fire ant killer vs. Spectracide Fire Ant Killer

Terro Fire Ant killer and Spectracide Fire Ant killer are formulated to kill fire ants on contact.

The active chemical in Terro fire ant killer is deltamethrin. In Spectracide, its Lambda-Cyhalothrin.

Lambda-Cyhalothrin and deltamethrin are synthetic pyrethroids. 

Both products are available in granular or powder form. The products are strictly for outdoor application. 

Both products are repellents, unlike the baits that attract ants.

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Terro powder comes in a shaker container.

Thus, it’s easy to apply when dealing with an active fire ant problem. 

You can choose the scatter or widespread mode. No watering is required after application. 

Terro granules are waterproof and have a long fire ant killer activity period, lasting approximately eight months.

Ants that contact the substance during the activity period get killed. 

Terro fire ant powder is odorless, so you don’t have to deal with unpleasant smells during outdoor activities.

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One limitation of this product is that it is narrow and specific, and its application is limited to the mound itself.

Spectracide starts killing ants immediately after application, eliminating the queen and the colony in as little as 24 hours.

The killing action continues for three months.

The product is in granular form.

It’s also easy to use and sprinkle directly on the mound. Like Terro, no watering is needed. 

After application, killing activity continues for three months

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Due to its chemical content, Spectracide fire ant killer cannot be used as a safety shield around the house’s perimeter.

It has strict application guidelines due to toxicity to aquatic life. It can only be applied 24 hours before the rain. 

Terro vs. Spectracide fire ant bait

Terro and Spectracide fire ant bait have a slow killing action, unlike the fire ant killers that kill on contact.

This mode of killing ensures the products kill entire colonies.

The active chemical in Terro fire ant bait is Spinosad, a natural substance of certain bacteria.

Spinosad is a pest control substance lethal to certain species of ants, and Spectracide uses Indoxacarb as the active ingredient. 

Terro fire ant bait is odorless.  

In terms of time to action, Indoxacarb commences killing the ants in 3-10 days, whereas Spinosad can take a few weeks.

Spectracide fire ant bait kills several other types except for carpenter and pharaoh ants.

fire ant

Easy to apply and mode of activity of the fire ant baits

Terro granules are ready to use.

It’s easy to apply because the resealable package has an in-build shaker for easy overhead sprinkling.

Spectracide comes in a convenient shaker bottle to easily broadcast the granules. 

Terro granules do not kill on contact. Killing action starts in 24 to 36 hours when directly applied to mounds.

The Complete elimination of colonies occurs in 3 to 14 days. These action periods may be extended when broadcast on lawns and open fields.

For Spectracide, the action starts in 24 hours, but decreased ant activity is noticed after 48 hours.

Terro product activity lasts for up to 2 months.

Spectracide cannot be applied more than six times yearly in one location, and repeat the application every three months for areas with constant fire ant activity.

The toxicity of Terro fire ant bait to other creatures and aquatic life is minimal and much lower than Spectracide’s due to the chemical differences.

Spinosad is much safer than indoxacarb.

Unlike Terro fire ant killing powder, once Terro fire ant bait is applied on fire ant mounds, it’s recommended to sprinkle water.

Sprinkle about a gallon of water evenly on the mound. 

Terro 2-pound bag can treat up to 30,000 square feet.

On the other hand, Spectracide’s half-a-pound package treats approximately 1,000 square feet. 

With Spectracide fire ant bait, no watering is required.

However, it cannot be applied if rain is expected within 4-6 hours after application.

Terro cannot ship to some states. 

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Which is better, Terro or Spectracide?

Terro and Spectracide ant killers are two products available in 2023 you can consider for ant control. However, they differ in several ways.

The two brands have an instant kill product and a bait option to eliminate entire colonies.

Both brands use synthetic pyrethroids in their instant killers.

Terro contains Borax as the active chemical in the common ants’ baits, and Spectracide does not have indoor baits. 

Terro baits are a better option for the bait category because they are effective and contain less harmful ingredients.

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For the fire ant baits, Terro uses Spinosad, an effective killer bit slower in action than Indoxacarb used in Spectracide.

Terro bait has lesser application restrictions than Spectracide because Spinosad is more environmentally friendly.

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In the instant ant killers category, both brands use pyrethroids.

Picking one over the other can be based on price.

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Other Terro Articles

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