Is Ant Poison Harmful To Humans?

If you have problems with ants in the house or garden, you want to get rid of them as effectively as possible. The ant poison is an effective way to get rid of the little pests. For this purpose, you set up baits or use an ant spray to kill the animals.

However, you must be careful when using it. Because what kills the ants could also be harmful to your body. Learn what effect the poison has on the human organism and what precautions you should take.

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What ant poison to use

To fight the ants, you can use different agents. These range from natural means, which are relatively harmless, but also have little effect, to intensive chemicals. One natural agent, for example, is chalk. The chalk is supposed to be an unpleasant surface for the ants, which they no longer cross. However, in practice, its application proves to be relatively difficult. In the garden, anyway, it is hardly possible to mark the areas with the chalk, because the chalk is ineffective in the grass. Also, the rain simply washes away the chalk, so it does not remain in the ground.

In order to effectively combat the ants, harsher agents are usually used. While these are approved for use by the amateur gardener, they should be used with caution. The following agents are most commonly used.


Spinosad is actually used for the regulation of Colorado potato beetle in organic farming. In addition to controlling the Colorado potato beetle, this agent is also suitable for use against other insect pests, such as the ant.

After ingestion of the active ingredient, it takes a few hours for the effects to become apparent. The spinosad leads to paralysis of the organism and thus to death. The delayed effect is advantageous because the bait is carried to the ant nest, where it fights the entire colony.

When using it, make sure that the bait is not left lying around in the open. It is also dangerous for bees and very toxic for aquatic organisms. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid spinosad getting into the soil or groundwater.

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As an insecticide, which has a very wide range of application, is Fipronil. It is used not only against ants, but also against fleas, lice or cockroaches. Thus, this agent can be found almost everywhere to fight pests.

Fipronil was in the headlines because numerous eggs were contaminated by this agent. Millions of eggs had to be destroyed as a result.

Interestingly, fipronil is also used as a veterinary drug because of its effect. For example, in the case of infestation by mites or ticks. It is therefore also used on pets.

In agriculture, it is sometimes used as a plant protection product. However, its use in livestock is prohibited, which is why it should not be found in hens’ eggs. Fipronil is classified as dangerous for bees.

The effect is based on a toxic reaction in the brain. This occurs not only through direct oral ingestion, but already upon contact with this agent.


Permethrin also belongs to the group of insecticides. It is mostly used to control mites or lice. Its high effectiveness causes a significant improvement after just one application.

The effect of permethrin is based on uninhibited excitation of the nervous system. On contact, the substance penetrates even through the thick chitinous carapace of insects. In the body, it opens the sodium channels, so that a strong reaction occurs. Death occurs due to the paralysis symptoms that occur.

The advantage of the active ingredient is that it acts directly on contact. It does not have to be eaten, so a larger proportion of ants are affected by the effect.

Risks for humans

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It is difficult to give a general answer as to whether ant venom also poses a risk to humans. It depends on the particular active ingredient present in the ant venom.


In the case of spinosad, for example, the following report is interesting. In it, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety gives a detailed breakdown of the risk posed to humans by spinosad. The Federal Office comes to the conclusion:

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When used properly and in accordance with its intended use, taking into account the information on classification and labeling and on user protection, harmful effects on the health of users, workers and third parties are not to be expected.

For application, the following instructions, among others, are given to avoid hazards.

  • Keep out of the reach of children
  • Avoid contact with skin
  • Wear suitable protective clothing during work
  • Wear suitable protective gloves

Thus, spinosad is not hazardous to humans when used as directed. However, in case of ingestion, a doctor should be consulted immediately to exclude any health hazard.


There are strict limits for the active ingredient fipronil, which must not be exceeded in food. A dose of less than 0.009mg per kg body weight is considered safe. This may not sound like much, but in practice it can hardly be exceeded unknowingly. In the case of the contaminated eggs, for example, 7 eggs with the maximum levels would have had to be eaten to exceed this harmless dose.

Even if the limit value is exceeded, there is not necessarily a health hazard to be feared. No skin or eye irritations occur and an allergic reaction is also not to be expected. There is also no known risk of cancer or genetic alteration.

The toxic effect is much lower in mammals anyway. As a rule, the substance is broken down again by the body. Here, too, no harm to humans is to be expected if the substance is handled properly.


The active ingredient permethrin already exerts its effect on contact. In this case, humans experience skin irritation, itching and sometimes a burning sensation. The application may also cause the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • difficulty breathing

If you notice these symptoms, you should consult a doctor. He can take the right measures to treat the side effects.

For the treatment of parasites, permethrin should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Otherwise, however, the ointments and the active ingredient are considered to be of little danger.

Instructions for use

The common ant poison is largely harmless to humans. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you do not come into contact with the active substance more than necessary.

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When applying the ant bait, it is advisable to wear gloves, long clothing as well as protective goggles. This will help you avoid direct contact and prevent the active ingredient from irritating your eyes, for example.

It is advisable to use bait boxes in which the poison is out of reach of children or pets. In this way, there is no danger of the agent being ingested in the first place. Open application, on the other hand, is not recommended, as this also endangers other farm animals.

Storage is also important. The agents must be stored safely away from children and pets. In small doses, the poison is harmless to humans, but if larger quantities are ingested, symptoms of poisoning are to be expected. This danger is particularly present in pets.

Using ant poison safely

When properly applied, ant poison appears to be completely safe for humans. Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended measures and apply the agents in appropriate doses in ant traps. Then both your pets and bees will not be exposed to any danger.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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