Following the Trail: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
If you need to know how to get rid of ants in the kitchen, you’re not alone. Here is a step-by-step guide to ant control and extermination.
Woke up to make your favorite cup of coffee but saw ants crawling along your kitchen counter once again?
You must be wondering where they’re coming from and what’s attracting them. You are probably also wondering, how to get rid of them permanently.
While ants are the most common pests, there are ways to make them uncommon to your kitchen. To find out how to get rid of ants in your kitchen you need to know their species, find their source and decide the best method to eliminate them.
Want to know more about how to get rid of ants in the kitchen? Read on, here is a step-by-step guide to ant control and extermination.
Learning the Basics
An ant infestation is usually caused by improper food storage. Signs of an ant infestation are visible evidence of ants inside your house such as crawling on the kitchen floor, cabinets and countertops in search of food or water.
This normally means that they have found a food source in your kitchen.
Greasy or oily foods
This is just a short list you may find other sources as well.
Types of Ants Found in the Kitchen
Most people believe that ants found in their kitchen are actually sugar ants. This is normally the popular belief as the ants are thought to mostly be following sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods.
However, these ants are not sugar ants and likely belong to one of four species. These species are little black ants, the Pharoah ants, the odorous house ant or the Argentine ant.
All four species are tiny averaging around one-eighth of an inch in length. They are also extremely opportunistic and will establish colonies and even subcolonies.
Finding the Source
When it comes to little black ants, their colonies can house several thousands of individuals and are mainly located in dark, protected areas. Indoors, they build their nests in voids and cavities such as wall voids.
They like to hide in wooden items and the junction between the carpet and walls. Carpenter ants can create a lot of structural damage as they nest and feed on moist wood.
Ants also need water. Seeing that the kitchen is where water regularly enters and leaves, it may become an ant reservoir. A minor leak around a faucet or an automatic dishwasher that doesn’t drain completely may become a perfect location for ants.
What you can do is take the time to follow their trail in both directions. You’ll be able to locate their food source and where they’re storing it.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
The first thing that you need to do to get rid of ants in your kitchen is to locate what attracted them in the first place. After you have done that, try these elimination methods:
The first step in eliminating ants is a thorough cleaning of your home. Vacuum floors and wipe countertops daily as even a few crumbs can serve as a food source for a colony. Use plastic bags or bins to seal up open bags of food.
In addition, the removal of any leftover food daily and a thoroughly cleansed sink are crucial factors. If possible, run your garbage disposal long enough to grind up all food waste and flush it.
Yes, keeping your home spotless and strictly watertight can be challenging but you can practice basic sanitation to achieve these. This will also help to remove little morsels barely noticeable to the human eye.
You can also use natural ant-deterrents such as lemon juice and vinegar on your countertops. Given that these non- toxic options are completely safe to be used around food, many people prefer them.
Try using an eco-friendly and non- toxic bug repellent as well to remove ants from your kitchen.
Follow that Trail and Remove Water Sources
If you notice an ant trail do not immediately wipe it out, follow it to the colony. Usually, the colony will be located inside a wall. Use liquid bait by placing it next to the colony to exterminate the ants
Since water is a common reason for ant infestation, check for leaking faucets in the kitchen. Also, get rid of any standing water.
Sealing the Kitchen’s Exterior
Repair or seal any openings along the kitchen exterior that may act as an entry point. Wall crevices, cracks, power outlets, and loose window frames should all be included.
Sugar and Borax Bait
Baits are one of the most effective elimination methods. In fact, most ants will have enough time to take the bait back to their colonies thus sharing it with other ants. Sugar and borax is one such bait.
Mix a half cup of sugar with 1.5 tablespoons of borax and warm water. Soak some cotton balls in the solution and then place them near the trail.
Attracted to the scent, the ants will take back the borax to the colony. The borax will gradually kill the ants by destroying their digestive system.
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
The effect might not be immediate but it is definitely one of the most cost-effective elimination methods. It gets rid of ants by scraping against and damaging their exoskeleton causing a loss of bodily fluid.
Sprinkle a fine layer of the powder near the ants’ trail. The powder can also be mixed with a bit of sugar to attract the ants. This remedy loses its effectiveness when wet so don’t apply it in damp areas.
Vinegar Spray Near Entry Points
Spraying a vinegar solution is one way to deter more ants from coming. Since ants heavily rely on scents for direction, vinegar’s strong scent may block their communication.
Make this solution by mixing an equal amount of water and apple cider vinegar. Cinnamon can be used as a substitute. It works just the same by confusing the ants’ sense of smell.
Ants abhor pepper such as cayenne and black pepper. Simply sprinkle pepper at the areas where ants enter your kitchen.
A spray solution of pepper mixed with water will also help. Make it and spray it near the entry points. It won’t kill the ants but it will deter them from returning.
Spread salt near nooks and corners where ants enter the kitchen. Ordinary table salt can be used.
To make a salt spray, just boil water and add a large amount of salt. Stir it until it dissolves. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray entry points.
Ants tend to avoid places with traces of peppermint. They cannot tolerate the strong fragrance.
Prepare a mixture by adding 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to a cup of water. Sprinkle this wherever ants are present and repeat twice daily in order to get rid of ants.
Squeeze a lemon at entry points. You can also clean your floors with water mixed with a bit of lemon juice.
Clean countertops with lemon juice and also leave a few lemon peels there.
Let’s Set a Trap
While ant baits don’t work on all ants, they do work on the most common species of ants. Knowing the ants and their feeding preferences makes for a great control strategy.
For example, carpenter ants prefer protein-based baits to sugary ones. Location is also key. So, place the baits as close to the nest as possible.
Calling the professionals
To help ensure that the ants are fully removed, it is best to contact a pest control specialist or professional. In cases where they are more than just a few ants noticeable, turn to a professional who uses food-safe, non-repellant products that ants will take to their nest.
Controlling a large quantity of large black ants requires thorough inspection by pest control professionals. After inspection, they will provide recommendations and plans for eliminating the infestation.
One possible recommendation you may get from the specialist is to look for ways to exclude ants such as sealing cracks. If you’ve found carpenter ants, it’s best to call an exterminator. They can use stronger chemicals to remove the infestation.
Let’s Wrap Up
Found ants scurrying in your kitchen again? Now you know how easy they are to eliminate.
There is no need to spend a lot of time wondering how to get rid of ants in your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or stressful.
Depending on the size of the nest, simple control and elimination methods such as sprays or solutions are quick remedies. A simple cleanse or limiting access to water sources could even do the trick. There are many options available, it is up to you to try as many as possible until you find the right one.
At times the professionals are the best remedy but that doesn’t mean that they are the only ones that know how to get rid of ants in the kitchen.
If you would like more information on our residential pest control services, you can read more here. Interested in learning more about other frequent kitchen pests? Visit our recent blog post on fruit flies or our pest page on flies & gnats.