Ants can easily make their way into the kitchen through the smallest of openings if they get attracted to foods or an environment that is appealing to their way of living. This can lead to several health and hygiene risks, particularly if the ants manage to come into contact with the food.
Once the ants find their way into the kitchen, they can keep multiplying if they build their nest nearby. You should, therefore, try to get rid of the ants from your kitchen as soon as you notice their presence.
To get rid of ants in your kitchen, it’s best to approach this in two parts: thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your kitchen areas. Then using insecticides such as an ant bait to create a space that ants either avoid or are killed if they still enter.
Through this guide, we will take you through some necessary steps and methods that can help you get rid of ants in the kitchen. We will also include a few precautionary measures that you can take to prevent ants from gathering near food in the future.
Why Are Ants Invading Your Kitchen?
Firstly, the important question is why these ants have decided to make your kitchen their home. There are a few reasons why ants might be invading your kitchen. One of the most common reasons is that the ants are drawn to food that is left out or unsealed. Other reasons could include the following:
- There is a crack or opening in the kitchen’s perimeter that the ants are using to get inside.
- The ants are nesting near the kitchen and are attracted to the moisture that is present there.
- The ants have been trailing into the kitchen from another part of the house.
- There is exposed cat or dog food lying around, most likely spilled from a pet bowl.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
There are a few steps that you can take in order to get rid of the ants in your kitchen. The following are some of the most effective methods:
Find Access Points
First and foremost, you should look for the access points that are allowing the ants to make their way into your kitchen. Usually, ants tend to move in a straight line or a set trail by following the pheromones or smells of the queen and the other ants present in front of them.
These access points could be anywhere in or near your kitchen such as cracks or holes in the walls, open windows, cracked pipes or drains, gaps in the floor, chipped paint or caulk, and more.
Once they enter your kitchen, they can set up a nest nearby that they keep moving to, and from once they manage to get their food.
Once you figure out the access point, you will need to close it up once you are well into the process of getting rid of the ants. Do this beforehand so that you can ensure ants have stopped entering your kitchen space.
You can start setting baits around your kitchen as a way of trapping the ants before they can make their way into your food. You can opt for any kind of bait as long as it attracts the ants while also managing to kill them once they eat it.
For instance, you could use baits with borax or sweet substances like syrups. Wet foods can also work.
These will allow the ants to come to the bait and carry the small particles to their nest. Once they start eating these baits, they will start dying off one by one. You should be patient because you might need to wait for a few days in order to see better results. This is why it’s best not to use anything toxic in case there are pets or other animals in the house that might accidentally ingest the bait.
You can easily obtain such baits from local or online stores. These can either be readymade adhesives or strips or you can simply take a box and mix some appealing but toxic substances inside.
Leave these baits near the access point so that the ants can come into contact with it quickly without having a chance to come near your food or other parts of the kitchen.
Knock Down the Nest
You can also try locating the nest itself in your kitchen. For this, however, you will need to be patient so that you can keep an eye on the ants. They will usually move towards the food and then back to their nest while carrying food crumbs.
Follow their path carefully so that you can figure out where they have built their nest. Usually, they will all follow the same trail in a straight line so that they can follow the scent. This will make it much easier for you to locate the nest.
Once you find out where the nest is (it will look like a powdery mound or anthill), you can use an insecticide or pesticide that effectively kills the nest and the ants present inside it. Make sure you choose one that actually kills the ants and does not allow them to build another nest elsewhere.
If you have already set a bait near the access point, then this will end up destroying the nest by itself once the ants bring back the bait to the nest.
Inspect Your Food
It is possible that your ants might already have established themselves in or near your kitchen a while ago. In this case, apart from knocking down their nest, you will need to inspect the food in your kitchen thoroughly to ensure that the ants have not contaminated it.
This particularly applies to unsealed or uncovered food in your kitchen such as fruits, open containers of rice, sugar or syrup containers lying around, and anything else of the sort.
In case the ants have found any of these foods, you should safely dispose of them in order to ensure that the ants no longer have access to them. This will help remove any possible trace of ants from your kitchen space altogether. After this, you can sprinkle some insecticide powder or place some ant poison around the food storage areas so that they cannot find their way inside again.
Throw Out Waste/Garbage
Food waste and garbage are easy targets for ants since they will get attracted to the smells to look for food that they can take back to their nest. In case you notice ants around your kitchen, you should definitely take a look inside the food waste or garbage bin.
You might be surprised to find a lot of ants that have made their way into the bin and are happily going through your food waste looking for something to eat. In this case, throwing out the entire bin is a good idea since what you really want to do is reduce the number of ants in your kitchen as much as possible.
This step will not be enough by itself so make sure you combine it with other methods to completely solve the problem.
Use Ant Sprays
You can easily get rid of the trail by spraying a commercial solution or disinfectant on it so that you can get rid of the pheromone scents to break the chain that the ants tend to follow.
Make sure you spray this solution throughout the trail to create a gap while also destroying the nest and dealing with their access points. This
Do not try to spray it all across your kitchen since this will end up contaminating other areas as well with traces of the solution. Make sure you only focus on cleaning their trails and also any access points you might have discovered while inspecting their nests. This way you will be able to stop them from invading your kitchen in the future.
Use Homemade Solutions
You can try homemade solutions, substances, or sprays to successfully break the trail that the ants are following. These can either be chemical solutions or natural ones such as essential oils depending on what you can access.
Some common ideas for such solutions or substances include the following.
- You can use some borax and combine it with water and a bit of sugar to attract the ants. Borax is poisonous for the ants and will end up killing the entire colony once the poison finds its way to the nest.
- You can combine vinegar, bleach, or some dish soap with water to spray it over the trail of ants to kill some of them or simply create a gap.
- Use lemons and combine their pulp with some water. Spray this solution across the trail so that you can kill or repel some of the ants.
- Spices can be a great way to break the chain while also keeping the ants away from different parts of your kitchen. You can use cinnamon, black pepper, chili powder, mint, and other spices that you might have lying around.
- Substances like diatomaceous earth can help kill the ants by reducing their breathing capacities.
Clean the Pipes
It is possible that the ants might be coming into your kitchen as a result of dirty and clogged pipes or drains. They could also simply be making their way into the drains and pipes and building their nests inside them to have a safe enough place to survive.
For this reason, it is important for you to clean out your pipes or sink drain, especially if you notice the ants following a trail that leads back to these areas.
Regularly taking care of these pipes can further help the issue from spreading.
In case your pipes or drains are leaking due to holes, gaps, or other issues in your plumbing system, it is essential for you to fix your leaks as soon as possible as these can make it much easier for the ants to multiply.
This is because of the fact that ants are attracted to moisture or wet spots inside your kitchen. If such leaks manage to combine with nearby food, then this will end up attracting the ants to the spots even more, putting your food at risk of contamination.
If you cannot fix the leak on your own, make sure you call a plumber as soon as possible.
Use a Sealer
A sealer can help you close off any possible gaps, cracks, or holes in your kitchen. This is also something you should certainly do once you have managed to get rid of the ants and nest from your kitchen.
Since you have a better idea at this point about the location of the access point for the ants, you can now seal that point up with some caulk or paint to prevent the ants from coming back.
Make sure you seal other areas as well that might otherwise allow the ants to return.
Call a Professional
In case none of these methods work well for you and if the ants keep coming back to your kitchen, then this probably means that your ants have multiple nests or colonies in various parts of your kitchen and house.
In such a case, it can be time-consuming and difficult to locate each nest and get rid of all the ants in the kitchen. If this is the issue, then you will need to call a professional who will use their equipment and substances to effectively get rid of the problem at large.
Ants In Particular Parts Of Your Kitchen
If you find that the ants are only in certain parts of your kitchen, like near your sink, dishwasher, or in a specific cabinet, then it could be that there is a food source in that area that is attracting them.
In such cases, you will need to take some steps to limit the access of the ants to that particular food source so that the ant problem does not spread out of control.
Ants in Kitchen Sink
If you are noticing that the ants are only in your sink or around it, this might be due to dirty drains. The ants might be feeding on whatever is stuck inside them and bringing it back to the nest to share with the other members of their colony.
For this reason, make sure you clean out your drain using borax or vinegar and water at least once a week. You can also use a sealant to close off any possible entrances for the ants.
Ants Under Kitchen Sink
If you are finding that the ants are congregating under your kitchen sink, it could be because of a leak or water damage in that area that is attracting the ants. Another reason could be that the area is dark and moist, making it an ideal place for the ants to live and breed.
In such a case, you will need to take some steps to fix the leak or water damage and also make sure that the area is well-lit and dry. You might also need to use a sealant to close off any possible entrances for the ants.
Ants in Kitchen Cabinets & Cupboards
If you are finding ants in your cabinets or cupboards, it could be because they are attracted to the food that is being stored in these areas.
In such a case, you will need to take some steps to limit the access of the ants to that particular food source so that the ant problem does not spread out of control. You can do this by using airtight containers to store your food or by cleaning up any spills or crumbs as soon as they happen.
You might also need to use a sealant to close off any possible entrances for the ants.
Ants on Kitchen Counter
If you are finding ants on your kitchen counter, it could be because they are attracted to the food that is being prepared or eaten on the counter.
In such a case, you will need to take some steps to limit the access of the ants to that particular food source so that the ant problem does not spread out of control. You can do this by wiping your countertops down after every use and cleaning up any spills or crumbs as soon as they happen.
How To Prevent Ants From Entering Your Kitchen
Now that you know how to get rid of ants in the kitchen, it is also important to be aware of ways to prevent them from entering your kitchen again so that you can save yourself the trouble.
Go through the following measures and make use of them regularly to create an environment ants are not attracted to.
Keep Your Kitchen Clean
As obvious as it sounds, leaving your kitchen unclean for too long or even more than a few minutes can invite a host of immediate problems, including ants. Thus, each time you cook and eat, make sure you wipe everything up to prevent ants from getting attracted to your kitchen.
As far as possible, you should try to prevent spills in the kitchen as these can be an easy target for ants. Of course, this might not always be possible to deal with, so make sure you clean them up with a disinfectant as soon as you spill the food or drink.
Leaving the spill to clean up later can immediately attract ants to it, by which time it might be too late and might require you to carry out additional steps to get rid of the ants.
Handle Food Waste
Food waste can also immediately end up attracting ants to them, causing them to spread to other parts of the kitchen by expanding their colonies.
It is not entirely possible to prevent food waste due to the peels and other parts that you need to discard while cooking. There might also be stale leftovers that you might need to throw out at some point or other.
Make sure you handle this food waste properly. For instance, do not leave it uncovered, throw it in the designated bin and cover it up tightly so that the ants do not find it. You should also throw it out regularly.
Use Sealed Containers
Keep all your food in sealed and airtight containers. Make sure none of them have any holes, cracks, or gaps in them as even the smallest opening will be enough for the ants to make their way into the food and contaminate it.
Too much contamination will require you to throw out what could have been perfectly good food. This can be a huge problem for food that you usually keep in bulk to maintain a regular stock.
For instance, sugar, rice, and flour can easily attract ants to them if the containers are kept uncovered and out in the open.
Keep The Garbage Covered
It is also important to ensure that you keep all the garbage bins inside your house covered, especially the ones in the kitchen. This is because the garbage usually gets smelly, especially when it starts to get old or if you have put in the wrong waste.
This can then cause them to create a trail to and from the garbage bins that can end up spreading all kinds of germs and bacteria into your kitchen. With airborne germs, there is a greater risk of coming into contact with your food as well as you, leading to several health issues as well as an unnecessary wastage of food.
Carry Out Regular Maintenance
You should carry out regular maintenance of the kitchen appliances and surfaces so that they can remain clean enough to keep the ants away.
Over time and usage, these appliances are likely to become dirty or capture food particles between them. Larger surfaces such as sinks, drains, floors, and walls can create even more space for the ants to enter your kitchen and build their nests.
You should, therefore, either carry out this kind of cleaning and maintenance on your own or call a professional to do it for you so that you can seal off all possible cracks through which the ants can enter.
Keeping deterrents in various parts of the kitchen can be an easy way of preventing the ants from coming near your kitchen or near the food in your kitchen. You can either place these deterrents (if natural) near or inside the food itself or near the access point so that they manage to stay away from the kitchen altogether.
Some of the popular deterrents that you can use are lemon juice, vinegar, chalk powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. You can also place a bay leaf in your food stores to keep the ants at bay.
These deterrents might not always be effective 100% of the time, but they will definitely help to reduce the number of ants that you see in your kitchen. It is also important to change or rotate the deterrents every once in a while so that the ants do not get used to them and find a way around them.
Since ants are easily attracted to moist or damp areas and foods, it can help to regulate the humidity levels in your kitchen by ensuring enough ventilation or by simply installing a dehumidifier.
With the right level of humidity, you should see that the ants are not attracted to your kitchen anymore.
While it might be easier to deal with ants when they are outside your house, you will still need to work at the same time in making sure that you get rid of them from inside your kitchen.
This can help to reduce the number of times that you need to carry out these methods and should make your life a lot simpler. The above-mentioned methods can be used in conjunction with one another to make sure that your problem is dealt with completely and permanently.
Once you get rid of ants from inside your house, it will also help to reduce the number of times that they come into contact with your food by making their way into your kitchen or food stores.