Ants are a common, annoying problem in kitchens because they're drawn to different types of food and water. If you don't deal with ants quickly, they can contaminate your food. You need to learn how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces to keep your area clean and food safe. When you leave food out, spills on the table, and leaks unattended, ants will infect your kitchen. Not to worry! We teach you how to identify different ant species and how to effectively get rid of them.
Identifying the Type of Ants
Before learning how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces, you need to identify the type of ant you're dealing with. Ant colonies can be made up of different types of species which have different habits and nesting sites. You can identify what kind of ant you're dealing with by observing their behavior and looking at them. After knowing exactly what you're dealing with, you can properly eliminate the ant colony.
Determining the Type of Ants in Your Kitchen
To properly identify and learn how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces, you need to know which insect population you're dealing with first:
- Examine their appearance and behavior: Ants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Their size, color, and antennae shape can help you figure out what kind of ant they are.
- Analyze the fossilized remains: If you find dead ants in your kitchen, you can try to identify the type of ant by analyzing the fossilized remains, such as the head, thorax, and legs, and comparing them to pictures of different ant species online.
- Make use of diatomaceous earth powder: When this dry powder's dusted over ant colonies, it sticks ants and reveals their physical characteristics which you can get a closer look at with a microscope.
- Look for colony patterns: Some ant species forage for food separately, while others forage in lines, clusters, or trails. Observe how the ants move and behave so that you can learn about what kind of ant species they are.
Common Types of Ants Found in Kitchens
The most common types of ants found in kitchens are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants. Each infestation will be found in a different area of your kitchen and should be dealt with as soon as you see them on your countertop, in your pantry, around your window, or door:
- Carpenter Ants: these ants are large, black, or reddish-black ants that are commonly found in the wood structures of your kitchen. Carpenter ants are known to forage for food and water in high-moisture areas like sinks or dishwashers.
- Odorous House Ants: these ants are small, brown, or black in color, and when crushed, they emit a strong, rotten coconut-like odor. They are drawn to sweet foods and forage in large groups.
- Pavement Ants: these ants are small, black, or brown ants that build their nests in and around pavement or concrete. They forage for sweet and greasy food in and around the kitchen.
By identifying the specific species of ant, you can effectively learn how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces effectively.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Kitchen Spaces
Ants are a common issue in kitchens, and there are several ways to get rid of them. Natural remedies, chemical pesticides, and exclusion techniques are among them. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and the best approach depends on what you have on hand and your preference. You can use peppermint oil, a chemical pesticide, a bait trap, or use the exclusion technique to get rid of ants in the kitchen:
Natural Ant Repellant:
While you can use some of the best bug sprays on the market, you can also make your own repellant. Peppermint oil has a strong, minty odor that ants dislike which is why you can use it to get rid of them effectively. To create a barrier and keep the ants out:
- Make a peppermint essential oil and water solution by combining 10-15 drops of peppermint oil with one cup of water.
- After learning how to properly clean kitchen countertops, spray the other kitchen surfaces with the peppermint solution, paying special attention to ant-infested areas.
- Place cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil near ant entry points such as windows and doors to create a repellent barrier.
- Repeat the process as needed to keep the barrier in place and the ants at bay.
A DIY bait trap is designed to attract ants, encourage them to bring it back to the colony, and kill the ants at the source. To make a bait trap at home:
- Get a plastic container that isn't used on a daily basis and fill it with sweet food like sugar water syrup or jelly.
- You can make your own DIY sugar water syrup by combining equal parts of hot or boiling water and sugar in a saucepan and letting it cool.
- Add a small amount of borax into the container and mix it well with the sugar water syrup or jelly.
- Place the container on the ground, countertop, near the door, or window where you see the ants coming and going.
- Wait for the ants to bring the bait back to their colony.
- It will take 24 to 48 hours for the poisonous borax to kill the ants.
- Go back to the source and simply clean up the colony when the ants have died.
Chemical pesticides are available in spray bottle form or another packaging which you can easily find in hardware and home improvement stores. This type of ant repellant is designed to kill ants on contact:
- Go to a hardware or home improvement store and buy an ant-specific pesticide.
- Read and follow all label instructions, including any precautions or safety measures.
- Apply the pesticide to all areas where ants have been spotted, taking extra care to make sure that you're keeping it away from food and food-contact surfaces.
- Keep children and pets away from pesticide-treated areas until it has dried.
- Repeat the process as needed, but no more frequently than the label specifies.
Remember to use chemical pesticides with caution and strictly follow instructions on the product's label.
You can also make sure ants don't have the chance to get into your kitchen and infest your food and drinks by sealing gaps and cracks in the walls and floors with a silicone-based caulk as well as installing plastic or metal screens on windows and doors:
- Examine the kitchen for potential entry points such as gaps and cracks in walls and floors, as well as around windows and doors.
- Learn how to caulk like a professional. Seal these gaps with silicone caulk or plastic or metal screens.
- Remove any scent trails that may have attracted ants by cleaning the surfaces and areas where they have been seen.
- Repeat the process as needed, keeping an eye out for potential new entry points
These are the most popular DIY ways when you're learning how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces effectively. If you are unsure about using these methods or prefer to let the professional deal with the ants, contact expert exterminators.
However, if you are going to use any of these methods, we recommend using a combination of all of them to effectively keep ants out of the kitchen and exterminate them.
Preventing Future Infestations
Learning how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces is effective but you can also prevent future infestations from happening in the first place. To do this, keep your kitchen clean and organized, seal off possible entry points, get rid of food and drinks lying around, or consult professional pest control services:
- Sealing Entry Points: Take a good look around your kitchen and identify potential entry points like gaps in the flooring or cracks in the wall. Check your doorway, window sills, and other entryways connecting to the outdoors. To keep ants out of the kitchen, seal these entry points with a silicone-based caulk, plastic screens, or metal screens.
- Removing Food and Moisture Sources: Ants are very attracted to food sources, water, and drinks lying around. We recommend cleaning up food scraps, crumbs, and liquid spills as soon as you see them. Keep all your food in tightly sealed containers and wipe down surfaces regularly. Also, eliminate spills and leaks as soon as possible to keep the kitchen dry.
- Regular Cleaning and Organizing: Keeping your kitchen clean and organized makes it easier for you to spot any ants and actually makes it harder for them to find food sources. Keep food preparation and storage areas clean, and free of crumbs, food scraps, and liquid spills.
- Consulting a Professional: If you're not sure how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces or prevent them from getting in your kitchen in the first space, consult professional pest control services. These experts can thoroughly inspect your home and kitchen and then recommend a customized plan to prevent ant infestations.
When dealing with ant infestations, it's important to remember that prevention is key!
Bottom Line: How to Get Rid of Ants in Kitchen
Ants are a common issue in kitchens, but there are several ways to get rid of an infestation. Natural remedies, bait traps, chemical pesticides, and exclusion techniques are among them. It's important to first identify what species you're dealing with so that you know how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces effectively.
Best practices to prevent ant infestations include keeping your kitchen clean and free of food scraps and spills, repairing any leaks, and keeping the kitchen dry, clean, and organized on a regular basis.
If you're not sure how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces quickly and by yourself, it's best to hire a professional pest control service. Consult professional pest control company websites, books, and other content online for more information on ant infestations.
Getting Rid of Ants in the Kitchen FAQs
What are typical reasons why ants infest kitchens?
Like other tiny, brown bugs in the kitchen, food or crumbs left out, spills, and leaks are typical causes of ant infestations.
How can I tell what kind of ants are in my kitchen?
You can look at the physical traits of the ants in your kitchen, examine their fossilized remnants, or use diatomaceous earth to magnify them so you can see the physical traits under a microscope.
What are some pointers for recognizing common ant species found in kitchens?
Carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants are three common species of ants found in kitchens. Large, black, or reddish-black ants, known as carpenter ants, find wood structures as the perfect home. This ant species is usually found in high-moisture areas of the kitchen like your kitchen sink or dishwasher.
Odorous ants are small, black, or brown and will emit a rotten-coconut smell when they're crushed. This type of ant is found around sweet food sources (e.g., fruit) and will forage in large groups.
Then there are pavement ants who make a home around pavement or concrete. These small, black, or brown ants typically look for greasy and sweet food. No matter what species you're dealing with, we've outlined how to get rid of ants in kitchen spaces step-by-step above.