Ants are everyone’s uninvited guests—they take up residence anywhere in your home and the kitchen is their favorite place to find food. Ants are notorious for getting into almost everything, including pantry and food containers. While there are more harmful pests than ants, there’s no denying that they can be a problem.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
Just like any living creature, ants need water, food, and shelter. Given their bite-size, they have a habit of invading homes to get what they need. And while these tiny insects often aren’t harmful to a person’s health, they can be an unpleasant sight, or worse, chew their way through important electrical wiring or foundation.
When you see a handful of ants, it’s safe to assume that there are thousands more nearby. This knowledge is bothersome if an ant infestation occurs in your home—you’ll want to solve the problem fast.
Although we can try to keep our home clean, sometimes it’s not enough to keep ants away from our kitchen. Giving a little more effort and using advanced techniques will go a long way in keeping your kitchen secure.
Why Am I Getting Ants in My Kitchen?
Ants in your home are like magicians, they appear out of nowhere. If you spot them in the kitchen, it’s most likely because of easy access to food and beverages. If your kitchen countertops are always dirty or there are easily accessible crumbs, sweets, and fruits, you can expect ants to find their way to it. They’re always in constant search for food, and they easily settle where they find it. Who doesn’t want free food?
When are Ants a Problem?
According to the National Wildlife Federation, there are over 12,000 species of ants around the world. The vast majority of these ants are harmless to people.
However, ants are potential transmitters of disease or infection since they can carry bacteria. For example, a 2019 small animal study showed that monomorium ants can carry pathogenic bacteria, which can be dangerous to people, especially to children. Also, an older 2005 ant study showed that the pharaoh ant—a type of monomorium ant—may be a cause of bronchial asthma and respiratory allergies.
The likelihood of these ants affecting our health is very low, but they are not zero. A few ants here and there might not be a problem, but you need to do something if your doughnuts get invaded by ants in less than five minutes.
What Can I Do to Stop Kitchen Ants?
1. Limit what ants can eat
Prevention is more effective than cure, so clearing away food remains and spills is the first thing you need to do. As mentioned earlier, ants invade kitchens to forage food. So be sure to store food in tightly sealed plastic bags and containers.
They’re usually attracted to starchy and sweet things, such as honey, cornmeal, and sugar. You’ll want to ensure there are no smears, splatters, and spills of such food items anywhere in your kitchen. Also, don’t neglect cleaning your appliances after every use and keep your garbage bins clean. In short, the cleaner you keep your kitchen, the less likely it is that you’ll have ants move in.
2. Block ant entry ways
While it’s impossible to seal every nook and cranny, you can still keep ants away from your kitchen by sealing their entry ways. Try as much as possible to seal cracks, crevices, holes in walls, and near floorboards.
A good trick is to follow their trail to find out where they came from. Also, check around window frames, screens, and doors. If you have a yard or garden, get rid of any colonies you might discover, as your kitchen ants are mostly coming from there.
3. Use homemade and natural ant deterrent products
If you already have an ant infestation, using organic products provides a humane means of ant control. You can use them alone or make sprays out of a variety of readily available products, such as:
Using boiling water is an ideal way to kill ants in the kitchen. Identify ant holes in your kitchen and near your home and pour boiling water into them. While the boiling water won’t kill the entire colony, it will kill as many ants as possible. Be careful with handling it, as it’s hot enough to cause skin burns.
Whether it’s red or black, pepper usually irritates ants, making it an excellent ant deterrent. Sprinkle pepper behind appliances and around baseboards to get rid of ants in the kitchen. This remedy is completely safe and natural.
This everyday home product can also be handy in controlling ants in your kitchen. Use the soap to make soapy water, which you can sprinkle around your kitchen. Soapy water clears the scent of ant pheromones, which they use in following trails. Without the scent, they’re unable to communicate with each other, scattering in different places.
Vinegar or lemon juice
This favorite food ingredient also makes for a great remedy for ants. Simply create equal parts of water and vinegar or lemon solution. Be sure to shake the bottle to mix the solution well. When ready, spray your kitchen floors, countertops, corners, and other surfaces. Follow their trail and spray the solution where they have established their colony.
You can also use vinegar alone, and it works by killings ants and also by repelling them. Unlike humans, ants can smell vinegar even after it dries, making a great remedy.
You can try different essential oils, such as tea tree, peppermint, neem, lemon, eucalyptus, and cinnamon leaf oils. All these oils act as ant repellents, and you can mix them with water or use them alone to remove the tiny ants from the kitchen. They contain natural chemicals that irritate ants, forcing them out of your home. However, they are annoying to clean afterwards.
They can be hard to get rid of, but it’s possible to repel and eradicate ants over time using the natural methods described above. Ants are common invaders of homes across the United States and even if you get rid of them, they’ll keep coming back.
While most ants are harmless, they wreak havoc in your kitchen and can ruin the foundations of your home. Before getting rid of them, note their trails and movements to identify where they have set up a colony. It’s best to get rid of them at the source by using the home remedies shared above.
Also, make sure the queen is dead to prevent the problem from returning. You can then seal all gaps and cracks in your walls, windows, and doors. Once you’re done with all of that, refresh your home to eliminate clutter so that you’re better able to limit places where ants can hide.
Keeping your home clean and removing likely places for ants to enter and hide is the easiest way to prevent future infestations. If all else fails, you can always call professional exterminators to remove ants from your home or hire a junk removal company to get rid of junk ants will love to chew on.