A Bug’s Life: How to Remove Small Ants from the Kitchen So You Can Have Your Home Back
Ants wind up in many kitchens by coming in through windows, open doors and even kitchen cabinets. Often attracted by food, ants can have a field day in the average kitchen, multiplying until you’ve got an infestation. The problem is that many people don’t know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen once they appear.
If you’re tired of ants taking over your kitchen every few months and having to scramble to get rid of them, it’s time to learn a better method. Use this guide to learn more about how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen so you’re not sharing your space with them any longer. After all, it’s your kitchen, not theirs.
Table of Contents
- Got Ants in the Kitchen? Figure Out What Kind You Have First
- How Do I Keep Ants Out?
- Best-Selling Products You Can Use in the Kitchen
- Effective Methods for Killing Ants in My Kitchen
Got Ants in the Kitchen? Figure Out What Kind You Have First
If you want to know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen, the first and most important step is figuring out what kind of ants are causing you a problem. Not all ants respond to the same methods of removal, so identification is a necessary first step.
Here’s how you can identify ants in your kitchen:
- Take note of the color of the ants in your kitchen. Pavement ants, which are dark brown to black in color, are among the most common. Pharaoh ants, which are light yellow in color with brown markings, are also regular kitchen invaders in some areas.
- Look at the size of the ants. Common pavement and pharaoh ants are both relatively small in size. Carpenter ants, which tend to be attracted to areas with wood like cupboards, are a little bit larger in size.
The kitchen is the number one place for an infestation in the average home. Bathrooms tend to be the second most common area where ants enter the house because of open windows and the potential for standing water in sinks, cabinets and the shower.
Where Did the Ants Come From?
Once you’ve figured out what kind of ants are causing you a problem in your home, you then need to determine how the ants got into your kitchen in the first place. If you don’t do this now, getting rid of the infestation will likely on be a short-term solution.
Check these areas to figure out how ants got into your home:
- Look for cracks around doors that lead into your kitchen. Old weather-stripping or seals that are no longer function may allow a stream of ants to enter your home without knowledge.
- Check inside cabinets that are positioned on an exterior wall. Damage to cabinetry or cracks can lead ants indoors. You should also check the outside of these areas on the exterior of your home to make sure there’s no damage that could let ants pass through into the inside of your cabinetry.
- Visually inspect screens around windows to make sure they aren’t damaged or bent at the edges. A torn screen or one with a bent corner will make it very easy for ants to get into your kitchen.
- Inspect the outside of your home for tree branches or growth that may entice ants. If this growth is very close to or touching your home this could be a pathway for ants.
Why Are Ants So Interested in My Kitchen?
A lot of people who want to know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen are also wondering why they’re having an infestation in the first place. While getting ants is a common occurrence, there are some things that make your kitchen look like a safe-haven for those pesky bugs.
Reasons ants tend to like living in the kitchen include:
- Freestanding water. Ants require very little water, so something as simple as a wet paper towel or dish rag can seem like a vast supply of fresh water for them.
- Ants are attracted to food particles, particularly those with sugar in them. You don’t have to leave dirty dishes all over the counters to attract ants though. Even food particles in the sink can be inviting to ants that already have access to your home.
How Do I Keep Ants Out?
Prevention is key when learning how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen. After all, simply clearing an infestation that’s only going to come back again in a month isn’t very smart.
Use these tips to keep ants out of your kitchen and away from your food:
- Don’t let freestanding water remain in your kitchen when you have an ant problem. Even wet dish towels can draw ants toward your space when they’re seeking fresh water. Avoid soaking pans and dishes for more than a few hours, and when possible, keep anything with water or liquids in it covered.
- Never leave uncovered food out on your counters. If you have items with sugar in them like cookies, put them in a sealed container with a tight-fitting top. As a general rule, if you’re not eating it, it should be put away to keep ants from entering your home.
- Check the seals around your windows and doors. From weather stripping to general silicone caulking, damaged seals are a very easy entry point for ants that want to get inside.
- Make sure all of your screens are in good shape. Replacement screens are inexpensive and you may be able to repair damaged ones in a matter of minutes.
When you’re trying to keep ants out of your home, identifying where they come into your house is the first step. Once you find that area, applying basic white vinegar can deter ants from using that point of entry. Using vinegar will also help deter ants while you make necessary repairs to keep them out for good.
How to Get Ants Off the Kitchen Counter
The kitchen counter is one of the most common places you’ll find ants once you have an infestation. When you wake up one morning to find a 1,000 ants running around though, it can be hard to know how to tackle the issue. You probably don’t want to use ant spray that contains poisons on your kitchen counters if you don’t have to though.
One of the simplest methods for removing ants from kitchen counters is to combine a capful (about one tablespoon) of dish soap with a full spray bottle of water. Spray the ants and wait five minutes before using paper towels or a rag to clear them from the area.
This won’t solve the infestation problem, but it can get your counters clean now so you can take care of the bigger problem.
What About the Sink?
If you want to know how to get rid of ants in your house and they aren’t on your counters there’s a good chance that they’re calling your sink home, at least for now. That doesn’t mean you have to let them stay there though.
The dish soap method used for clearing kitchen counters can work well in the sink, but you do have other options here as well. If the ants are in the drain – they likely are, even if you can’t see them there – baking soda is your best option.
- Pour baking soda into the drain and wait about 10 minutes.
- Add diluted vinegar to the drain clear any food particles that may be attracting the ants to stay in your drain.
- Rinse the sink and drain with boiling water after the baking soda and vinegar combination to clear the area.
Best-Selling Products You Can Use in the Kitchen
Spraying poisons and serious chemicals all over your kitchen isn’t a wise idea. If you need to know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen though, it only makes sense that you’ll want some product to do the work for you.
While there are dozens of choices on the market, some products tend to be ideal for kitchen use:
- Raid Ant Baits. This product is basically a trap that works to attract ants. Once inside the trap, ants are quickly poisoned. These traps also feature an adhesive so they can be used inside cabinets and in hard to reach places. Raid products are available in most drug stores, grocery stores and major hardware retailers like Home Depot and Ace.
- Terro Liquid Ant Baits. Like the Raid product, these traps work to entice ants. Terro Liquid Ant Baits use a sweet liquid that brings the ants to the trap and keeps them there so they’re not on your counters and in your sink. Terro products are available through many retailers and online outlets like Amazon.
- Eco-Raider Natural and Non-Toxic Spray Ant and Crawling Insect Killer. This product uses tiny amounts of active ingredients to quickly paralyze and kill ants on counters and around your home. It can be purchased at major hardware retailers like Home Depot and online through Amazon.
Effective Methods for Killing Ants in My Kitchen
Sometimes ants can take over your kitchen and the only answer is to remove everything from your counters and sinks and use real pesticides to kill them. Adequate ventilation is essential when using these products, so make sure you open up your windows. Using a fan to create more airflow can be beneficial.
Products that work for killing ants in the kitchen include:
- Terro Liquid Ant Killer. This product is used by pouring a small amount of the liquid ant killer onto provided cardboard squares. These are then placed near the infestation to attract and kill ants. Terro Liquid Ant Killer is designed for indoor use, but outdoor versions are available as well. Retailers like Home Depot and online stores including Amazon carry this product.
- Combat Ant & Roach Foam Spray. This product is applied directly to infestations to quickly paralyze and kill ants and roaches. It is available at major retailers, drug stores and hardware stores throughout the country.
- DuPont Advion Ant Control Bait Gel. This product is useful for applying to areas like cracks in walls and in corners of cabinets. It can be used indoors and outdoors and is available online through Amazon and some brick-and-mortar stores.
How to Remove Ants Quickly
If you want to know how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen in a hurry you’re not alone. Ants can be a real nuisance, and try as hard as you can, sometimes they still end up inside. Getting rid of them quickly isn’t all that hard though. Even some types of homemade ant killer can be effective.
Here’s how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen quickly:
- Use the dish soap and water method. This will trap the ants, making them easy to wipe off of counters. Dish soap is also easy to remove and non-toxic for humans, making it an ideal solution for homes with pets and children.
- Pour boiling water into the sink. Boiling water will quickly eradicate ants in the short-term. A long-term solution may be needed for a regular infestation.
- Combine a teaspoon of peppermint essential oil with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the ants and wipe them away when they die within a few minutes. As an added benefit, peppermint essential oil smells much better than your average ant killer, though it isn’t as effective for large groups of ants.
- Create a trap that is 75% peanut butter and 25% powdered borax. This can work well if you have ants in one small part of the kitchen like on an island or in a single cupboard or cabinet. A mixture that is three parts powdered sugar to one part powdered borax can also be effective.
Learning how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen isn’t difficult, but when it comes to stubborn invasions, you may need to try a few different solutions. You’ll also need to shore up any areas around your home that are allowing ants inside in the first place.
If all of your hard work doesn’t pay off and ants are becoming regular visitors to your kitchen, it may be time to hire a professional to help you figure out the problem. Professional solutions can also take care of ants on the spot so they’re gone in a matter of minutes.
Luckily many people can learn how to get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen with the simpler methods above. Use them around your home and kiss the ants goodbye!
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