So, you want to know how to get rid of ants in the kitchen because you've finished cleaning up after dinner, look down, and see a trail of ants coming in from a hole in the wall near the floor. Or some other similar scenario that we're all too familiar with. Even if you might see what you consider to be several ants, you likely don't have an infestation. What do you do?
What attracts ants into your kitchen in the first place?
Your milkshake may bring all the boys to the yard, but it also brings all the ants into your kitchen. Ants often head indoors in search of food, and what better place to find food than in your kitchen? Ants in general are particularly attracted to the scents of grease and sugar, so kitchens with unattended food spills will most likely attract ants. To deter ants from your home, thoroughly and regularly clean your kitchen, paying extra attention to areas that might have grease and/or sugary residues.
Get a jump on food and drink spills and clean them up promptly. Also, keep all crumbs wiped up off your countertops. Note that cleaning with water alone might not completely get rid of the sugar and grease scents that attract the ants, so be sure to regularly wipe down spills, countertops, and the kitchen sink using soap or vinegar water. This will help disrupt their pheromone trails that other ants from the colony follow in search of food.
Part of your kitchen cleaning will include careful storage of food. Ants can easily pick up on food scents unless you're storing foods in sealed containers or in the refrigerator. Use tightly sealed containers to store sugar and other sugary substances like syrup and honey. Keep the outside of these containers well wiped down in case of spillage.
Placing a bay leaf into dry goods, like stored flour, will also keep ants away. Pet food should also be sealed and not left out where ants have easy access to it.
Another easy draw for ants are trash cans. Food left in indoor trash containers for too long can emit a strong odor. Keep your trash sealed and remove bags of trash to outdoor trash receptacles daily. Don't throw away perishable foods unless they are wrapped in plastic bags.
Speaking of outdoor trash receptacles, keep those trash cans away from the entrances to your home. Careful trash management will not only keep ants out of your kitchen (and home), it will also keep other pests, like cockroaches, away.
If you notice ants in your kitchen or bathroom, check around sinks, toilets, and tubs for water leaks and drips. Try to keep the area around the kitchen sink free of standing water.
Once you have done what you can to minimize sources of food and water for ants, you should do what you can to ensure ants can’t easily come inside your home. Keep an eye out for small cracks and holes in your walls, and around windows and doors. Use caulk or spackle to seal them up. Also, seal windows and doors with weather stripping.
Other Ant Prevention Methods
There are some other preventive steps you can take to help keep ants away from your kitchen and home.
Trees and shrub branches. Keep the branches of trees and other vegetation around your home well trimmed and as reasonably far away from the side of the structure as possible. Branches can act as a bridge for ants to enter your home.
Ant bait. Effective ant bait or bait stations are a good way to attract ants, get them to consume the bait, then take it back to their colony to share, eventually killing off the colony. Be sure that areas where you lay down bait or bait stations are well cleaned up (if there are other food sources, ants will likely go to them first). Depending on the size of the colony, it may take a couple of days to a few weeks to eliminate a nearby colony using bait. Be patient. If you see ants coming and going from areas where you've placed bait or bait stations, this is a good sign. Do NOT use insect sprays in areas where you have laid down bait or bait stations, as this will keep ants away from the bait you're trying to get them to eat. A good ant spray can be effective however in spot treating for ants you see elsewhere in your kitchen and home.
Speaking of green ingredients, why is borax such a big deal when it comes to fighting ants? Find out here.
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