How to get rid of ants in your kitchen?
These small insects can cause big problems when they infest our homes and especially when they find their way into our kitchen.
Most of us consider ants to be a nuisance just by the sheer volume of them, but when they get into our kitchen pantries and make nests behind our walls, they can give us more than just the heebie jeebies.
In fact, when ants get into food, they can not only spread bacteria and germs, but they can also contaminate food with their feces and smells, costing American households thousands of dollars in waste each year.
If you’re dealing with ants in your home, then you’re likely looking for a quick and effective method you can use for how to kill ants in kitchens. Sound about right? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we are going to learn more about ants, why they invade homes and kitchens, and which products, methods and practices work best for how to kill ants in kitchen areas once and for all.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Ants Found In Kitchens?
The most common types of ants to invade kitchens are different species of sugar ants.
There are over 12,000 species of ants throughout the world and an estimated 1,000 species of ants in the United States. That said, there are a few types of ants most commonly found invading human homes.
If you’re looking for how to kill ants in kitchens, then chances are you’re looking to kill common sugar ants. But what are sugar ants?
The term “sugar ant” is used to describe a number of home invading ant species that seek human food sources. Most often, these food sources are sweet and sugary, which is how these ants got their name.
Because these ants seek out food sources, they commonly find their way into our kitchen and pantry. But which types of ants are you most likely to contend with when looking for how to kill ants in kitchens?
Let’s find out.
Most people looking for how to kill ants in kitchens are dealing with pavement ants. Pavement ants are a common species of ant often found congregating in massive numbers along sidewalks and in the cracks and crevices of cement.
Pavement ants are very small and can have colonies as large as one million ants. They infiltrate homes in massive numbers looking for food sources and can contaminate foods like cereals, fruits, vegetables, and meat.
One of the most common forms of home invading ants referred to as sugar ants are carpenter ants. These ants are perhaps the most dangerous ant to have in your home not because they are venomous or cause disease to people or pets, but because they chew holes and passages through wood and can cause serious structural damage.
However, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. Instead, they get into our homes seeking food from our kitchen and pantry.
Odorous House Ants
Next to carpenter ants, odorous house ants are incredibly frustrating. They don’t cause serious damage to our homes and won’t hurt you or your pets, but they do release a terrible odor, especially in large numbers.
Odorous house ants are a common form of kitchen invading ant because they have such a heightened sense of smell. This means that doing anything from leaving dishes in the sink overnight to dropping a few crumbs on the kitchen floor while making a sandwich can result in an odorous house ant infestation.
Worse, odorous house ants get into foods and contaminate them, changing the taste and flavor with the same foul odor they are named for. Gross!
And while the above three ant species are some of the most common types of ants found invading homes and kitchens, we should also note that there are several other ant species in the US that feed on sugary food sources and that can find their way into our homes.
These other ant species include:
- Little Black Ants
- Argentine Ants
- Pharaoh Ants
- Acrobat Ants
- Cornfield Ants
- False Honey Ants
- And Rover Ants
Why Do I Have Ants In my Kitchen?
Ants enter homes through cracks, crevices, and gaps in doorways and windows.
If you’ve only come across one or two ants in your kitchen and think you have nothing to worry about, then you’re not going to like this next part. The truth is, one or two ants in the kitchen generally mean you have a colony of ants somewhere nearby.
Ants are social insects, and since they live in such large colonies they often send out scout ants to find food and water sources. These scout ants leave a scent trail behind them that alerts other ants in the colony as to how to get to the food. Furthermore, scout ants are known to bring the food sources they find back to the colony to feed the queen.
Kitchen-invading ants are attracted primarily to sweet food sources, but can also be attracted to organic matter and proteins, depending on their species. Some of the most common foods ants are attracted to include:
- Peanut Butter
- Maple Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- Soft Drinks
- Dead Insects
- And Water Sources
Because ants are such small insects, it can be difficult to keep them out of your home. That said, it’s easier for them to get inside your home when there are cracks and crevices along the perimeter, gaps in doorways or rips in screens.
Once inside, ants secretly build a nest that is often out of site, sometimes behind baseboards, inside your walls, or behind appliances.
How To Kill Ants In Kitchen – Identifying An Ant Infestation
If you find ants infiltrating Fido’s food indoor bowl, you might have an infestation.
If you’re wondering how to kill ants in kitchens, then you have likely already identified an ant infestation. Of course, if you’re still unsure if you’re dealing with an infestation of ants or if you’ve simply stumbled upon a few, let’s go over a few telltale signs you can look for to determine the severity of your situation.
Some common signs of an ant infestation inside your home or kitchen include:
Ant Nests Near Your Property
Finding ant nests near your property does not necessarily mean you have an ant infestation and may not even mean it’s time to find out how to kill ants in kitchens just yet, but it can be an indicator of what is to come if you’re not careful.
If you find an ant nest near your property, we suggest getting rid of it using proper pest control techniques and then reinforcing your home with protective pest control methods, home remedies, and maintenance.
Remember, scout ants are the ants in the colony who are responsible for going out into your kitchen and finding food. You may come across one or two of these ants exploring your kitchen counters, crawling up your table legs, or hanging out near the floor by the dog bowl.
If you see a few ants in your home, even if it’s just one or two, you’re likely dealing with many more and need to find out how to kill ants in kitchens fast.
An Ant Pathway
An ant pathway or ant trail is just that – a trail of ants. This pathway is often the second step that follows finding scout ants. Ant pathways are generally ants following the scent trail made by their fellow scout ants, and they are on their way to a food source that they like and that they intend to bring back to their colony.
Food Infested With Ants
One of the biggest telltale signs of an ant infestation and that it’s time to find out how to kill ants in kitchens is if you drop a piece of food and find it immediately covered in ants. If you have a dog, watch his food bowl. If you feed your pooch and then come back moments later to find his food crawling with ants, you have an infestation.
You may also find ants infesting foods in cabinets, fruit bowls, or even opened soda cans or juice bottles.
A Sweet Yet Foul Smelling Odor
Smelling something sickly sweet in your home that you can’t quite put a finger on? You may be dealing with odorous house ants. They release a pheromone that smells foul yet sweet, and this scent can get into your foods, contaminating them and costing you hundreds of dollars in waste.
Ants Crawling To Or From Baseboards
If you notice ants randomly appearing along your walls or baseboards, watch them closely. Ants who appear out of wood sidings, cracks and crevices around your kitchen could be a sign of carpenter ants.
But don’t panic – other types of ants build nests in cracks and crevices too. The most important thing to do if you find any of the signs of an ant infestation in your home is to make a plan and take action.
Now, with that in mind, it’s time to find out how to kill ants in kitchens and keep them from returning for good.
How To Kill Ants In Kitchen – Most Popular Methods
Getting rid of ants in your kitchen may require a combination of methods.
Many people looking for how to kill ants in kitchens become frustrated because the products they purchase only work temporarily. This is because many sellers only sell the products and do not explain that you need to use them in a certain order.
When looking for how to kill ants in kitchens the right way, you should first understand that the products and the methods in which you use these products are key.
First, do not spray a repellent around your home in the midst of an ant infestation. All this will do is deter the ants from coming near the repellent but will not kill them or eradicate the nest. What we suggest you do before you spray or use a repellent is place baits or dusts around your kitchen and let the scout ants eat the poison and then bring it back to the queen and colony.
Doing this will help you eradicate the entirety of the ant infestation instead of just killing one or two scout ants who venture out.
Wondering which products are right for you? When talking about using baits and poisons, some people cringe. But don’t worry, there are a few different options you have for how to kill ants in kitchens effectively that include natural methods, home remedies, insecticides and professional help.
How To Kill Ants In Kitchen Using Natural Methods
Natural methods can work just as effectively for how to kill ants in kitchens when they are used correctly.
For those of you looking for how to kill ants in kitchens using natural repellents, you’re in luck. There are a few products we recommend and that work well without requiring the use of harsh chemicals or toxins that can be dangerous for people, pets or the environment.
We have listed some of our favorite products you can use for how to kill ants in kitchens below. Of course, make sure you read our reviews below the products carefully so you know in which order to use each product.
Boric Acid Ant and Roach Killer
When looking for how to kill ants in kitchens naturally, we recommend starting with a boric acid ant killer first, especially when dealing with an infestation. Boric acid works once it is ingested by the pest, but it has a delayed response time which allows the ant to bring the boric acid bait back to the colony and the queen.
You can help entice ants to eat this boric acid bait by mixing it in powdered sugar and leaving it around your kitchen. Remember, this is not a repellent and is designed to attract ants to eat it. Once you have used boric acid and feel confident that you have tackled how to kill ants in kitchens effectively, it’s time to move on to repellents.
Diatomaceous Earth Powder
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural dust insecticide made of fossilized algae. It is completely harmless to people and pets and can be used both indoors and outdoors for how to kill ants in kitchens and keep them from returning.
While Diatomaceous Earth is not a baited poison, it does kill ants on contact by penetrating their exoskeleton, which in turn dehydrates and kills them. That said, we suggest using Diatomaceous Earth secondary to using a baited poison like boric acid above, as Diatomaceous Earth will kill scout ants and other ants venturing out but will not be enough to eradicate the entire colony on its own.
Wondercide Natural Pest Control Indoor Spray
Another natural product for how to kill ants in kitchens naturally is by Wondercide. This is an indoor spray that is commonly used by people with pets and children in the home. This product uses natural ingredients and essential oils like peppermint oil, rosemary oil, lemon oil and cedar oil to kill ants on contact and repel them.
Since this is a repellent spray, it will deter ants from coming back into your kitchen once you have figured out how to kill ants in kitchens effectively.
Remember, this repellent should be used only after you are sure you have killed the ants and eradicated the infestation in your kitchen to keep the ants from returning.
Wondercide Natural Pest Control Outdoor Spray
Since most ant problems begin outdoors, once you have figured out how to kill ants in kitchens effectively we recommend using a pest barrier outside of your home and along the perimeter to keep future ants from returning.
If you like Wondercide for indoor use, you may also like Wondercide pest killer perimeter spray for yard and garden use. The above product is meant to be sprayed outdoors and uses natural ingredients and essential oils to kill and repel pests. It can even be used on edible garden plants and is safe to use in areas where children and pets play.
Mdxconcepts Organic Home Pest Control
No products found.
Do you like the idea of using natural spray repellents for how to kill ants in kitchens and keep them from returning? If so, you’ll like this product by MDXconcepts. It is similar to Wondercide in that it uses peppermint oil to kill and repel pests like ants, roaches, spiders, mosquitoes, and more.
Again, this spray is a repellent and will only work to kill ants on contact and repel future ants. It will not eradicate ant infestations that are already occurring, so keep that in mind.
Best Home Remedies To Kill Ants In Kitchen
Baking soda mixed with powdered sugar can help kill ants.
Many people love the idea of using do it yourself pest control methods for how to kill ants in kitchens and we totally get it. Buying products can be hit or miss and hiring a professional can be expensive.
If you’re looking for ways you can manage your ant infestation on your own without spending a single cent, then you’ll love learning that there are plenty of household ingredients you likely use everyday that can also work for how to kill ants in kitchens.
See for yourself!
Baking Soda Bait
If you have an infestation of ants in your kitchen and need to remedy that first before using a homemade repellent, we have you covered with our baking soda bait recipe.
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 shallow dish
Mix equal parts powdered sugar and baking soda in a shallow dish and set it aside. If you have an ant infestation in your kitchen, it won’t take long for these ants to catch a whiff of that sugar and come out to eat. Like the boric acid bait listed above, baking soda expands inside of the ants stomach once they have a drink, which kills them.
However, oftentimes before ants drink they will take the poison back to their colony to share. If you are looking for how to kill ants in kitchens and get rid of an infestation, then do this first before using homemade repellents and repeat it as necessary until you stop seeing ants come around.
Another way to kill ants and get rid of the colony using a natural homemade bait is to use instant potatoes or instant grits. These products also expand in the stomach when the ants drink, but they will generally take the bait back to their colony first before this happens.
Essential Oil Repellents
Once you have figured out how to kill ants in kitchens and are certain you’ve taken care of the infestation, it’s time to create a good ant repellent to keep these pests from coming back. Essential oils are becoming more and more popular as DIY pest repellents and work well against ants.
The best essential oils for kitchen invading ants are:
- Tea Tree Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
To make your own essential oil ant repellent, all you need is five to ten drops of the essential oil of your choice and two cups of water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and spray the repellent along baseboards, countertops, and anywhere else you feel ants may be tempted to explore.
White Vinegar Repellent Spray
White vinegar is one of our favorite natural cleaning agents, especially when mixed with water and a few drops of peppermint oil. While a white vinegar spray repellent may not be enough for you if you’re looking for how to kill ants in kitchens, it can help repel them.
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
Mix the above ingredients in a spray bottle and shake it vigorously to mix the solution. Then spray this anywhere in your kitchen where you had noticed previous ant activity. The white vinegar is excellent at masking food smells to keep ants at bay and will also take care of any leftover scent trails left behind by scout ants.
Cinnamon, Chalk, or Cornmeal Repellents
- 1 canister of cinnamon spice OR
- 1 package of common white powdered chalk OR
- 1 package of cornmeal
Once you’ve figured out how to kill ants in kitchens and pantries using baits, you can use chalk, cinnamon, or cornmeal to make a barrier around your home. Ants have sensitive bodies that are designed specifically to hold in moisture. Chalky substances like those listed above can degrade their bodies and dehydrate them, so they will often opt not to pass over these barriers.
The below video gives a few more tips and tricks on how to kill ants in kitchens yourself.
How To Kill Ants In Kitchen Using Insecticides
Insecticides and poison baits can help kill more ants in your kitchen more quickly. (https://pixabay.com/photos/ants-water-insect-hard-working-4949166/)
A very large ant infestation may require more than just baking soda or boric acid. If you feel you’re dealing with an ant infestation in your kitchen and need to know how to kill ants in kitchens using insecticides, then this is the section for you.
While insecticides can contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment, when used correctly insecticides can work well to eradicate an ant infestation and help you get on with your life.
Let’s take a look at some of the most highly recommended products you can use for how to kill ants in kitchens using insecticides below.
HARRIS Borax Ant Killer Gel
First on our list for how to kill ants in kitchens using poisoned bait is a baited gel by Harris. This product uses borax to kill ants, and comes in a gel form that smells sweet and is highly attractive to the ants.
The gel has a delayed killing time and allows the scout ants to bring the poison back to the colony and queen, which we now know is one of the most effective ways to control and eradicate an ant infestation.
The above order includes nine bait trays that are great for kitchens and is ideal for killing and eradicating infestations of house ants like common sugar ants and odorous house ants.
TERRO Liquid Bait Stations
What we like about TERRO liquid bait stations is that they allow the scout ants to feed and then bring the poison back to the colony just like the above bait that contains borax. This helps eradicate entire infestations instead of just killing scout ants one by one.
Baits with delayed killing poisons are the best method for how to kill ants in kitchens because it effectively gets rid of ants you see and the queen and other ants hiding in the colony.
Ortho Home Defense Liquid Ant Bait
Another product recommended for how to kill ants in kitchens using poison bait are these bait stations by Ortho. The order includes six bait stations that allow scout ants to feed and then bring poison back to their colony and queen.
Again, this is necessary to help eradicate any infestation inside your kitchen. That said, the poison used in these bait stations can be dangerous to people and pets if ingested, so use this product only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
Amdro Ant Block Granule
No products found.
Remember, ants can become problematic when they build their nests outside your home too, and sometimes cracks and crevices in your walls can lead to ants invading your kitchen and returning back outside to their colony with food.
If you feel you are dealing with not only how to kill ants in kitchens but also along the perimeter of your home, you may want to try Amdro Ant Block Granules. These granules kill ants by using poisoned granules that have an extended killing time. This means that scout ants can take these granules back to their colony and queen.
The product can last for up to 12 months, but it is for outdoor use only and should be used with caution and only as directed.
Hot Shot Ant Killer Aerosol
This aerosol spray by Hot Shot is a popular repellent product used by many people looking for how to kill ants in kitchens. It uses an insecticide known as permethrin which also helps kill and control other pests like spiders, roaches, earwigs, and more.
We suggest using this spray after you have used baited poisons for how to kill ants in kitchens effectively. Once you feel you have gotten most of the ant infestation under control, use this spray around baseboards and entry and exit points. Of course, be careful using it around children and pets as it does contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous.
How To Kill Ants In Kitchen – When To Call A Professional
An overwhelming ant infestation in your kitchen may require help from a professional.
Very large ant infestations in your home can be a sign of other serious pest problems. If you find you’re dealing with an abundance of ants and can’t quite figure out how to kill ants in kitchens and other areas of your home effectively, you may need to call in the professionals.
Most pest control experts charge around $100 to $500 depending on your region and the severity of your ant infestation. They should also be able to help you pinpoint the source of the problem and may even assist you in coming up with preventative measures to keep ants from returning.
If not, don’t worry. We have some of our own preventative tips and tricks for you to use once you have figured out how to kill ants in kitchens. Keep reading.
How To Prevent A Future Ant Infestation In Your Kitchen
You can prevent future ants in your kitchen by caulking cracks and crevices around your home.
Knowing how to kill ants in kitchens and homes is one thing, but wouldn’t you like to know how to prevent them so you don’t have to go through it again? If so, we’re here to help. Check out our below tips on how you can prevent future ant infestations in your home.
Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes In The Sink Overnight
When working on how to kill ants in kitchens, it’s important to also work on not enticing them into your kitchen in the first place. Try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight and instead either washing them, soaking them, or putting them in the dishwasher.
Doing this will also help prevent other pests from being lured into your home by the smell of leftovers like rodents and roaches.
Sanitize Countertops And Tables After Making and Eating Meals
Sanitize your countertops and tables frequently, especially after you prepare or eat a meal. Even the smallest crumb or spill can lead to an ant infestation and will have you back on the internet looking for how to kill ants in kitchens.
Seal And Store Foods Properly
Food that isn’t stored properly in airtight containers can easily become an attractant for ants and other pests. Remember, some species of ant have a very sensitive sense of smell. Try storing pantry foods in glass or plastic containers and keeping perishable foods refrigerated. We also suggest keeping an eye on your fruits and not letting them get overripe in the fruit bowl.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Last but not least, try and stay on top of your home maintenance. Caulk and seal cracks and crevices, patch holes, and make sure doors and windows shut and seal securely. It’s also wise to repair any ripped screens and to use some form of pest control year round to ensure your home is protected and you never have to look into how to kill ants in kitchens again.
What do you think? Would you prefer to use home remedies like baking soda and sugar for how to kill ants in kitchens or would you rather use products like boric acid? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.