Spotting a single ant in your home should keep you alert since ants move in colonies. Although they build nests outside the home, house ants sneak into kitchens to supply food and water to their colonies. Chances are you’ve already removed a few but keep seeing more in corners of your kitchen. However, killing an ant won’t solve the problem.
While ants aren’t the worst kind of house pests, some species bite and cause damage to the home. Even when harmless, an ant infestation takes away the comfort from your home. Maybe you spilled some juice on the floor or left some unwashed dishes on the counter. There are many reasons house ants invade kitchens. Now that spring is here, take further precautions since it’s the season where insects establish their nests in home gardens.
Here are seven tips on how to get rid of ants in the kitchen:
1. Maintain a Clean Space
Keeping a clean space is one of the best tips on how to get rid of ants in the kitchen. The first thing to do when you find ants in the kitchen is to clean your entire space. Most times, ants fester over food spills. They leave their nests and move to your kitchen in search of food and water. Wipe the spill with a paper towel and eliminate the ants on the scene immediately. This step is only temporary since the worker ants always leave trails for others in the nest to follow.
Clean the counters, cabinets, and other storage units. Wash all dirty dishes immediately after use, even those containing pet food. Keep all lids tightly sealed and wipe the counter after every meal.
2. Seek Pest Control Help
Out of the 700 ant species around, only 25 invade homes, especially kitchens. While most of these methods effectively rid kitchens of ants, some ant species require specific treatments. Older houses commonly have insect colonies all over. If you can’t find the ant nest, get pest control to provide treatment and maintain an ant-free home.
3. Destroy the Trail
As mentioned above, worker ants leave a pheromone-scented trail that alerts other ants in the nest about their newly found source of food. Even after cleaning, these ants will remain in your kitchen once they enter your home. Killing a few of them won’t solve this problem either.
After cutting off their food supply, destroy the trail so the other ants in the colony won’t gain access to your kitchen. Combine a mixture of glass cleaner and dish soap in a bottle and spray on areas where ants congregate. Other options to wipe out the trail include chalk, lavender, and pepper.
4. Eliminate the Worker Ants
You can already tell that the worker ants do most of the scouting and gathering in your kitchen. Their presence indicates that the ant colony exists somewhere outside your home. After destroying the trail, it’s time to repel the worker ants. Spray a solution of vinegar and water to cracks and holes in the walls.
Avoid insecticides if you can because of their heavy fumes. Instead, look out for substances that aren’t harmful to pets and humans. With chemicals like boric acid, take precautions and keep them out away from children and small animals.
5. Destroy the Nest
Seek out ant colonies in your garden and backyard and destroy them. Repellents will only keep the ants away until the effects wear off. If you have colonies around your home, the most efficient way to get rid of ants is by destroying the nest. `The queen stays in the nest and lays all the eggs, which hatch into worker and scouting ants.
Before repelling the ants, set a bait to lead you to the colony. Ant baits are edible substances mixed with chemicals that are toxic to ants. Place the bait in a central location to prevent property damage. After the ants transport the food, apply the repellant and look out for their trail.
The scouts will take this bait to infect the entire colony. However, bait takes up to two weeks to take effect. You still risk further infestation. Instead of waiting, destroy the nest with boiling water when you locate it.
6. Seal All Entry Points
Creating the bait should give you an idea of the entry points to your kitchen. Seal all the openings and cracks in your home. Ants hide in nooks and build colonies within tiny spaces in the walls.
Windows and doors also serve as entry points for ant nests outside the house. Seal all holes and spaces with caulk. Take out the trash often and keep the storage away from your kitchen.
7. Inspect Your Indoor Plants
With spring upon us, gardening could serve as a trigger for an ant invasion in your kitchen. Inspect your house plants for signs of ants. If you find ants on the soil, throw them out since adding repellents could damage the soil and kill the plant.
Observe old furniture for termites and ant colonies. If you find ants in your old tables and chairs, it’s probably time to let them go.