What To Do About Ants in the Kitchen

Are you seeing ants in your kitchen? If you are, that isn't surprising as ants are the number one nuisance pest problem we deal with here in Tennessee! When they come into our yards and explore the outside of our homes, it usually isn’t long until they find a way inside. Ants are tiny, so they don’t need large entry points in order to gain access to our homes. They can come in through a crack in a window or door frame. They can squeeze through a gap around pipes or conduit entering into our home. They can slip under the seal around air conditioning units. High and low, our homes have many holes, cracks, and gaps that, though small, are large enough to for these tiny pests to utilize as entry points into our homes. And once they get inside, most ant species will be drawn to the kitchen area.

Our kitchens provide the perfect environment for ants to thrive. Crumbs left under a toaster or a dollop of ketchup left on a plate in the sink is more than enough food for these tiny pests. In fact, ants will feed on just about anything; they will feed on sugar left near the sugar bowl, salsa in the bottom of a recyclable glass bottle, chip crumbs in a bowl left on the kitchen island, and just about everything in between. Therefore, our kitchens are full of food options for ants.
 
Kitchens also give ants something else they need: water. Though we often associate ants with being drawn to our kitchen areas for the food, they actually need water sources just as much as food sources. Water drops around the dish strainer, puddles in the sink, condensation on a refrigerator, and moisture on pipes can all provide these ants with the water they need to survive. And the more moisture you have in your kitchen, the happier the ants will be!
 
It is important to understand why ants came into your kitchen because managing attractants can help you see fewer of those ants. If you keep your counters and floors free of crumbs and spills, you're less likely to find ants crawling everywhere. If you remove your trash routinely and keep your trash can clean, you are less likely to find thousands of ants around on it. If you put your dishes in soapy water instead of in a stack next to the sink, they will be less inviting to these pests. Keeping your home clean is important if you want fewer encounters with ants in your home. However, sanitation alone won’t solve your ant problem.

ants in the kitchen of an east tennessee home
 

Ant Control in the Kitchens  

When ants appear in your kitchen, it’s important to understand exactly what is happening. Those ants you're seeing are only a small portion of the number of ants in the colony (or colonies) that they originated from. If your seeing hundreds of tiny ants crawling around in your home, there are probably thousands more in their colony. And how you deal with the ants you are seeing in your kitchen can have a big impact on the rest of the colony.
 
Some species of ant, such as pharaoh ants, are prone to budding which is a process by which a single ant colony splits into multiple colonies. While this process can happen naturally, it often occurs in response to a threat. If you attempt to eliminate the ants in your kitchen with sprays or other DIY methods, you could make your problem much worse if you don't know what ant species you're dealing with.
 
However, even if you are dealing with an ant species that doesn't bud, attempting to eliminate them with over-the-counter ant sprays can still cause problems, not to mention that most DIY ant control products only address the symptoms of an ant infestation; they won't eliminate the source of the problem.
 
Instead of immediately eliminating any ants you find, look to see where those ants might be coming in. Inspect the interior of your home, especially the kitchen and basement, as well as the exterior of your home for possible entry points. If you see any holes, cracks, or gaps, seal them. In addition, look closely around pipes and conduit that pass through your foundation walls for any gaps as these are common entry points. Also, look closely in basement door frames for any gaps that may have formed and make sure door sweeps are installed on all exterior doors.
 
Ants are drawn to moisture. When you reduce the moisture levels around your foundation perimeter, you'll reduce ant populations. To accomplish this, repair leaky hoses, spigots, and downspouts, clean out obstructed gutters, and trim back tree branches and overgrown foliage to allow the sun to dry out the shaded areas around the exterior of your home.
 
Once things are sealed up as much as possible, inspect the potted plants inside your home. If you find any that have ants crawling around in them, move those plants outside to gain more control over the infestation.

Search for any hidden food sources that may have accumulated underneath or behind couches and chairs in your living room.
 
Check your cabinets, food storage rooms, and pantry and make sure that all food sources, especially sweet foods, are in sealed containers and that those containers are clean. Also, inspect your shelves for any crumbs or food particles and clean them up.

Professional Help

The most effective and convenient way to deal with an ant infestation is to reach out to an educated and experienced pest control professional like All-American Pest Control! At All-American, our service professionals can use Integrated Pest Management and EPA-approved products to arrest the ant infestation in your home. We can also help prevent ants and other household pests from invading all year long with our Perimeter Plus Pest Control!
 
If you're seeing pharaoh ants, odorous house ants, little black ants, acrobat ants, or some other home-invading pest ant inside your home, All-American Pest Control can help get rid of them!

 

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