Having an army of tiny black ants in the kitchen is more than just annoying. They can be quite a headache when left alone. So how can you get rid of these tiny ants in the kitchen?
If you notice an army of small black ants marching through your kitchen, you need to remain calm. Also referred to as odorous house ants or nuisance ants, these black ants do not cause severe structural damage.
Their usual concern is only about food. Note, though, that seeing them in your kitchen is bad news. The reason is that it indicates you already have an infestation on your hands.
Read on to learn more about tiny ants in the kitchen and the different ways to get rid of them.
Why Are There Tiny Ants in the Kitchen?
Food and Water in the Kitchen
Usually, the kitchen is where you can find the black nuisance ants. The reason is that food and water attract these ants – both of which are abundantly present in the kitchen. They constantly forage for nourishment to keep their colony thriving.
Even if you think you have been keeping your kitchen clean, your family will accidentally drop crumbs and spill drinks. This will eventually attract the black ants.
It might not even be your family’s food that attracted the ants into your kitchen. Pet food bowls are among the most common reason why ants (and other unwelcome pests) have invaded your kitchen.
It is best to throw away uneaten pet food after each mealtime with that in mind. Wash the pet dish afterward, too. Also, clean the area where your pets eat because, as you know, they are quite messy eaters. They can create a lot of crumbs after every meal.
Ants are also attracted to water, and there are plenty of sources of it in your kitchen. They may gather near leaky pipes under the sink. You may also see them in the stagnant water in your dishwasher, which may also have food bits. Moreover, ants may appear in other sources of standing water.
Kitchen Scraps and Garbage
Kitchen scraps and garbage might not seem appetizing to humans. However, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for ants and other household pests. You should always put a lid on your garbage bins. Also, take out the garbage every night so that the ants won’t have a regular food source.
Unopened Food Packages
Check your kitchen cabinets and pantry regularly for any opened food packages that you might have forgotten about. If you have unopened cereal boxes, consider putting them inside airtight plastic containers, especially those your kids eat.
Undeniably, sugar attracts ants. That said, keep sugary cereals in sealed containers so ants will not have any reason to invade your pantry.
Important Things to Know About the Tiny Ants in the Kitchen
Aside from the polar regions, there will always be ants in all human residences. Although you can find them all over your house, they usually concentrate in the kitchen. Without you even noticing, these tiny black ants have probably already set up residence in your home.
Despite being the most common household ant species, likely, you don’t know anything about them. The only thing you may know about the black ants is that they can be a considerable nuisance. As Sun Tzu said (loosely), you need to know your enemy.
Here are some facts about the lowly nuisance ants that you should be aware of:
1. Ants Won’t Damage Your House
Unlike their termite cousins, the tiny black ants typically do not cause any damage to your property. They bury deep in the ground around your house. These ants may be quite a consistent source of annoyance and grief.
However, they do not pose much of a threat to your and your family’s health. They will mostly not have any effect on your house’s structural integrity.
2. You Can Trace Where They Come from
Just because you found the ants in your kitchen does not mean they live there. Ants usually come from somewhere far from where you saw them. You can follow them to find out whatever it is that attracts them into your kitchen. If you go the other way, you may also find their nest.
3. Ants Are Seasonal
Ants will not always be there. They are seasonal creatures, and their incidences typically have their ebbs and flows. You will usually find a significant spike in their population during the spring and summer. The increase in temperature will increase the activity of the ants. This will then cause them to swarm inside your home.
4. Ants Can Talk to Each Other
Ants are social creatures. Through millions of years of evolution, they have developed a way to communicate with each other. In most cases, they do this through touch and by sharing food. This is how they can learn to avoid insect repellents and find another way to sneak into houses.
For instance, lining their usual paths with chalk will only work for a while. The reason is that they will eventually learn that they can go around the markings. You can also spray them with insecticide.
However, you will only be killing the ones that you can see. Most of the ants will scatter and regroup. If you want to eradicate them permanently or make them regroup longer, you have to treat the source.
5. Identification Is Key
There is no one way to treat all kinds of ant infestations. You will need to figure out what kind of ants you are dealing with. This will let you fix the problem more efficiently. If you have already contacted a reputable pest control company, avoid killing all the ants before they arrive. The pest control tech will need to identify what ant species they will be dealing with.
6. Ants Are Difficult to Control
Controlling domestic ant populations is difficult enough for trained professionals using proper equipment. This means doing it yourself will be quite a challenge. You can somewhat keep them at bay by keeping all your food in sealed containers.
Also, make sure to clean up as many food scraps off the floor as you can. However, this will not eliminate the huge colonies of ants lurking in the ground and surrounding your house.
Again, where do tiny ants in the kitchen come from? Ants go inside your home to search for food and habitat. Usually, ants are attracted to human and pet food crumbs and water.
How to Get Rid of the Tiny Ants in the Kitchen Without Killing Them
Although tiny black ants are considered pests, they play important roles in keeping the balance of the ecosystem. If you want to drive them out of your house without killing them, you can try the following tips:
Using chalk is one of the oldest home remedies for black ants. Regular chalk contains calcium carbonate, a chemical compound that ants hate. You can write a thick line or liberally sprinkle crushed chalk on the path they usually take. You can also apply the chalk along the perimeter of your house to deter ants from entering.
2. Lemons and Oranges
Spray lemon or orange juice or place their rinds on the areas the ants use to get into your house. Also, use water infused with citrus juice to clean the floors of your house. It will smell nice for you, but it will drive ants and other pests away.
You can also place citrus peels wrapped in thin cheesecloth in the corners of your kitchen counter. This is where most ants go to get to food scraps in your kitchen. Just remember to replace them every couple of days to keep the ants away.
Ants like sugary sweets, but they hate pepper or spicy foods so that you can use this against them. Sprinkle finely ground black pepper around the perimeter of your house to drive away black ants and other insect pests.
Aside from keeping ants out of your home, the black pepper can help your lawn and other garden plants grow. The reason is that it prevents bacteria from growing in the soil.
You can also mix some cayenne peppers in some water in a spray bottle. Spritz some of this spicy solution in the entrance areas of the ants. You will need to trace where this is by following the ant trail.
Old wives’ tales say you should sprinkle salt on your porch to keep vampires away. However, if you do not have a vampire problem, you can use salt to keep ants out of your home.
Boil two cups of water in a pot, then pour in a cup of regular table salt. Stir until all the salt dissolves. Allow the salt solution to cool and then transfer it to a spray bottle. Spray this solution on the places you think the ants use to get into your house. Be careful not to spray saltwater on your plants as it could kill them.
5. White Vinegar
White vinegar is also an effective deterrent against black ants. Just mix equal water and white vinegar parts in a spray bottle, and you are good to go. Spray this solution in the areas where the ants tend to congregate.
This will keep them away for at least a couple of days. The acid will only kill the ants it gets in direct contact with, and it might not even work on the larger ones at all. However, the vinegar smell will keep the ants from coming back.
Be careful not to hit your house or garden plants with this solution, though, as it is a potent herbicide.
6. Cinnamon and Clove
Other things that ants cannot stand the smell of are cinnamon and clove. You can either sprinkle some ground cinnamon or clove along with the entrances of the ants. You may also mix them with some water in a spray bottle. Spritz the areas where ants get inside the house.
In addition to keeping ants at bay, cinnamon and clove also make your entire kitchen smell nice. It will feel like it is Christmas all year round.
Ants cannot also stand the smell of peppermint, so it is worth having a pot or two in your kitchen. Peppermint has a strong fragrance that is quite relaxing for people. However, it is much too strong for ants, so they will typically stay away from areas with this plant.
This also means you will always have peppermint leaves around if you need to brew a cup of relaxing tea.
Aside from the kitchen, you can also plant a couple of sprigs of peppermint around your house. This will prevent ant colonies from thriving.
For more about tiny black bugs in the kitchen, see the article here: Little Black Bugs in House – What Are They? (With Pictures)
Conclusion – Tiny Ants in the Kitchen
There is no reason to panic once you see a line of tiny ants in the kitchen around the sink. These black ants, also known as “odorous house ants” or “nuisance ants,” don’t cause severe structural damage.
They do not also carry any serious diseases. However, they can be quite annoying, and their stings can itch quite a lot. The bad news is if you can already see lines of them in your kitchen, there is already an infestation.
If you want to get rid of them for good, you must contact a professional pest control service. There are also many DIY remedies that you can use to keep them at bay.