How to Deal with Tiny Ants on the Kitchen Counter
April 14, 2022
Coming face to face with an ant in the kitchen is a gross enough experience to make anyone lose their appetite. But since ant queens send their workers out to collect food for the colony, finding one on your kitchen counter means there’s an entire nest somewhere nearby.
That being said, if one individual ant secures a single crumb, you could be in for some much bigger issues down the line.
It’s important to identify which ant species has taken up residence in your kitchen so you can take the right steps towards driving them out. It’s also important to understand how ants can physically locate certain places so you can get to the root of the problem and get rid of tiny ants in the kitchen once and for all.
Read on to learn all about how to deal with tiny ants on your kitchen counter.
Why Are There Ants on My Kitchen Counter?
You’re more likely to find an ant in the kitchen than in other parts of your home because it’s an ideal location for finding food. The kitchen is also a common entry point for many types of ants.
Cabinets or cupboards make for a cool, dark space ideal for ant occupation, especially if they’re made of wood. Wood-loving carpenter ants particularly enjoy lurking around in kitchen cabinets, and you can learn more about identifying specific ant species by taking a look at this guide.
Most types of ants leave behind a trail of pheromones — a natural chemical that attracts organisms of the same species — to mark their path to food sources. As a result, ant trails leading from their nest to your kitchen counter are basically an advertisement to come check out your free, unlimited buffet.
Squishing an ant in the kitchen can stimulate pheromone release as well, sending yet another invite to their colony. So while crushing them is an instant, convenient way to get rid of tiny ants, it could actually do more harm than good in the long run.
How to Handle Tiny Ants in Your Home
Seeking help from a pest management service is ultimately the most productive way to take care of any ant problem. Not only do experts in pest control have the right tools and resources to safely deal with all types of ants, but we’ll get right to the source and take preventative measures to resolve your ant infestation.
However, if your ant problem hasn’t reached the point of total infestation and you’re simply looking to get rid of tiny ants on the kitchen counter, using an effective home remedy can also result in positive outcomes and prevent a full-blown takeover down the line.
Continue reading to learn about the best DIY ways to deal with ants on your kitchen counter!
If you’re ready to say goodbye to ants on the kitchen counter and want easy, non-toxic means of pest control, silicon dioxide or diatomaceous earth might be the exact home remedy you’ve been looking for. If you plan to use it in your kitchen, opt for food-grade diatomaceous earth no matter what countertop material you have.
Diatomaceous earth is a type of powder made from fossilized algae and has proven to be an effective insecticide for certain ant species. It works by sticking to insects’ waxy exoskeletons and absorbing their natural oils, which causes them to dry out and eventually die.
This home remedy essentially works as an ant trap by making certain types of ants think it’s a food source. Once an ant in the kitchen notices the diatomaceous earth, it’ll take some back to the colony where it works its magic and dries out however many ants it comes into contact with.
To get rid of tiny ants on the kitchen counter using diatomaceous earth, simply sprinkle some powder wherever you’ve noticed ant trails, in addition to their suspected entry point. Some common entry points for all types of ants include the space below doors, windows, or cracks in your walls or ceilings.
Targeting both ant trails and their entry point will ensure direct contact with the ants and will yield better results.
Diatomaceous earth can be found online or at most home improvement and garden stores. However, it’s mostly used for small black ants, so consulting a pest management service is a better route if your ant problem involves more invasive species.
Much like diatomaceous earth, boric acid is another non-toxic home remedy that might help if you find an ant on the kitchen counter rather than if you’re suffering from a full-blown infestation.
Boric acid is a fairly common form of pest control that kills insects upon ingestion. Mixing boric acid with another substance that attracts ants, like sugar or honey, will lure them in and then shock their central nervous system.
You should know that a boric acid mixture only attracts ants when quality control is in place, which can be challenging to achieve. This is because some ant species aren’t affected by lower levels of boric acid, while others can detect its presence if there’s too much and avoid it at all costs.
Plus, different types of ants are attracted to different types of food, so before making your own version of this home remedy, you should identify which ant species has taken over and use whatever appeals to them specifically.
Identify Food Sources
Just because you don’t leave food out in the open doesn’t mean you can’t develop an ant problem. In many cases, your kitchen counter simply serves as a crossroad allowing ants to locate food sources in your cupboards or pantry after using their entry point to access your home.
Being clever about how you store food sources is more important than you might think for pest control, and even the smallest of errors can make it impossible to get rid of tiny ants in your kitchen. Most ant species have a sweet tooth and are attracted to starchy foods, so things like honey or cornmeal should always be kept in airtight containers or in sealed plastic bags. Carpenter ants, however, also feed on meats, pet food, or anything protein-rich they can find.
You can be extra careful with certain foods if you know which types of ants have taken over your kitchen counter, so once again, if you have an ant problem, be sure to educate yourself on the different ant species!
If food sources truly are the cause of your ant problem and you eliminate their access, you’ll stop noticing ant trails on the kitchen counter over time.
But if you find an ant in the kitchen even after cutting off those food sources, ask yourself where else crumbs might be accumulating. The spaces underneath standing appliances (such as beneath your toaster oven, microwave, etc.) often serve as crumb-magnets, so be sure to clean those areas meticulously if your kitchen counter still seems to remain an ant hotspot.
Another one of the easiest ways to get rid of tiny ants is by preventing their detection of pheromones with other scents. Liquid dish soap is a handy, low-effort solution to an ant in the kitchen that you most likely already have on deck.
If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you’re finished. This will guarantee that you’ve eliminated any pheromone residue which may have been lingering.
Even though dish soap isn’t the strongest measure you can take to get rid of tiny ants, using it as a home remedy for black ants is truly that simple!
Anthills are a bit like an iceberg: what we see on the surface is nothing compared to the size of what’s beneath it. So while boiling water won’t kill off an entire ant colony, destroying the majority of the anthills near your home could do enough damage control to divert their path to your kitchen counter.
In other words, if all else fails, pouring boiling water into any ant holes within close proximity of your home will immediately kill almost everything inside.
If you’ve tried every home remedy in the book and are still dealing with ants on the kitchen counter, resorting to an ant trap or a commercial repellent are alternative, effective options that also kill the ants. Despite involving harsh chemicals, when used safely and correctly, these products can make a huge difference in the number of ants you find on the kitchen counter.
A bait trap attracts ants using chemicals, like borax. The ants then take the chemical back to feed their nest. Meanwhile, spray bottle repellents contain potent, long-lasting chemicals which can remain on surfaces for a while.
These chemicals should also not be ingested, so it’s advised you put them on the entry point rather than directly on the kitchen counter. After all, when ants are polluting the area in which you store and prepare food with bacteria and other harmful substances, why should the products you use to get rid of them do the same?
Regardless, bait traps are generally preferred over repellent because it makes less of a mess and is safer to use. The contents within an ant trap won’t contaminate the surfaces of your kitchen the way a spray bottle could, so bait is a better solution if you struggle with ant trails on the kitchen counter specifically.
Professional Ant Control in South Florida
Taking preventative measures is essential if you’re hoping to resolve an ant problem. And although the majority of these treatments can get rid of tiny ants temporarily, a home remedy alone rarely gets to the root of the issue and requires continual maintenance on your part.
If you want an ant-free kitchen for the long haul but don’t want to do the work, Native Pest Management is here to help! Our home pest control process involves inspecting, treating, and following up with your individual circumstances so you can receive the effective, high-quality service you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment and request a free quote below!