14 Ways to Get Rid of Small Black Kitchen Ants Fast & Permanently

While there are certain animals, like your dog or your cat, which you may appreciate in your kitchen, there are others you don’t.

I personally now that I would not enjoy seeing an alligator there. However, that’s probably not very realistic.

There’s another type of animal that’s unfortunately a little too prevalent in the kitchen.

And they’re nasty, too!

ant trail

If you’ve got an infestation in your home, you’ve come to the right place as we’ll teach you a variety of ways to get rid of small, black kitchen ants fast & permanently, without breaking the bank. Chances are you won’t even need to call an exterminator!

Why are they in the kitchen?

Every now and then, you may encounter ants in your homes, rummaging through the garbage or the morsels left on the dining table. Not only are they common, but persistent pests, which make them a significant inconvenience for any house owner.

Finding them on your bed or sofa may be unusual or, quite frankly, a jab at your cleaning habits. But there are certain spots inside the house where they’re more commonly found, such as the kitchen.

From dancing on the kitchen counter to circling around the sink, these pesky pests crowd the place! But why exactly are they in your kitchen?

Foraging for food – One of the many reasons ants are in kitchens is because that’s where the food is! They are attracted to things such as sugar, syrup, fruit juices, and other sweets. But they will also eat meat, grains, cheese, and even pet food if it’s left out.

When the scout finds a food source, it leaves a scent trail for others to follow. This way, the whole colony can benefit from the food discovery. Where kitchen cupboards and cabinets are filled with food scraps, and the kitchen floor is covered in crumbs, you’re likely to come home to a few hundred uninvited guests!

Escaping the cold – As the weather outside gets colder, worker ants run to kitchens searching for food and warmth. The moist environment inside kitchens is hospitable to them. And the specific heat you’re often creating when you’re cooking is luring enough as it is!

Looking for water – Like all the other living beings, they also require water to survive. So naturally, when they find a water source, colonies will seek out food within 200 meters of it. In kitchens, it’s easy for those tiny insects to find food and water as we provide those elements constantly.

They can live up to a month without food but only 5 days without water. That means that they will continuously look for pots or dishes with some drops of water in them or on the windowsills, the tables, counters, etc.

Building a nest – Kitchens provide a warm and nurturing environment, which is ideal for nest-building. Plus, the counters offer plenty of nooks and crannies where they can hide their eggs. So if you’re seeing a lot of them in your kitchen, it’s not because they love the taste of your food. Instead, to them, it’s simply an ideal location for a nest.

Types that will make it into the kitchen

Ants are tiny, but they can create a massive problem in your kitchen. In addition, they may be costly and time-consuming to eliminate from the home, so it’s essential to identify the different types commonly found in kitchens.

Carpenter ants

In terms of sheer numbers, they are the most common type in kitchens. They like to snug near sources of moisture and inside walls because it makes them almost undetectable to homeowners. They make small holes through which they can travel and will often invade food storage areas.

Little black ants

Found throughout the United States, are very small, measuring about 1/16th of an inch long. They shelter in the soil, and their colonies can contain up to 10,000 workers. They scavenge for food, but they also eat other insects. They are especially attracted to sweet and sticky foods.

Pavement ants

Though less common, they can be found in kitchens that share similarities with their namesake—outdoor pavement. They nest near the soil and like to invade sweet foods, so homeowners need to be especially careful when leaving sugary residue on countertops or in crumbs on the floor.

Odorous ants

They are about 1/4th of an inch long and have a black body with a reddish head. They build their nests in the ground or in rotten wood. Their colonies can contain up to 10,000 workers.

They get their name from the pungent smell they produce when disturbed. This smell is like vinegar or rotting coconuts. Odorous ones eat a variety of foods, but they prefer sweets and meat.

Fire ants

Infamous for their painful stings and aggressive behavior, these are your worst nightmare. They are typically found in warm climates and build their nests in open areas such as lawns, parks, and fields. While they are not usually found in kitchen areas, they have been known to invade food storage containers that have been left outside.

Ghost ants

This is a small, translucent creature that can be found infesting kitchens. They are particularly attracted to sugary foods, so they can often be found around the pantry or in open sugar containers or other sweeteners. They do not pose a significant health risk, but they can contaminate food and cause annoyance by their presence.

Pharaoh ants

This species is tiny, only about 1/16th of an inch long, so it’s easy for them to hide in places that people don’t often see. Pharaohs have a life cycle of only four to six weeks. The queen lays eggs continuously throughout her lifetime, which can last up to three years.

They build their nests near other insects that produce heat or carbon dioxide because this makes it considerably easier to look for the way back home after searching for food. Pharaoh colonies have millions of workers and multiple queens, making it incredibly difficult to exterminate them once they infest a building.

1. The absolute best ant killer for the kitchen

Before getting into the action of it all, you need to identify the species present. Once you know which type you are dealing with, you can search for specific clues that will help you determine the nest’s location.

For example, carpenter ants leave a sawdust-like material called ‘frass’ around their nests, while pavement ants leave piles of small pebbles. Fire ants tend to build their mounds very close to the ground, so they are easy to spot.

Once the colony has been located, it is time to treat it with an appropriate pesticide or bait. It is essential to select the perfect pesticide to terminate the problem from the grass-root level. And while there may be many products in the market claiming to get the job done, only a few actually do!

One of the most popular and effective killers is the Terro liquid ant killer. It comes in a liquid or solid form, and you just put it where they are coming in. Terro is the ideal killer for small infestations because they will take the pesticide back to the colony, and it will kill the queen and completely get rid of the entire colony. It’s different from other pesticides because it doesn’t just kill the ones you see. It kills the ones you don’t see too!

Honestly, after moving into a new house and discovering it was full of ants, I tried a variety of solutions before I tried the Terro. Most containers weren’t easy enough for the little creatures to get into, or they simply straight up didn’t work.

Terro was different. In a matter of one or two days, my infestation was gone. If you look at the reviews, you’ll also see that this is the stuff exterminators use claiming they have a “special product”.

If you’re not set on using natural means, this is by far the easiest way to deal with your infestation. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than getting an exterminator out who will put this exact product out.

Either way, check it out and read the reviews if you’re still not sure.

TERRO
250 Reviews
TERRO
Put a couple of pieces of aluminum foil out with some drops of this stuff on it along baseboards, or wherever the trail is. With so many positive reviews, this really is your solution when dealing with an infestation.

When I used it, I simply put a couple of drops of it on five or so pieces of aluminum foil and placed it along the trail. The problem was gone in a matter of days. I know if you press the link above, it will say that it takes two to four weeks before you’ve really dealt with it.

I’ll say this much – that was not the case for me. Problem GONE in a matter of days, and that was even after I had tried a competing product.

This is what it looked like as they got to it, and it is all brought back to their colony!

ants swarming around Terro

It’s some incredibly sticky stuff, so you don’t want to immediately put it on your kitchen or garage floor, or wherever you may be experiencing the issue. Put it on something that ensures you can easily clean it up.

If you don’t want it out, perhaps you have a curious dog, there’s another solution. These bait stations contain the same formula but come in a packaging that helps ensure people or animals that aren’t supposed to get to it don’t.

Bait stations
62,326 Reviews
Bait stations
Great solution when you don't want to use aluminum foil.

On the other hand, pesticides can be sprayed directly onto the ants or put into bait stations which they will then take back to the colony. Baiting is generally more effective because it allows you to target the entire colony rather than just a few individual ones. When using bait stations, always place them near their trail.

Whichever method you choose, it is crucial to be persistent. It may take a few days or even a week to get rid of all the ants, but it is well worth it in the end. Having an ant-free kitchen is definitely worth the effort!

Dealing with an infestation

Home remedies

If you’re looking for a swift way out, here are a few home remedies that may be of help:

2. Use baking soda and water to make a killer combo

One of the most effective solutions that don’t require any harsh chemicals is a mixture of baking soda and water. Just make a paste of the baking soda and spread it around the areas where you’ve seen them, or put it into a spray bottle and apply it that way. The baking soda will kill them, while the water will help to flush them out.

3. Use vinegar as a repellent

Vinegar is an excellent repellent because it’s acidic, so any vinegar-based products are off-limits to ants. You can use balsamic or white vinegar for this purpose. It’s advised that you mix them 50-50 with water and spray the solution on your kitchen counters, windowsills, doorways where you see them frequently gather.

4. Use essential oils to shoo them away

Several essential oils have a powerful smell that will repel ants. Peppermint oil, spearmint oil, and lemongrass essential oil work perfectly if appropriately mixed with water. Add some drops of one of those oils into a spray bottle full of water and apply it where needed.

5. Put bay leaves or cinnamon sticks near entry points to repel them

Bay leaves and cinnamon sticks are another excellent option for repelling ants. You can either put them in a bowl near their entry points or place them around the edges of your kitchen. The earthy scent of the cinnamon stick and bay leaves will keep them from entering.

6. Make Boric acid into an infestation killing machine

When mixed with sugar, boric acid becomes a deadly poison. So if you see a trail, put some of this mixture down on the path. They will carry it to the nest and kill the queen and the rest of the colony.

7. Use diatomaceous earth to unearth colonies

This is a natural substance that is made up of fossilized algae. It’s sharp and jagged, so when ants walk across it, it scratches their exoskeleton, and they die of dehydration. You can sprinkle it around your doors and windowsills or anywhere else you have an infestation problem.

8. Juice a lemon to prevent an infestation

Squeeze some lemon juice into soda pop bottles, screw off the top and leave them for the night near any holes or cracks that are points of entry for these little pests. In the morning, you’ll find that most of them have gone into the bottle but won’t be able to get out.

How to get rid of them naturally

Ants can be pesky when they invade your kitchens. But the good news is that you don’t actually need to call an exterminator to get rid of them; there are several natural steps you can take to keep them away. So here are a few practices you can adopt to keep your house an ant-free territory:

9. Take special care of your kitchen etiquettes

To keep them away, it is essential to never leave food unpackaged or exposed. This will prevent the insects from being able to access the food and contaminating it. Additionally, ensure that all trash cans are tightly sealed and that any spills are cleaned up immediately.

If there are any pet food bowls left out, like for your cat or your dog, make sure to wash them regularly and refill them with food when they are empty. Finally, keep clutter to a minimum as this can provide the ideal hiding spots.

10. Wipe down surfaces with water and baking soda

Don’t use harsh chemicals because they can strip off the protective coating of surfaces, leaving them exposed for the next set of insects to walk across your countertop or floors.

Instead, use a mix of warm water and baking soda on flat surfaces to wipe everything clean before preparing food again. The mixture will help kill any germs off while also making it possible for you to easily wipe away the crumbs without too much of an effort on your part.

11. Keep your kitchen clean

While this is a no-brainer, most of us forget to take it into account. Ants are attracted to food, so keeping the kitchen clean will help keep them out. Cleaning up spills and wiping down countertops and cabinets regularly will help deter them from entering the home.

12. Check for cracks in the floor and walls

If there are any gaps more significant than half an inch wide, they might make their way into your house through them. First, fill up these gaps with caulk or other filler while the weather is cold. Then, when spring comes around again, these holes will no longer offer access to your home!

13. Install screens on your windows and doors

Using harsh chemicals to get rid of ants may provide a quick solution, but when you’re looking for a lifestyle change, it’s encouraged to keep them out altogether! Installing screens is ideal; after all, prevention is better than cure.

In addition to ants, screens also help keep other pests like bees and wasps out of your home. If you already have screens installed, make sure they are in good condition and that the seams are tight so they can’t get through.

14. Clear any standing water

During the summer months, they may even enter your home searching for water, making it essential to make sure there’s no standing water around your home to give them a reason to visit. Replace any standing water with rocks, which discourages colonies from forming because the rocks don’t provide access to food or shelter for insects.

With the help of all these tips, you should hopefully be able to get rid of an ant infestation in your kitchen very fast, and keep it so permanently. Needless to say, taking preventive measures is the best way to go about it!

Lonely ant

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