The kitchen is a common site for an ant infestation. Small ants in the kitchen are attracted to sweet foods that are often stored in kitchens. These foods contain sugars found in honey, syrup, and fruit juice. Ants are also known to eat proteins and meat, including pet food. An infestation is easy to spot because ants carry food back to their nest by a line of hundreds or even thousands of ants. By following these lines it is possible to locate either an indoor ant nest or the pathway the ants use to enter the house. Indoor ant nests are commonly found in potted houseplants. Common small ants found in kitchens include pharaoh ants, argentine ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, and thief ants. The classification of ants is based on the number of nodes in their bodies, shell color, and general body shape.
If left untreated, ants can continue to invade the kitchen. The food and moisture found in kitchens can support new ant colonies. As the ants continue to spread through the kitchen they may create nests in new places, making them harder to destroy. A single ant bite isn’t dangerous, but a colony of ants may inflict many bites at once.
The first step to controlling small ants in the kitchen is to remove their food source. Clean up spills, put away food, and place animal dishes in a moat of water. Following the train of ants can help you find the ant nest and reveal cracks the ants use to enter the home. Next, destroy the ant trail by vacuuming or washing them away with soap and water. This removes the scent the ants use to follow the trail. Cracks that are used by small ants to gain access to the kitchen should be caulked up. If the ants are nested in an indoor plant, take it outside and immerse it in insecticidal soap for 20 minutes. The most effective way to treat other nests is with bait. Ant bait is lightly poisoned so that the worker ants survive long enough to carry the bait to the queen. This ensures that the whole colony is destroyed, while most pesticide sprays (excluding Termidor and Phantom) typically kill only the ants on the surface.