How To Get Rid Of Ants On Kitchen Counters

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"Shriek!" You see one tiny ant scurrying across your kitchen counter. Knowing ants don't travel solo, you know a bigger problem lies ahead. Soon you know you will have multiple ants on your kitchen counter and other places in your kitchen. So how do you get rid of these nettlesome creatures on your countertops? Our team has researched this topic and has some solutions for you.

It is best to use natural ingredients on your countertops when trying to get rid of ants. You don't want chemicals to come in contact with any food or remain on the surface where food prep occurs. Here are some homemade natural options to get rid of ants on countertops:

  • Vinegar and water solution
  • Lemon juice and water solution
  • Tea tree oil solution
  • Peppermint oil solution
  • Baking soda Solution

Other possible options would be using ant bait or a commercial ant spray. 

Permanently getting rid of ants can be a chore. Finding where they are entering your house and destroying the colony is easier said than done. Knowing the type of ant in your kitchen can be helpful, as all ants don't respond to the same disposal methods. Read on to learn more about effective ant elimination.

An up close photo of big pharaoh ants carrying sugar to the queen, How To Get Rid Of Ants On Kitchen Counters

What Causes Ants in the Kitchen?

Before we get rid of the ants, it's important to know why they're in your kitchen in the first place. Ants come indoors in search of food or for nesting habitats. The tiniest crumb can lure these creatures into your kitchen.

When they find a sweet treat in your home, the ant will place a tiny drop of pheromone on the ground. A trail of pheromones will be left from the food source back to the nest. Once that occurs, hundreds of ants will follow the trail.

Sealing any cracks or holes in your home will prevent them from coming inside. Also, try to sweep often, keep food in airtight containers, clean your garbage cans, and do your best to make sure no food is left around to entice those invasive creatures.

What is the Best Homemade Natural Ant Killer?

If you do find your kitchen and countertops have become a feeding ground for ants, it is best to use a natural repellent or spray. Nobody wants ant killer in their food!

Ant sprays used on your kitchen counters should be safe enough to use where food is prepared and stored, work quickly to stop the infestation from spreading, and be safe for human and animal contact. These homemade killers are both safe and effective for use on your countertops and will knock out those pesky critters.

Huge black ants crawling on the kitchen floor

Vinegar and Water Solution

If you see ants roaming around on your counters, wipe them away with a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water or straight vinegar. White vinegar will both kill and repel ants.

Using this solution to clean your countertops, floors, and other hard surfaces in our kitchen may repel ants from entering your home. Ants will long smell the vinegar after it dries, but it will be barely noticeable to the human nose.

Lemon Juice and Water Solution

Aside from putting it in your water, lemon juice is a great way to prevent ants from crawling around on your kitchen counters. Simply mix equal parts of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle.

It is important to use natural lemon juice, not lemon juice concentrate. Thoroughly spray your kitchen counters with this mixture and wipe away with a damp cloth.

A slice of lemon juice on a white background

Do Ants Hate Lemons?

The smell of the lemon will hide the scent trails ants use getting to and from the food in your kitchen. Additionally, ants won't want to take up residence in a location scented with lemons. Anything sour or bitter will keep the ants away. Sugar is what they're looking for the most.

Tea Tree Oil Solution

The powerful scent of tea tree oil will not only mask the ant's scent trail and slow down any infestations but will also kill the ants directly. Add 10 drops of this essential oil to a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water. Spray the infested areas, including entry points such as windowsills, baseboards, etc., and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth.

To further prevent infestations, soak some cotton balls in tea tree oil, dry them out, and place them in areas where you suspect the ants are entering your kitchen.

Click here to find the tea tree oil on Amazon.

Peppermint Oil Solution

This natural insect repellent can be used alone or in conjunction with other oils to ward of those troublesome ants. The fresh, minty smell of peppermint will throw the ants off their trail.

This oil alone will not kill the ants, only repel them. You may want to add peppermint oil to oil more toxic to ants to kill them. Make sure you are using 100% natural peppermint oil, not peppermint extract from the grocery store.

Mix 10-20 drops of peppermint oil with 2 cups of water. Using this solution, spray your countertops and let them dry. You could also combine 10-20 drops of peppermint oil, 15-20 drops of tea tree oil, and 4 cups of water to make a lethal yet lovely scented spray.

Check out Amazon to find this peppermint oil.

Baking Soda

The pantry staple is a cheap and easy way to kill the ants loitering in your kitchen. There are two methods in which baking soda can be used for effective ant removal.

Method 1 - Cleansing Paste

The first is to make a cleaning solution comprised of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1-tablespoon of water. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients to make a thick paste. Spread the paste on the surface where you've seen the ants lurking about. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Method 2 - Lethal Treat

Baking soda is a compound that creates a chemical reaction when combined with an acid. When an ant ingests baking soda, the acid in its stomach will create a reaction with the baking soda, causing them to die. So how do you get the ant to eat the baking soda?

Mix equal parts baking soda and confectioner's sugar, not granulated sugar. The baking soda and confectioners sugar are the same texture, so the ant can't distinguish a difference. Place the baking soda and sugar mixture in a shallow bowl or sprinkle it directly on your countertop.

The sweet sugar will attract the ants, and unknowingly, the ants will eat both the sugar and baking soda and transfer it back to their nest. When the baking soda hits their stomachs the ants will die, much like when a slug is covered in salt.

Other Ant Killer Alternatives

While natural ant repellents and killers are best used in your kitchen, other methods can be used to eliminate these pests. Here are some available options.

Ant Baits

Ant baits aren't actually traps for ants, as you might think. The ants take this bait back to their colonies, and the bait is transferred to the colony, killing the entire colony. The ant baits are child-resistant and safe for household use.

This ant bait is available on Amazon.

Ant Spray

As a very last resort, you may find yourself turning to a commercial type of ant spray. The natural methods above should rid you of your problem, but if not, it is best to find a spray made of natural ingredients. You don't want chemicals coming in contact with your food.

Look for this natural ant spray on Amazon.

What is the Best Over-the-Counter Ant Killer?

According to the New York Times Wirecutter, the best over-the-counter ant killer is Terro T300 Liquid Ant Baits. These effective, easy-to-use ant baits use Borax as their active ingredient. Complete ant control may take up to two weeks, depending on the size of the colony.

Find this popular ant bait on Amazon.

Kitchen Ant Types

Not all ants respond to the same removal methods, so it is important to identify the type of ant you have in our kitchen. Here are the three most common of these pests:

The Black Ant

This ant often lives in moist areas. Black ants are about 1/8 of an inch, and you may find them swarming in June or July, as this is their mating season.

An up close photo of a black ant on a white background

Pharaoh Ants

These ants are more of a yellow color and are about 1/8-inch long. This type of ant is the hardest to eliminate because the colony will split to increase their chance of survival when they are attacked with a natural remedy or pesticide.

An up close photo of a colony of pharaoh ants

Pavement Ants

You will often find these black or brown ants walking around on sidewalks outside. However, also known as sugar ants, the sneaky buggers will find their way into your kitchen searching for that oh-so-sweet food they are craving.

Huge black pavement ants photographed on the pavement

Summary

Next time you see that line of ants marching across your kitchen counter, try one of the above solutions to eradicate your problem. Nobody wants these unwanted guests barging into their kitchen!  Find comfort knowing your ant eliminator is both safe and effective.  If the problem persists, you may want to consult a professional for further assistance.

The following links provide more tips on pest control:

How To Get Rid Of Maggots On The Kitchen Floor

Do Airtight Containers Keep Bugs Out?

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