When it comes to pests and critters, the last thing any of us wants is to find unwanted guests taking up residence in the kitchen. While there are certainly more harmful pests, there’s something particularly icky about ants — especially when they’re in close proximity to where you store, prepare, and eat your food. They can get into your
food containers and pantry, and one ant soon turns into a whole colony. If you find yourself waging war against these tiny but mighty creatures, try some of these creative yet simple (and effective!) ways to keep them away.
1. Draw a Chalk Line
If you have a door in your kitchen that leads
directly to the outside of your home, this could be where the ants are coming from. To stop them dead (but not literally) in their tracks, draw a chalk line on the ground on the exterior side of the door. Ants dislike calcium carbonate, so it’s an excellent repellent, and they won’t go over the line and into your kitchen.
2. Sprinkle Flour or Cinnamon
Similarly to chalk, ants are repelled by flour
and cinnamon, and these are great options if you don’t want to use any chemicals in and around your kitchen. While this can be a little on the messy side, sprinkling some flour or cinnamon in and around your pantry, or even along your windowsills, can help deter ants from eating the rest of your pantry goods.
3. Use Citrus
Repel ants, and make your home smell like a
tropical paradise! By harnessing the power of citrus fruits like lemons, you can keep ants at bay. Lemon juice is particularly useful around windows and doors, and a quick squeeze on the thresholds and window sills can prevent them from coming inside. You can also put a couple of lemon peels outside your kitchen door to prevent them from coming in.
4. Herbs as a Defense
Ants love sugar, and from the biggest container to the smallest spill, they can smell it from miles away. This means your pantry and kitchen cupboards can become a hotbed for a new ant colony, even if you leave the smallest trace of a sugary substance. Herbs like sage and bay leaves can help deter ants from getting into your sugary treats, and you can put the herbs
directly in your sugar container or next to your honey to keep ants away.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
If you’re looking for a natural insecticide that doesn’t contain chemicals, look no further than diatomaceous earth (DE). DE kills insects like ants, bed bugs, and cockroaches by entering their outer skeletons and dehydrating their bodies — it’s not pleasant, but it works! To avoid inhaling any yourself, just use a small amount, and sprinkle it anywhere you suspect ants may be getting into your kitchen. It can be toxic, so follow the directions on the label.
6. Stamp Out Their Trail
When ants enter your home, they leave a
scented trail behind them for other ants to
follow. That’s why you usually see ants in
groups and rarely a lone wolf. If you’ve noticed an ant coming into your kitchen, clean the area with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. This won’t kill the ants that are already in your house, but it will get rid of their smell so more ants can’t follow.
7. Seal the Cracks
If you have ants in your kitchen, it’s pretty
likely that they’re not just coming through open doors or windows but through cracks and holes around them. Caulk does wonders for keeping critters out of your home, so try to find and fill as many holes in these areas as you can. You can do this easily by yourself, and keep the caulk at hand for any future cracks or holes that appear.
8. Kick Up Your Cleaning Routine
If you have a pretty consistent ant problem, it’s possible that you’re just not cleaning your kitchen as often or as carefully as you should. Make sure you’re keeping your counters and floors free of crumbs, and wipe up sticky messes as soon as they happen. Keep cupboards, drawers, and even your fridge as clean as possible. If there’s a sticky or sweet mess anywhere in your kitchen, ants are bound to find it.