What are Those Tiny Ants Marching Through Your Kitchen?

Imagine waking up, stumbling to your kitchen and switching the light on so you can brew that first cup of morning coffee, only to discover a disturbing scurrying all across your kitchen counter. Ants — almost every homeowner has had to deal with these tiny, numerous pests at some point. You yourself may have set out commercial ant traps or sprayed these relentless invaders. But have you ever stopped to wonder which species of tiny ant you're combatting, why they show up in your kitchen, and — most importantly — how to permanently rid your home of them?

tiny ants in kitchen

The tiny ants often discovered foraging in your kitchen are often lumped together under the name "sugar ant." And while it's true that sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods can be irresistible to virtually any ant, sugar ants are a very specific type of ant. In fact, their true name is the "banded sugar ant," and the species is native to Australia. Therefore, the ants you're seeing in your kitchen are likely not actual sugar ants.

The common household ants infesting in your kitchen likely belong to one of four species of tiny ant: the little black ant (Monomorium minimum), the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), the odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) or the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). All four ants are truly tiny, with workers averaging around one-eighth of an inch in length. All four species are also extremely opportunistic and will establish colonies, or even networks of sub-colonies, indoors.

Why are Ants In Your Kitchen?

Why do ants favor the kitchen over other areas of your home? Ants are equipped with four to five times more odor receptors than other insects, allowing them to quickly and efficiently sniff out potential sources of food. If ants detect the trace foods that can accumulate on your kitchen counter and floors — a spot of spilled apple juice, a few cake crumbs, the orange peel in that under-the-sink garbage can you infrequently empty, etc. — it can become an invitation to raid your pantry.

Ants need water as well. Since the kitchen is one of the rooms where water regularly enters and leaves, it can become an ant reservoir. Even just a minor leak around a faucet or an automatic dishwasher that doesn't always drain completely may leave your kitchen vulnerable to tiny ants.

To help get rid of tiny ants in your kitchen, you need to locate what attracted them there in the first place. Most likely, what attracted them is a food source of some kind.

Make sure you remove any food refuse daily (or even multiple times a day) and thoroughly clean your sink. If applicable, run your garbage disposal long enough to ensure that all food waste has been ground up and flushed from the system.

Of course, keeping your home spotless and 100 percent watertight can be challenging. What is barely noticeable to the human eye can seem like a feast to a group of hungry ants. You can help remove  these little morsels by practicing basic sanitation in your home, especially in your kitchen and bathroom.

Why You Should Avoid DIY Ant Control

Unfortunately, even after having thoroughly cleaned and removed all of these temptations, tiny ants can still reappear in your kitchen. And when attempting DIY ant control measures, unless you are able to target the actual colony itself, you'll likely only be wiping out the satellite colony, as the main one may be yards away.

To help ensure that ants are fully removed from your home, it's recommended that you contact a pest control specialist. The professionals at Terminix® can help you get rid of these ants and help you win your kitchen back from their control. Contact us today to get started.



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