Ants in the kitchen is a very common summer annoyance. In the spring and summer most ants seen kitchens are coming indoors from colonies located outside. As temperatures warm in the spring, the ant colonies become active and the workers head out to search for food. Unfortunately for the homeowner, this search often brings the ants into your kitchen.
The first step in stopping this influx of ants is proper identification. There are roughly a half-dozen species of ants very commonly found in homes. Each species is searching for its own particular food and the control measures are different. For example, ant baits can work well for controlling ants that prefer sweets, like the odorous house ant. However, many species like the carpenter ants or grease ants are not highly attracted to baits.
Once the species of ant is properly identified, control options can be considered. Ant control can be a do-it-yourself project or a job for a professional pest control operator. Locating and treating the colony outdoors is the best option, but often locating the colony is difficult. To reduce the number of ants getting indoors, you can seal cracks around windows, doors and in the foundation. Insecticides can be used outdoors around the foundation to reduce the numbers of foragers entering the house. Indoors, ant baits are effective at controlling some species. For species not attracted to baits, the alternative is to treat room edges, cracks and crevices in the areas where foraging workers are abundant and hope to reduce the population through gradual elimination of the foragers. Homeowners can use ready-to-use insecticides labeled for indoor ant control. Do not use insecticides where they may contaminate food or dishes.