Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Ant in the Kitchen

Who hasn’t come home to see an army of ants marching towards their cookie jar or cupboard? No matter where you live, chances are good that the neighborhood ants are as hungry for sweet treats as you are. And when you see a trail of ants on your kitchen floor or counters, you are only seeing a small percentage of those making off with your munchies. The rest are following secret routes through the attic, outside walls, windowsills, baseboards, and foundation.

The most common kitchen invaders are known as sugar seeking ants and grease seeking ants. Sugar ants (Camponotus consobrinus) and other related species are really relatively large orange-brown ants that make up the largest group of ants in the United States and Australia. Contrary to their name, the ants not only love sweets but also nectar, other insects, and even caterpillars. However, if sugar ants infest your kitchen, they can be more than a nuisance. Entire colonies can forage for food in your kitchen and infest your home. They might also contaminate food and spread salmonella.

Grease ants are much smaller than sugar ants but just as hungry. These shiny yellow- to dark-brown critters are only about one millimeter—1/20th of an inch—in length. They devour almost any type of fatty, protein-laden food including meat, nuts, cheeses, peanut butter, and pastries. Grease ants infestations are most common in the summer when the insects tend to forage indoors. If the ants find a reliable source of food in your kitchen, they are extremely difficult to get rid of. The nests might be outside in rotting wood or soil but they can also colonize indoor walls, cabinets, baseboards, or under countertops.

While sweet and greasy might make for good food at the state fair, they make for pesky ants in your kitchen. These unwanted guests will eat and eat until all the food is gone, or until they are exterminated.