Ants in the kitchen: What does it mean?

So, you have ants in the kitchen? You’ll be surprised to know that this is the most common issue we hear during the warm weather months.  There are many reasons for it,  lets take a look at some areas and let’s concentrate on carpenter ants.

This is where the food is

Ants in the kitchen shouldn’t be a surprise.  The reason is that all living things including ants need food to survive.  In the kitchen ants can find crumbs behind the stove, food left on plates and a half full pet bowl.  In the pest management industry sanitation is the key to getting rid of pests.  If you clean up you’ll eliminate reasons for ants to forage in this area.

Also, in the kitchen ants can find water.  How many of you have woken in the middle of the night only to find carpenter ants in the kitchen sink? Moisture is anther thing that most ants need, in particular carpenter ants.

You may have a nest close by

Carpenter ants have the ability to forage at least 300 feet away from a colony, so even if your home is a mansion ants can still find your kitchen.  The following are the best and most common places to find a carpenter ant colony near a kitchen

  1.  Decking

With very few exceptions decks are located right off the rear of a home adjacent to the kitchen.  In most modern construction there should be flashing between the home and the board that attaches the deck to the home.  However, in many cases the flashing is either not there or water has gotten behind it it.  Once water is able to breach this area ants, especially carpenter ants will exploit it.

2.   Window, door and garage frames

Since carpenter ants nest in areas of moisture window, door and garage frames are popular nesting sites.  The average life expectancy of these frames is about 25-40 years.  After this period of time and according to how well they were installed in the first place expect that there’s going to be water penetration.  The water in my experience can be on any of the four sides, but the top and the bottom sill seem to be the most popular.  This is the reason why most good carpenters carry insecticide with them, there’s a high degree of certainty that they’ll find a nest.

3.     Overflowing gutters

In my experience this is the most overlooked area to find ants.  The purpose of a gutter is to trap and relocate water.  The problem with gutters is that they get worn and many times clogged.  Once a gutter is clogged it will overflow and soak the roof line, soffit and roof sheathing.  These carpenter ant nesting sites near the kitchen are perfect areas for a carpenter ant colony to set up shop and further due to there height the typical pest control company really isn’t looking there.

4.       Chimney frames

How close is your chimney to the kitchen? Ants in the kitchen that are coming from the chimney frame are more common than you’d think.  The problem with chimneys much the same as with window and door frames is that the gaps around them allow in moisture.  The moisture around a chimney will either be on the sides as it travels up the house or the flashing at the roof line.  These areas also happen to be some of the most difficult to exterminate.

5.      Dead or dying trees

That big oak tree in your yard was once the focal point of your landscape.  Unfortunately, over the years you’ve noticed tree holes with water in them, dead branches and an overall unhealthy look to the tree.  It’s sad to say, but that tree may need to go.

In their natural environment carpenter ants live in dead and dying wood because the wood is typically wet.  It’s the same reason that water leaks in a home attract ants.  However, wet wood outside is far more attractive.  In fact, its so attractive that most if not all main carpenter ant colonies begin there.  The colonies that are inside our homes are called satellite colonies which are typically much smaller than main colonies depending on how long they’ve been around.

If that dying tree is close to the house the ants in the kitchen could be coming from there.

Your bathroom is next to your kitchen

If you have ants in the kitchen there may actually be a carpenter ant colony in your bathroom. I put this in a category of it’s own because it’s by far the most common place to find a nest. The truth is that carpenter ant control isn’t that hard.  The hard part is finding them and since bathrooms have moisture it’s a great place to start looking.

In Ct raised ranches and center hall colonials are popular home styles.  These homes are not only functional for a growing family, but they’re all laid out pretty much the same.  The kitchen and bathroom are typically on the first floor and they usually abut one another.  This proximity to the kitchen makes bathrooms a perfect place to nest.  A few common places for carpenter ants to nest in bathrooms are under the toilet, a window frame or around a leaky shower.  Since the kitchen is so close by foraging will take place in both the bathroom and the kitchen.

Having ants is a common problem and most all people at one time or another will have them in the kitchen.  Will you just tolerate them or get the issue taken care of? The truth about carpenter ants is that they don’t just go away it typically just gets worse.

If you have carpenter ants and need help, call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481