Ants are a common pest that can be found just about everywhere. They are commonly seen in and around homes, office buildings, and other areas where food is present. One of the most common places that ants are found is around kitchens.
Kitchens offer ants the 2 most important things they scavenge for – food and water. When most people think of ants in their home, they automatically assume there must be food they’re finding and they need to clean up better. Often times though, it’s water that will draw ants to your kitchen.
If you have ants taking up residence around your kitchen sink, you’re going to want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Using my decade of experience in the pest control industry, I’ll tell you exactly how to get rid of ants around your kitchen sink.
Why are Ants Around My Kitchen Sink?
Ants are around your kitchen sink because they’re finding a reliable source of either food or water, and they’ve let the other ants in their colony know to come and grab some of the goods.
Finding any kind of ant inside your home can make you feel both gross and unsanitary – especially when it’s where you store and prepare your food. Ants could be breaking into stored food items, ruining perishable goods, or in the case of carpenter ants – causing property damage right under your nose.
The most likely reason for finding ants around your kitchen sink is due to standing water. This could be from leaky pipes that are creating pools of water beneath your sink, or insufficient caulking around your sink which allows water to leak out under the countertop or into the wall behind the sink.
If left for long enough, this moisture may even lead to damp wood rot. This is particularly notable for attracting Carpenter ants, who prefer to build colonies inside waterlogged wood. Getting rid of carpenter ants can be an urgent endeavor, so be sure to check out our guide on signs of a carpenter ant infestation.
In addition to the water, ants could be attracted to the leftover food stuck on your dirty dishes or in the pipes of your drain. If you have a garbage disposal, it’s possible you have some food stuck on the walls of the device which is attracting ants.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Sink
Getting rid of ants around the kitchen sink always begins with solid prevention steps. If ants have already appeared around your home, you need to treat the root cause by eliminating one or more of their attractant factors (including food, water, and shelter).
Below are three of the most important steps needed to get rid of ants around the kitchen sink.
1. Fix Your Moisture Problem
Standing water is the number one most common reason for ant infestations around kitchen sinks. Begin by first checking your plumbing for any leaky drains.
Identify areas of standing water around your sink. Specifically look for puddles under the sink, pools around the sink edges, or water leaking from the base of the faucet. You may need to call in a plumber to get everything tightened up.
Next, check the waterproof caulking around the edges of your sink, the sides of the counter, and the spaces between the counter and the wall. If you see any gaps or cracks in the caulking, it’s best to strip it out and replace it.
Any area where moisture can get inside could result in wood rot or softening, which will quickly attract carpenter ants or termites. In addition, water that splashes from the sink basin could seep into the cracks around sink edges, creating additional problems that are difficult to spot.
By keeping water contained and not leaking into hidden areas, you’ll make your kitchen a much less inviting place for ants and other pests.
2. Clean Up Food Remnants
Food around the kitchen sink may be providing enough sustenance to power a colony of ants. Resolve these issues by frequently cleaning food traps or catchers in your sink. Consider cleaning the sink itself and the surrounding area on a weekly or even daily basis. This can be done by scrubbing the interior with vinegar, bleach, or any other kind of disinfectant.
You may also need to clean the inside of your kitchen sink drain to prevent ant scouts from returning to the area.
There are several appropriate methods for this task, including store bought products, baking soda and vinegar, or manually swabbing the pipes. Store bought products like Drano may be best for larger clogs, while baking soda and vinegar remove smaller blockages. Manually swabbing your pipes should be done if neither of the previous options are effective.
If you have a garbage disposal inside your sink, you may need to take a different approach to sanitation. You may clean your disposal without getting too close by adding ice cubes, bleach, lemons, and baking soda to the sink basin before turning on the machine.
You may also want to scrub the machine using dishwashing soap and a long-handled toothbrush. Make sure that you are disabling all power to garbage disposal before you bring your hands too close.
3. Clean The Surrounding Area
Scrubbing the counters, backsplashes, and other areas near the kitchen may help to remove ant pheromone trails nearby. These pheromones are what allow scouting ants and ‘food trains’ to return to your sink again and again. Removing these can quickly put a stop to lingering ants near the kitchen sink.
What To Do If Ants Still Persist
Even if you have done everything correctly, ants may still be making an appearance near your kitchen sink. There could be several reasons for this:
- There are additional sources of food and water that are attracting ants
- There may be pest prey species living inside the home
- You may have a much more serious ant infestation than you previously considered
If you think or know that your ant infestation could be serious, use an ant bait to poison the colony.
Baits trick ants into consuming poisoned pellets of food, which exterminate colonies within 7 to 10 days. Over the counter baits have been known to be highly effective, including Terro and Raid. If toxicity is a concern for you, try creating a DIY borax ant bait that encourages the insect’s consumption. You may also choose to discourage future ant activity by utilizing a pesticide dust such as diatomaceous earth (DE).
Dust the pesticide of your choice into the backs of sink cabinets or the underside of the sink to prevent ants from returning. Any crevices showing signs of heavy ant activity should also be treated.
The best way to find potential ant entry points is to observe the exterior of your home for signs of damage. Cracks in walls, fissures in foundations, and gaps in window screens could be allowing ants to get inside. Use a form of waterproof caulking to seal around your windows, doors, and foundations. Serious damage may require more complicated repairs.
Ants In Your Kitchen Sink FAQ
Can ants live in my drain?
While the frequency of ant activity in your home may lead you to believe in a potential infestation, it is unlikely that these insects are actually living in your sink drain. The ants are most likely scouting the area for needed resources, which are promptly returned to their colony.
What are ants eating from my drain?
Ants are scavenger pests that are capable of consuming almost any human food, including meats, butters, and other protein. Many species such as Pavement ants, Argentine ants, and Odorous house ants prefer sugar and grease. Ultimately, ants could be eating any type of food that has not yet been washed down the drain, or any puddling water sources that could be hydrating the colony.
What species of ant are around my sink?
The ants that are currently inside your home could be many different species, primarily relying on your location. Although some species of ant are spread across the entire United States, others are found only in certain areas or territories. Use an identification guide, app, or professional inspection to narrow down the type of ant that could be inside your home.