ants #217813 - Ask Extension


ants #217813

Asked October 21, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

If I don't clean my kitchen counter with comet every evening before bed time, I wake up to an  army of little black ants. I have chalked window sill inside and out, sprayed patio around the window area plus checked every possible place they could be coming from. They are just there on the counter with no trail of where they start. This a problem mostly in the summer but also sometimes all year round. Spray keeps them gone for only a few days and then they're back.

Burleson County California

Expert Response

Thanks for contacting eXtension with this concern.  Ants are one of the most problematic pests, to which you can attest.  Your step of sealing around the window is good, and having an exterior residual insecticide in place is one of the many management tools for this pest. 

Some ants will construct a nest within the wall voids, under the false floor under a sink, or in other out-of-the-way places.  They may have started outside at one point in time, but if there is food, water and shelter inside, they are content to stay inside.

A few other steps that you might find useful is: 1) keeping the counters free of food and food residue, wiping off syrup/honey/cooking oil bottles before replacing them in the cupboard, wiping up flour, sugar, or other food residues, and placing open food (stored at room temperature) in a heavy plastic ziplip bag or sealable container. 2) purchasing ant bait(s) at a grocery or hardware store and using them according to label directions. 3) Check your houseplants to make sure they don't have scales, mealybugs, or aphids.  Ants will 'set up house' with insect colonies feeding on houseplants [maybe even making a colony in the soil of the houseplant].  Controlling the plant pests and associated ants should be done at the same time.

Ant colonies are usually fairly large, so it may take considerable time to solve an ant problem.  Using the services of a professional pest management firm may help solve the problem quicker and with longer lasting results.

Mark Shour Replied October 23, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT

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