16 Ways to Get Rid of Small Black Kitchen Ants Fast & Permanently

Summer and spring are beautiful seasons of the year. We enjoy the flowers that come out, but not the insects that come out too. Ants are pesky insects that will be seen in several corners of your home if you’re not careful. But the most prevalent area remains the kitchen since it has the most sugary items.
If you’re tired of seeing them too, here are the 14 ways to get rid of small black kitchen ants that we have tried and know that work.
One of them is the product below. Keep reading to find out how you can use it to your advantage.

Table of Contents

Why are they in the kitchen?

They want food!

Like every other living being, they need sustenance to survive. They may be most attracted to sugary foods, but your cheese, meat, and fruits are just as prone to ants. An eager and curious scout comes looking for food and leaves a scent when it finds something useful. This scent is used by the whole party of ants who come trailing afterward to fetch the food from the source. That explains the trail you see in your kitchen, sometimes leading to that leftover shepherd’s pie.

They want heat!

The ants also want to escape the cold outside. Although most of the winters are spent in hibernation, they look for warmth in the early spring season. That’s why the kitchen is their favorite spot! Your cooking raises not only everyone’s appetite but the ant’s likelihood of nesting there.

They want water!

Just like humans, ants are looking for water too. Any living being can survive without food for a few days, but water is necessary. Similarly, ants are also looking for any drops of water to quench their thirst, as they won’t survive more than 5 days without water. Leftover water in sinks, pots, and pants or inside cupboards can lead to ants infestation. That’s why you should always wipe your dishes after washing them!

They want a nesting location!

Ants want shelter too. They are looking for places to hide their eggs in a safe place. The nooks and crannies of your kitchen are cozy enough for those eggs to nest in. You can try to pour boiling water on these locations, which might stir them a bit, but won’t fully eradicate them. For this, you’ll need a full-fledged solution like the ones we provide below.

Types that will make it into the kitchen

There are specific ant species that are more common than others in your kitchen. It helps to know their types so you can use the right tools against them.

Carpenter ants

These ants are the peskiest since they are nocturnal creatures that will disappear by daytime. You can expect their activity to be at its highest from May to October. Fifteen minutes after sunset, they will begin their work. If you want to catch them in the act, you must stay up late.

Little black ants

These are common from June to August, so they are around less often than carpenter ants. Their feeding pattern is quite different too. Oil, grease, fruit, meat, and other vegetable by-products attract them. You often spot these creatures on the corner of sidewalks when you’re taking the dog out for a walk. Black ants will also feed on other insects.

Pavement ants

As their name suggests, they are more common outside. Moreover, they feast on almost anything and aren’t very picky. They are attracted to both sugar and protein-based foods. Here the common pest control method is to get rid of the queen as quickly as possible.

Odorous ants

These get their name from the weird smell they let off when crushed. The smell resembles a rotten coconut. The infestation typically begins when their outside food supply finishes, forcing them to move indoors. Like pavement ants, they are not fussy and will eat anything from dairy products, meat, fruits, and cooked and raw vegetables.

They will accumulate near humid and moisture sources like boilers rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and beneath leaky fixtures.

Fire Ants

These won’t be found inside easily, but rather outside areas. However, if you have crops or storage boxes outside, they can infest them easily. They are rather dangerous beings since their bites can itch, burn and even cause allergic reactions – which explains the names.

Ghost ants

Weird name, but it has a reason. Their pale body is super translucent, which makes it hard to spot them. Although they bite, they won’t sting. They are rather harmless compared to fire ants, but they can contaminate your food leading to several diseases. They enter your home through tree branches, shrubs, or any other plant structure in contact with openings in your home.

Pharaoh ants

These are a huge nuisance. Even with all your efforts, it will take weeks to get rid of an entire colony. They get their name from the belief that they caused one of the plagues of Egypt, but currently, they are found practically everywhere around the world. You must only use non-repellant insecticides to get rid of them.

Argentine ants

The Argentine species is known to be the most successful of all. It is known to be due to their less aggressive nature towards each other. More cooperation amongst them encourages better work. Rather they are so cooperative they seem like one big colony even though they are from many small ones. The rule to keep them out is the same as the other – keep food hidden, wipe away moisture, and trim plants so they don’t touch your home structure.

The absolute best ant killer for the kitchen

Personally, I’ve experienced the horror and patience it takes to get rid of an ant infestation. When we moved into our new home, ants rather than ghosts kept me awake at night. Unkept bushes had led to several trails of them entering from the outside.

Naturally, I tried home remedies first because we all try to save money. But these were stubborn creatures. Nocturnal and even so pale that they were barely visible, they pushed me to the edge. I tried several sprays as well. But it was futile.

That is until I found Terro.

I tried the liquid on a couple of corners, and to my surprise, it worked! I then went on to buy the liquid ant bait stations and launch a full-fledged attack.

They also have sprays and bait stakes available, so you can buy whatever suits your needs best.

You can look at the full procedure below to get rid of the infestation once and for all, just like I did.

310 Reviews
Put a couple of pieces of aluminum foil out with some drops of this stuff on it along baseboards, or wherever the trail is. With so many positive reviews, this really is your solution when dealing with an infestation.

Time needed: 3 days.

How do I get rid of ants on my kitchen counter?

  1. Buy Terro Liquid Ant Killer
    I tried it first, owing to the many reviews on Amazon. It’s got more than 90K reviews, constructing it the best seller on the site.

    Terro ant killer

  2. Put a couple of drops of it on five or so pieces of aluminum foil.

    Keep in mind the size of the infestation. If it’s huge, you’ll need more than a few pieces. 
    Ant killer on aluminum foil

  3. Place it along the trail.

    Since you have been observing their trail patterns and nests for a long time, make sure to keep one piece of foil wherever you spot them last. ant killer near trail

  4. Wait for the magic to happen.

    You’ll have to be patient since some ants are nocturnal. The scout first searches and then calls the entire party out to the feast by leaving a scent.

  5. Replenish the solution as needed.

    It’s not a one-off solution. You will need to replenish the pieces from time to time. You will have to do these for weeks if the infestation is huge. It must occur until the queen or multiple queens are killed off.
    Ant killer along trail

  6. Wait for a few days.

    You will have stopped seeing them by the end of a week or two. Do not be hasty to get rid of the pieces of foil when you first stop seeing them. Give it an extra day or two, and remove the foil pieces when you are sure.

Pros and cons of Terro liquid bait

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this product.

The verdict

Although I tried several other products on the market, this is what worked for me, permanently and rapidly. Other competitor brands I tried were either too slow or didn’t finish the job. The pesky ants just kept coming back.
Sure, you do have to keep a regular check just like any other product but what kept me encouraged was the decreasing number of ants with each application.

ants swarming around Terro

Putting it directly in your kitchen would be a mistake as it is pretty sticky and sweet since it’s designed to stay and attract creatures. You want to get a piece of paper, foil, or cardboard and pour some bait there. It will ensure your floors stay clean.

If you want to keep away your curious dog, you can buy the liquid bait stations instead. They will help do the job but in a less risky manner. It also minimizes the need for replenishing.


  • Faster than other brands
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable


  • Prone to leaking
  • Risky with pets around
Bait stations
91,087 Reviews
Bait stations
Great solution when you don't want to use aluminum foil.

There are a couple of methods to get the bait out. You could avoid this altogether and simply spray the solution on the trails. But this means the ants die right there and don’t take back the bait to their colony.
Using bait stations means that you can target the colony at once.

Dealing with an infestation

Terro qualities

EffectivenessNaturalValue for MoneyEasy to useRapid Long lastingHarmless to pets

Home remedies

If you’re looking for a quick way out, here are a few home remedies that may be of help:

2. Baking soda

What’s better than a couple of ingredients right from your kitchen? Baking soda and water make a great, inexpensive combination to kill ants. Simply mix with water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on the affected areas.

You can also make a paste and use a knife to spread it like butter on the trails you spot.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is acid based, and that’s what ants hate. You can mix white or balsamic vinegar with water in equal parts. The solution can be sprayed onto the areas around the home’s corners and entrance, specifically the kitchen.
You can also wipe down the sponge with this solution on areas the ants frequent the most.

4. Essential oils

Essential oils are great for more than just soothing your nerves and making your home smell lovely. The d-limonene and acidic smell put off the ants. It is toxic to them as it erases the scent that the scout leaves behind for the trail to follow to the food.
Use 15 drops of tea tree oil, 15 drops of citrus oil, and 7 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle of water. Spray on the kitchen corners. Home smells lovely and keeps ants away too!

5. Bay leaves or cinnamon sticks

Spices that aren’t just used for cooking Indian! You can use them to repel pesky insects. Crush them into a powder or keep them whole near the entrance points.
It may look like voodoo but it does the job.

6. Make Boric acid

It should be your go-to when nothing from the kitchen works anymore. Get some boric acid and make a paste with some water. You can mix flour and sugar and make dough balls.
Place these wherever you want; the sugar will attract them quickly.

7. Diatomaceous earth

It is a unique and inexpensive way of getting insects out. A substance made of fossilized algae is found on earthy beds that look like chalk.

The soil-like product is similar to soil. By walking on it, insects like ants, earwigs, beetles, slugs, fleas, ticks, and cockroaches will suffer major damage to their exoskeleton.

Pour the stuff near doors and windows and wherever you spot them. But the stuff is not like regular ant bait that will be carried back to the colony. Ants must walk on it directly to be killed off.

Try using another bait to attract them to the diatomaceous earth first.

How to get rid of them naturally

They don’t say prevention is better than cure for nothing. What keeps ants away in the first place are the practices below.
Follow them thoroughly, and you may never need harsh chemicals.

9. Adopt Kitchen etiquette

All this may sound redundant, but it never hurts to refresh your memory. Keep your food packed and sealed or at least covered. Food and drinks spilled must always be cleaned off.
Pet bowls must be cleaned after eating, and freshwater must be replaced each time. Trashcans must be covered, and any spillage must be dealt with.
Always wipe your dishes after washing, and remember to wipe down countertops. Use a microfiber cloth to absorb maximum moisture at once. Make a check inside cupboards to ensure all food item lids are secured.
It is just a magnet for those little creatures. We swear this was staged for the photo.

Pet food on the floor

10. Water and baking soda

A good practice is to always end your cooking with a clean-off involving this solution. It ensures any remaining food crumbs are swiped off, and the solution keeps ants away.

11. Install screens

Keeping pests out is better than trying to get rid of them once they are inside. A screen on your window will ensure bees, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects don’t get inside, especially if there is greenery near your home, which can attract a lot of pests.

12. Check for cracks in the floor and walls

Winter brings plenty of respite from these creatures. You can use this time to plan your home defenses against them. Fill any holes and gaps with caulk or other filler to ensure no opening is left for them to enter through.

Anything more than half an inch wide must be dealt with immediately.

14. Clean with soap solution

Although we all do it, cleaning the countertops periodically with soapy water will help deter them from entering the home. Essentially, soapy water removes the scent that ants use to communicate with each other. So you are breaking off their contact and preventing trails from forming.

13. No standing water

Standing water is a big no when it comes to pests. The water attracts mosquitoes, ants, and other beings looking for water and adequate places to nest and lay eggs. Avoid sheltering insects, keep standing water covered, or place rocks inside decorative structures.


15. Use ant traps

The chemical we suggested can also be found in a trap solution.

16. Coffee grounds

The fresh smell of coffee grounds is lovely to humans, especially in the morning. But ants hate it so much that it can be used as a repellant. It’s great to be used around the boundary of your home.

Spraying a biodegradable soap solution around the boundary is also great since it is eco-friendly and won’t harm your garden if any.

Lonely ant

The Breakdown

Product ProsCons
TerroFoolproofProne to leakage
Baking sodaNatural and easily availableNot useful on large infestation
VinegarNaturalNot useful on large trails
Boric acidVery effectiveNot good with pets in the house
Bays leaf and cinnamonHarmless to pets and kidsNot always effective
Essential oilsEffective and fragrantExpensive
Coffee groundsNatural and cheapCan only be used outdoors
Diatomaceous earthCheap and effectiveDoesn’t get carried back to colony


We hope this article helped you! Here are some FAQs.

What is the best ant killer for the kitchen?

While there are many products on the market, we suggest Terro. It’s rated a bestseller for a good reason. It promises to rid your home of these

What causes ants in the kitchen?

Even a hint of food and moisture is sure to attract them inside. Keep your food covered and packed. Keep all dishes and countertops wiped. Keep trashcans covered to avoid leftovers from attracting the trail.

What is the fastest way to get rid of ants?

Use Terro liquid bait to solve your problem fast and forever. Other brands are promising but take much longer and offer temporary solutions.

Why are there suddenly a lot of ants in my house?

Once they find a good place to nest and access food, they begin to lay eggs, and then it becomes difficult to stop their army. You want to avoid dark, moist corners in your home and keep all food remnants packed and cleaned away.