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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

What are the Best Ant Traps for the Kitchen



The feeling, my friends, is NOT mutual.
The feeling, my friends, is NOT mutual.

Is there anything worse than ants in the kitchen? All too often do we go to stir our tea or coffee and find we’ve stirred a tablespoon of ants into our morning brew. I shudder whenever I see them march in military fashion up or down the wall en route to the cupboards. The fridge is just about the only place that’s safe from these pests.

Some suggest leaving out a shallow dish of water and sugar to deal with them, or sprinkling clove in the affected areas. These are just short-term solutions to a much bigger problem. When it comes to ants, you need to take radical steps. Time to break out the ant traps. But, which brand is best for your kitchen?

Challenges of dealing with ants in the kitchen

It’s easy to poison ants if you find them about the garden. When they’re attacking the kitchen, it’s a different story. There are many obvious reasons you should not introduce poison into your kitchen to eliminate ants. With poison, you could end up making you or your family sick. You might end up hurting the cat or dog.

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If you really want to knock out kitchen pests, you need to find a trap that attracts not only ants but also other insects, like crickets or cockroaches, that may also be invading your home. These have baits that attract the insects and kill them with insecticide.

To get the maximum use out of traps, put them in places where your food is stored and where the surfaces are always clean. This means the ants are attracted only to the bait, not to other foods that might be present. A smudge of jam on a countertop is all it takes to deter the ants from the poisonous bait you’ve laid out for them.

Sprays or traps?

Mighty Mint - 16oz Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil - Natural Spray for Spiders, Ants, and More - Non Toxic

Traps are much better than sprays. A spray will terminate whichever ants are exposed to it, but will not solve the problem. More will come back. Sprays will also expose you and your family to the insecticide. If you do use spray, try an organic, all-natural product that is marked as safe to use around children and pets.

See the Mighty Mint Natural Home Pest Control Spray at Amazon

Quality traps will keep pesticides enclosed and out of harm’s way, allowing the ants to find them and take the poison to the nest. If you find pesticides outside of the container, immediately remove them and put them in the trash. Don’t handle the poison directly. Use an eco-friendly paper towel or sweep them up with a broom.

Always follow all safety instructions listed on the packaging.

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How does an ant trap work?

The idea is that the ants will source out the insecticide, which in a quality ant trap will not be exposed, and bring it back to the nest. The ants will feed the poison to the queen and distribute it around the next, killing them all. An ant nest without its queen is one in turmoil. This process is much like a game of chess—find the queen and kill her to win.


There are a number of components that make up a quality ant trap. First, it must have an attractant. This draws the ants in and encourages them to bring something tasty back to the queen. Then there’s the palatable carrier, which gives a physical structure to the bait. The toxicant must be non-repellent, delayed in its action, and effective over numerous dosages. Preservatives and waterproofing materials are also added to ensure the pesticide remains functional when carried to the nest.

Terro Ant Traps

TERRO ant traps eliminate the problem at its source.
TERRO ant traps eliminate the problem at its source.
TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Bait Ant, 12 Bait Stations

TERRO Liquid Ant Baits are the best on the market. Specifically designed for household ants, the traps are very easy-to-use. All you need to do is place the pre-filled liquid-based trap wherever you’ve noticed the ants, often by a door or some other entry point.

See the TERRO T300-2 2-Pack Liquid Ant Baits at Amazon

Terro Ant Traps kill all worker ants within a few days but provides them with enough time to share the bait around the nest. These traps ensure that the bait doesn’t dry out, which gives the ants a continuous supply of poisonous bait night and day.


Don’t worry if you don’t see immediate results. It will take a couple of days for the ants to bring the poison into the nest and ultimately kill the whole lot. Soon enough, your ant problem will be gone, and you’ll have a sanitary, pest-free kitchen in no time!

Be sure your pest problem doesn’t return by storing your food where they can’t get it! See the best food containers for freezers.

You might also like my posts on kitchen cleaning products. Check out the best oven cleaners for baked-on grease and how to get odor- and stain-free kitchen towels.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Jun J. and Chris W.