Don't let these pesky kitchen guests take over your space.

By Tamara Gane
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There are few things as unpleasant as ants in your kitchen. It seems like when one of the little guys gets in there, they find a way to invite all their friends. Before you know it, you're throwing away boxes of cereal and bags of sugar. Don't let this happen to you. While there are things you can do to prevent pests in the first place, sometimes it's just too late. We went to the experts to find out how to get rid of ants in your kitchen.

How to Prevent Ants

The best way to get rid of ants in your kitchen is to make sure you don't attract them in the first place. Rochelle Wilkinson of Dirt Detectives Cleaning in Phoenix, Maryland, says to always be sure to clean the kitchen and wipe down counters immediately after cooking to remove any scraps of food. She also states that it's important to rinse your dishes and put them into the dishwasher immediately. She goes on to say that sugar should be kept in a tightly-sealed container. Wilkinson adds sugary liquids like honey or syrup can be stored in the fridge to avoid attracting the little critters. Trent Frazier, of pest control company Adaptive Environmental, also suggests removing dog or cat food once they've finished eating and sweeping the floor frequently. Bottom line, the best way to avoid attracting ants is to make sure they don't have anything to feed on.

Ants in the Kitchen
Credit: Getty Images

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen

Even if you do everything, right, it's still possible to get ants in your kitchen. According to Godfrey Nalyanya, the entomologist at Ehrlich Pest Control, you'll need to get the pesticide to the heart of the colony to eliminate the ants. He also says ants can be finicky when it comes to repellent sprays. Instead, he recommends a bait with a liquid residual pesticide they'll carry home to poison the rest of the colony. Wilkinson recommends Terro Liquid Ant Baits for this.

When Do You Need an Exterminator?

Unfortunately, there are cases when you're dealing with a serious ant infestation and your best bet is a professional exterminator. Nalyanya says signs of a serious ant infestation include ant pathways. These are literal trails where ants lay down a pheromone on the path to a food source to attract other ants from their colony. He also says to keep your eyes peeled for ant nests around your house. Although he said some nests might be inside your walls or other hard-to-find places, there are species of ants that make nests in the ground that look like piles of dirt. If you see these signs, it may be time to call an exterminator, especially if you weren't successful in getting rid of the ants on your own.