Beautiful walks and an outdoor food prep/eating space are the most welcoming elements of an outdoor living space. The last guests a homeowner wants to invite over is a colony of ants. A few preventative steps and treatments can help you keep your pavers and kitchen clear of these uninvited pests.
Wipe down the surfaces – often. Cleaning your outdoor kitchen’s surfaces of food or spills on a frequent basis is the most important strategy in the fight against ants. Ants can learn where sugar sources typically reside and will return to those sites looking for new food. Preventing the ants from learning where you prepare and cook food goes a long way in keeping your counters ant-free. Usually the counters can be cleaned with a mild soap and water, but check your manufacturer’s recommendation. Don’t neglect the vertical spaces like kick plates and cabinet doors. Spills hit those areas too. (Side note: some pavers are easier to clean than others. ColorTech pavers are popular for outdoor kitchens for many reasons, one of them is their ease of cleaning.)
Empty trash frequently. If your cabinetry contains a trash drawer, tie the bag until it is ready for removal. Clean up any spills in the drawer and wipe it down often.
Use a 50/50 vinegar/water solution to kill insects. Outdoor kitchens are weatherproofed, meaning the water will drain off the countertop safely. The solution is safe for food prep areas. Avoid spraying ant killer where food is prepared and served.
Lay down baited pest-control solutions. Baited poisons work to attract the ants and send them back to their colonies to distribute the poison. Use a kitchen-and-food safe gel ant bait or powder inside the cabinetry or along the edges of the structure. Frequent applications of the pest solution may be necessary if heavy rains occur. Keep applying the pest-control solution until the ants don’t return to the counters.
Treat the pavers with pest powder. The little volcano-shaped piles of earth around the patio are evidence that ants are building homes under your pavers. Spray the pavers with an ant control solution or sweep a powder or granules over the surface, making sure to let the powder settle into the spaces between pavers. Repeat the treatment according to package directions. It may take a few tries before all the different ant colonies are eliminated. If joint sand in the paver construction seems to have been displaced by nesting ants, call your contractor or landscaper. Ask about possibilities for joint repair along with an insecticide application to help prevent the ants from nesting in the joints.
Ants aren’t the guests we want, but they are the invaders we should expect. Follow these preventative steps regularly to help keep your pavers and outdoor kitchen clear and ready to host friends and family.