If you have ants in your grill, you are not alone. The problem is more common than you may think. Still, you don’t have to let ants spoil your fun when cooking outdoors. We have given you a detailed guide on how you can get rid of ants in your grill and get back to enjoying your summer! When finding a solution to your ant problem, first you need to understand why ants are attracted to your grill in the first place.
Ants are foraging animals and they find food by scouting the area around their nests in search of something to eat. Once they have located a food source, they will that food back to their nest. When they search for food, they leave a pheromone trail that acts as an invisible map, telling other ants where the food is located. So, if you see a swarm of ants on or around your grill, you can be certain that they’ve found a source of food.
How to get rid of ants in your grill? The first step of getting rid of the ant in your grill is to thoroughly clean your grill and the area around it. Ants are attracted to food sources in your grill such as grease, crumbs, pieces of meat or bones, spilled drinks and foods in general that have fallen around your grill, under your deck or patio. Next, determine if you prefer to use a natural or chemical treatment for getting rid of the ants.
Chemical treatments include commercial ant baits and barriers, as well as sprays. Natural solutions include using barriers made of diatomaceous earth, killing ants with a dish soap/water solution, and more.
As there are different types of grills we have prepared different cleaning methods for each of them in the following sections.
What else should you know about ants in your grill? Can ants in your grill be dangerous? Read on to find answers to these questions, as well as our step-by-step guide to cleaning your grill and ensuring that ants stay away for good. Let’s begin!
Why Are Ants Attracted to Grills?
To an ant, a grill seems like the perfect source of food. It’s easy to access and if you grill frequently, the food supply gets replenished for them every time. While most ants are attracted to sweet foods, there are many ant species will also feast on greasy and oily foods found in your grill.
What Type of Ants Attack Grills?
There are a few ant species who prefer oily foods over sweets and have developed a reputation for infesting grills. Those are the pavements ants, little black ants, and big-headed ants. Here are a few tips on how you can identify them:
- Pavements ants are about 1/8th of an inch (3mm) in length, and jet black or dark brown in color. Their legs and antennae are lighter in color than the rest of their bodies.
- Little black ants are, as their name suggests, smaller than most ant species. They are only about 1/20th of an inch (1.5 mm) in length. Their waist (the area between the thorax and abdomen) has two segments or nodes. They are dark brown or black in color.
- Big-headed ants are easy to identify by their bulbous heads. They are reddish-brown in color. There are two classes of worker ants in big-headed ant colonies. The larger worker ants can reach ¼ of an inch in size (6.5 mm).
Is It Dangerous to Have Ants Around Grill?
While ants themselves cannot damage your grill, there are a few hazards to be aware of when dealing with a grill ant infestation.
• Using Pesticides Around Your Grill
Many types of pesticides are flammable, making them extremely hazardous to use around heat or open flame. Never spray pesticides directly onto your grill. Also, never store pesticides near your grill or any other source of heat.
Any time you are dealing with extreme heat, distraction can become a major problem. Having an ant infestation on or around your grill can cause you to lose focus, potentially resulting in burns. It’s best to take care of your ant problem as soon as it’s discovered, so you can then better concentrate on cooking.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Grill – Step by Step Instructions
Getting rid of ants in your grill is a two-part process. The first step will be to clean, and the second will be to get rid of any remaining ants in the area.
Step 1 – Cleaning Different Types of Grills
Follow these instructions for cleaning your gas, charcoal or electric grill. Cleaning will remove ants and the food residue attracting them there in the first place.
How to Clean a Gas Grill
1. Preheat your grill on high heat for 15 minutes.
2. Turn off the gas.
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4. Allow your grill to cool down.
5. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the grates to remove any residue.
6. Remove the heat deflectors and burners (located underneath) and clean them with the dish soap and water solution.
7. Remove the propane tank beneath your grill, and replace it with a bucket. Clean the cook box and underneath the lid, and rinse the area out with a hose. The bucket will catch the grease coming out from the bottom.
8. Dry all of the parts and place them back inside your grill.
9. If your grill is made of stainless steel, use a stainless-steel cleaner and microfiber cloth to wipe down the outside of your grill thoroughly. If you have a porcelain, ceramic or painted steel grill, use dish soap and water for this step.
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How to Clean Charcoal Grill
1. Use a stiff wire brush or a cleaning kit to scrape the grill grates.
2. Remove the charcoal grate and any ash from the cook box.
3. Scrub the cook box and the inside of the lid with warm water and dish soap.
4. Replace the charcoal grate.
5. Clean the outside of the grill using soap and water or a stainless-steel cleaner.
How to Clean Your Electric Grill
1. Using a rag, wipe any loose grease toward the grease tray.
2. Use a mixture of dish soap and water or even an oven cleaner to soak any stuck-on grease.
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3. After soaking, use a soft sponge or rag to wipe down the surface.
4. Dry the surface using a towel to prevent rust.
5. Wipe down the outside of your electric grill using dish soap, water, and a soft cloth.
Clean the Area Surrounding Your Grill
- Check the floor/ground around your grill. Sweep any crumbs and mop up any drink or grease spills.
- If your grill is located on a raised deck or patio, check the ground underneath to ensure no food has fallen through, which will continue to attract ants to the area.
Step 2 – Getting Rid of Any Remaining Ants Around or on Your Grill
There are both natural and chemical methods for getting rid of any remaining ants around your grill.
Method 1: The All-Natural Route
If you are looking for an eco-friendly way to get rid of ants, there are a couple of options available that are both safe and effective.
- Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from the fossils of tiny sea-dwelling organisms. It is available at most hardware and gardening stores, and can also be purchased online. Diatomaceous earth kills ants on contact by drying them out. It also acts as an ant repellant.
- Mix water and about 1 teaspoon of dish soap together and fill it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly on ants when you see them. Ants breathe through their exoskeletons. The dish soap causes the water to cling to their exoskeletons, suffocating them as a result.
Method 2: Chemical Pesticides
If you are eager to get your ant problem under control quickly, consider using chemical pesticides. Ant killer spray kills on contact and can help deter ants from returning to the area. However, be sure not to spray pesticides around your grill or surfaces where you eat as it can be extremely toxic.
We suggest reading the next section, especially the part about ant baits as they are an effective solution for getting rid of entire ant colonies while not jeopardizing your health.
How to Keep Ants Away From Grill | Ants Around Grill
When it comes to keeping ants away from your grill, the key is keeping your appliance and the area around it impeccably clean. In addition, use one or more of the following products to keep ants at bay.
Ant Barrier/Ant Perimeter
These products prevent ants from reaching a specific area. They can be purchased in spray or granulated forms. Simply apply the product on the area surrounding your grill or patio to prevent ants from entering.
Ant Baits – Most Effective Products
If you’re feeling patient and want to make sure you’ve taken out the root of your ant problem, then you should use ant baits. Ant bait contains two substances one that is attractive to ants and another one that is toxic to them.
The ants will carry the bait back to their nests to share with the rest of the colony. Eventually, the whole colony will be killed off.
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Now you know that you don’t have to surrender your grill to ants. Keep your grill and the area around it clean and tidy, that is the most important part when it comes to keeping ants away from your grill. Just follow our guide and you’ll be on your way to a relaxing, pest-free summer in no time!
We hope you found our instructional guide helpful and that now your grill in safe from ant infestations. For more pest-related content please keep following our site!
List of Soruces
Summer Grilling – Tips for Cleaning Your Outdoor Grill, University of Nebraska
Cleaning Your Grill With Natural Cleaners, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Pavement Ant, The Pennsylvania State University
Nyamukondiwa C., Addison P., Food preference and foraging activity of ants: recommendations for field applications of low-toxicity baits, Stellenbosch University
Hansen L., Fredericks J., Henriksen M., Ant Survey Executive Summary: Exploring America’s #1 Nuisance Pest, National Pest Management Association