Do Ants Like Coffee Grounds or Do They Kill Them? [Answered]

Do ants like coffee grounds

It’s not rare to see ants in your kitchen. But ants in your coffee maker? Aren’t these tiny creatures supposed to shy away from coffee grounds?

They probably find your coffeemaker a cozy place to build a colony. Steve Counsell, a pest control professional at Batzner Pest Control, says kitchens and appliances, such as coffee machines provide the perfect environment for ants.

 Coffee beans and coffee grounds

So do ants like coffee grounds or no? Almost certainly, ants do not like coffee grounds and avoid them at all costs. However, they will always find a way to ignore coffee grounds to get food and stay in a comfortable area.

That’s the reason why Paulette Hackbarth, who reached out to FOX6, encountered these creepy and crawly black dots in her coffee maker.

Read on to learn whether ants like coffee ground and how you can use it to deter ants from entering your home. 

Why do ants come?

The Earth holds about 10 billion ants according to the World Atlas of Biodiversity. 

That means you’re imagining things if you have ever had a great ant invasion, and think that a quarter of these insects on Earth are in your home.

But, why do ants come despite being uninvited? That’s likely because they are the most enthusiastic among all other species on Earth. 

They are also the most successful. Imagine the amount of human intervention that deter them from building their colonies. Still, the worker ants carry on to build their colony.

Initially, they march into your home in search of food. 

As rational species, the ants know that your home has abundant resources to sustain them. They are attracted to the dampness of your home and the food debris available to them.

Ants: Workers of the World

There were times when they suddenly appear without warning. This is especially during winter and other forms of bad weather that make it difficult for them to forage outdoors.

They will keep coming back, and will even build a colony in your home.

Why get rid of ants?

These little creatures can become a major problem at home. 

It can be difficult to repel them after worker ants marked your home and settled among themselves that it’s a source of sufficient supply of food.

Coffee beans in an ant trail

Here are some reasons why you should deter ants:

Ants can damage your property

The sign of ant infestation can be subtle. It can go on for years without you knowing, and these tiny creatures work endlessly. 

They can carve out tunnels in wooden beams before you even had the chance to repel them.

Ants do not necessarily eat the wood, but the hollowed-out tunnel can weaken the structure of your home. This can be costly for you as the homeowner to repair.

Ants can transport food-borne disease

Ants can transport food-borne disease

Ants can bring food-borne germs that can contaminate your food. Some of these food-borne diseases include shigella, salmonella, and other fungi. 

The most that you can do is to secure your pantry to keep ants from gaining access to your food. 

However, even with a secured pantry, there is always the risk of cross-contamination. Ants are not nearly as dangerous as other insects, but they still carry and transmit bacteria that can get you sick.

Other health risks

Have you ever been bitten by an ant? For most of us, an ant bite is bearable, and it’s nothing near the intense burning pain that most associate with a sting.

But for some people, an ant bite can be very painful. Also, ants can leave venom when they bite. This can be very discomforting for people who are sensitive to venom.

health risks

A single bite can cause itchiness and swelling that may lead to skin breakage. This can make some people at risk of skin infection.

Multiple ant bits can put someone at risk of anaphylactic shock, which is a severe allergic reaction.

The impact of ants on your home and health are enough reasons to look for ways to repel them.

Why can’t I get rid of ants?

How can I get rid of ants?

It’s not the ant season, but you saw various ants in your house. More than likely, they were there to forage. Or in some instances, they’ve created ant holes and decided to build an ant colony in your house. 

You tried different ways to get rid of them to no avail. So, you turned to the Internet to ask why you can’t get rid of them?

Ants are resilient creatures. They keep coming back to your house because they love good food sources. Plus, your house has the conditions that they find suitable as a breeding ground.

It is also likely that you are addressing only a smaller member of the population. Unknown to many house owners, ants have built nests that allowed them to spread and sustain themselves for several generations.

You can repel ants by using the right material to force them to leave their nests. And don’t give up too soon! I mean, be as persistent and driven as the ants.

How can I get rid of ants?

You search online and there are plenty of suggestions to control ant problem at home. One particular way is to use chemical solutions to get rid of ants instantly. But, you are not going for regular pesticides and sprays. 

How can I get rid of ants?

So ants appear in your home, and you know it will be a constant battle to prevent them from coming back.

So, you searched for natural ways to kill ants and found organic ways to get rid of them.

Here are some notes on the organic ways to get rid of ants:

  • do not bag grass clippings to prevent ants from building their nests
  • use solutions to remove scent trails
  • leave coffee grounds in the garden
  • always keep pet food bowls clean
  • regularly check and clean your sink drain as insects are attracted to warm water and damp places

Do coffee grounds repel ants?

Coffee grounds deter ants. So, one of the safest and inexpensive ways to repel ants is by using either fresh or used coffee grounds.

Did you know? Coffee grounds contain certain compounds that can be toxic to common pests. The caffeine and diterpene contents, even of used coffee grounds make it an effective biochemical insecticide.

Caffeine in coffee grounds is a natural toxicant that can repel pests. 

How can I get rid of ants?

An article published in Science magazine states that caffeine can interfere with the general behavior of insects, making used and fresh grounds an effective and safe material to ward off pests.

Ground coffee also contains diterpenes, which is a suitable repellent for many types of insects. Studies indicate that while coffee grounds are not toxic, scattering coffee grounds may keep ants away.

Why are coffee grounds good for managing ant infestation?

With its essential oil still intact, coffee grounds are naturally acidic. This natural acidity makes it effective in managing an infestation.

Just like any other coffee lover, I love the smell of coffee. But this is not the case for ants. They don’t like the strong smell of coffee, much less the texture of coffee grounds.

How to use coffee grounds to deter ants?

Talk about being kinder and going natural. Instead of spraying chemicals to deter ants, use coffee grounds as a natural and safe remedy to your pest problem. You may want to start in your garden if your goal is to keep ants from invading your home. 

All you need is to sprinkle coffee grounds around, especially around a large group of plants.

Normally, ants will flee from your plants once they come across coffee grounds.

Sometimes, they have already established a colony in your garden. In no time, they will start making their way indoors.

coffee grounds

The best way to deter them is to create rings of fresh or used coffee grounds on anthills. It helps to dump the grounds on top of colonies and repeat the process. 

Remember, ants are the most enthusiastic and successful creatures on Earth. 

You need to be patient, as a single catastrophe will not get them looking and building a new home.

If these ants have already invaded your home, you want to find where these creatures are coming from. Some of the potential areas to look at are the window sills, around vents, and cracks.

Place coffee grounds on the potential spots to block their paths. Make sure to check the area, and reapply coffee grounds to repel the ants away.

Learn how to get rid of Cockroaches using coffee grounds here.

Do used coffee grounds kill ants?

Coffee grounds are effective natural ant repellent. You can apply it to repel ants, without worrying about negative side effects. 

The thing is, coffee grounds cannot kill ants. And this is good news for people who are environmentalists by heart.

The strong smell of coffee grounds is enough to ward off ants. 

So, a useful tip for an environmental-friendly coffee lover: use coffee grounds to repel ants!

Spread coffee grounds in areas you want to protect from ant invasion.


Other ways to keep ants away

We’ve ruled out any commercial product, as we don’t suggest getting rid of pests the mean way.

But, while coffee grounds are effective in keeping ants away from your home and the garden, they are not the only option to repel ants. 

There are other natural repellants, and you might be surprised to know that most are found on your kitchen counter.

There are other natural repellants, and you might be surprised to know that most are found on your kitchen counter.

Like coffee grounds, the following materials are effective in keeping ants away:

White vinegar

Like coffee grounds, white vinegar has a strong smell that repels ants. 

White vinegar is a strong solution that can kill ants.

However, if you don’t like the idea of killing ants, your other option is to use diluted vinegar to clean your kitchen counter, floors, and other surfaces.

 Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar

Pure lemon juice

You can prevent the spread of colonies at home with the use of lemon juice.

If you are most people who advocate for ecological balance, you’ll feel relieved to know that lemon juice will not kill ants.

It’s the smell and acidity that destroy the scent trails, making it difficult for other ants to follow a specific path.

 Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice


Another great option to manage ants is the use of cinnamon. 

Unlike the smell of brewed grounds, the scent of cinnamon can be deadly to ants.

This essential oil works well to kill ants, especially when sprinkled around a colony.

Soeos Organic Cinnamon Sticks

Black pepper or cayenne

Black pepper is used as a natural pesticide in gardens, as it is an effective repellent for different kinds of insects.

This natural repellent will not kill ants, but it’s their strong pungent odor that drives them away.

Using these alternatives to used grounds may not fully make your home ant-free. You may still see these tiny creatures running around your garden,

Happy Belly Tellicherry Black Pepper, Whole Peppercorn

We’ve presented some of the natural ways to deter ants, from using brewed coffee grounds to cover their scent trails to spraying with solutions from your kitchen counter.

The downside of going natural is that you need to be persistent. For instance, you may need to replace brewed coffee grounds, and repeatedly place grounds in potted plants.

However, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to repel insects, then used grounds may not do the work. The best that you can do is to use a dish soap glass cleaner, such as Windex to kill ants instantly.

Ants are extremely susceptible to the strong smell of chemicals, so a window glass cleaner will not only kill them but also eliminate their scent trails. This can deter them from creating a colony in your house.

Other than using coffee grounds and their alternatives, it also helps to take the following steps to fend ants off:

  • immediately clean up food and spilled liquids
  • remember to sweep up any form of crumbs under your appliances
  • use airtight containers for storage
  • sprinkle coffee grounds on possible entry points

To wrap up

If you have a problem getting rid of ants, try using coffee grounds as described in this post. With persistence, you can prevent ants from ever coming back to your home. 

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