Are Ants Attracted to Coffee?
Have you noticed some ants patrolling around your coffee maker recently? Are you curious if ants have a natural affinity for coffee? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re talking all about coffee, ants, and coffee machines.
We’re going to talk about whether ants like coffee, how ants react to coffee grounds, and why you might sometimes find ants lurking around or in your coffee machine. I’ll also teach you how to get rid of the ant infestation and how to prevent other future ant invasions. So, let’s get started!
Do Ants Like to Eat Coffee?
If we’re talking about the ground coffee bean, then no. Ants don’t like coffee. They cannot consume it either, because the high caffeine content in coffee beans is toxic and potentially lethal for them. Still, sometimes you might find an ant or two drowned in your cup of coffee. Why is that?
Sure, coffee smells irresistible, but that’s not the reason why ants are attracted to it. The ants might be attracted to the sugar and honey you add to your coffee. Remember, ants have an affinity for anything sweet and juicy, including sugar cubes, honey, syrup, fruit juices, and ripe fruit!
Speaking of fruit, there’s actually one part of the coffee plant that ants will eat with abandon. That’s the coffee cherry surrounding the bean. The coffee bean we know and love is the pit of a fruit. The fruit is similar to a cherry or a berry, small and bright red. That’s the reason why coffee cultivators treat ants as a pest on plantations.
Can You Use Coffee Grounds as Ant Repellent?
Some people recommend using coffee grounds as a cheap ant repellent. This is an easy method to get rid of ants from your garden or other problem areas. It works pretty well to repel ants, but keep in mind that it won’t kill them. As a plus, if you use coffee grounds in your garden, they will also act as a fertilizer because of the nitrogen concentration.
Ants can’t stand this stuff for two reasons— the strong, bitter aroma, and the high acidity. Thus, ants will quickly flee in large numbers if they are exposed to coffee grounds. You can sprinkle some of the grounds in areas where the ants are hiding and watch them make a U-turn, running for the hills (no pun intended).
However, this is not always a guarantee. Remember, ants won’t die when exposed to coffee grounds. Coffee is only toxic to them when directly ingested. So, you might find that the ants sometimes move the coffee grounds out of the way.
Why Are Ants Attracted to Coffee Makers?
Coffee makers are notorious for ant infestations. There’s no clear explanation why. But perhaps a lot of the right circumstances converge together to make coffee makers the perfect home for ants.
For starters, coffee makers are almost always in the kitchen, next to all the goodies that ants love to snack on. Things like fruits, sugar, bread, and food leftovers you might sometimes have sitting on the counter.
If you have a fancy espresso machine, there’s even going to be food leftovers in the coffee maker itself. Things like dried milk droplets along the pipes and dispensers. Maybe there’s even some milk and sugar left on the drip plate. So, when you aren’t looking, ants come to eat these leftovers. In the meantime, the coffee maker makes the perfect hiding spot for them.
Coffee makers aren’t airtight machines. They have many joints, cracks, and openings where ants can crawl in to hide. Plus, coffee makers are also warm and moist, providing the perfect conditions for ants to thrive. It’s also probably pretty dark and cozy in there, just as they like it inside an anthill.
How to Get Rid of Ants in a Coffee Maker?
So, you’ve identified the problem. What do you do to solve it? Well, the first and most important thing is to kill off any ants that might be lurking around in the darkness of your coffee maker. For this, you’ll have to use an insecticide around your coffee machine. When the ants will venture out in search of food, the poison should get them good.
Once you’ve noticed multiple dead ants around your coffee maker, it’s time to clean the machine to prevent future infestations. Luckily, this is easy to do. You’ll have to remove the machine from your kitchen and move it to a sink. There, you’ll have to take apart the components as much as possible and clean all traces of coffee liquid, coffee grounds, milk, and other residues.
You have to give your coffee machine a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Just using warm water and dish soap should do the trick. If the machine has lots of old buildup, you might have to leave it soaking for a while. You can also use some vinegar to help melt the leftovers quicker.
After you’re done cleaning and reassembling the machine, you’ll have to do a couple of run tests. That will help you thoroughly rinse the machine and get rid of any soap or vinegar residue. You’ll also have to clean and disinfect the area around your coffee maker. Make sure you get rid of any crumbs, dried liquids, and any other food leftovers around the machine.
How to Keep Ants Out of Your Coffee Maker?
After cleaning your coffee maker and getting rid of the ants, you’ll have to keep up on the maintenance work. To keep ants out of the machine, you must maintain the coffee maker clean. Try to rinse the filter and clean the jug regularly, so there’s no more gunk building up that the ants can feed on.
Any milk, sugar, or creamers spilled on the warming plate, in the filter, or anywhere around the machine should also be cleaned right away. If you keep food on the counter, this will also attract ants to the area. That’s because they can feed on the leftovers you leave out while hiding away in the coffee machine. So, make sure to put the food in the fridge, or keep it sealed in containers.
Finally, you can also use some more ant killer spray around the coffee machine, just to be extra sure. Alternatively, you can also try some natural ant repellents. Apparently, ants don’t like spices such as cinnamon, chili, garlic, pepper, or mint. If you’re not sure about using insecticides in the kitchen where you prepare all your food, you can try putting some of these spices next to or around the coffee maker.
Ants aren’t caffeineholics. Quite far from it, actually. Ants are naturally repulsed by the smell and acidity of coffee grounds. But somehow, the coffee maker is one of the most common hotspots for an ant infestation. Warm, dark, and humid, a coffee machine makes the perfect hiding and breeding spot for these tiny creatures.
Despite coffee grounds making a good ant repellent, they’re clearly not good enough if they can’t keep ants out of the coffee machine. Luckily, getting rid of ants and foolproofing a coffee maker is quite easy. Cleanliness is key.
Remember, you must take away any food source that might attract ants to the machine. There are also plenty of natural and chemical solutions for repelling or killing invading ants. Take the steps outlined in the article, and your coffee maker will thank you for it!