Ants are ecologically important creatures as they help in aerating the soil which allows oxygen and water to reach the plant roots. Ants also help in seed dispersal among other things. But this does not absolve them of being annoying menaces that bring in dirt and germs inside households.
There are over 10,000 types of ant species and the one thing that all of them have in common is that they build colonies and infest those corners from where they can derive sustenance from.
The bathroom is an ideal location for the ants. Tiny ants in the bathroom is not an uncommon sight in households all over the world.
On top of being creepers, ants are also very industrious creatures and it’s honestly surprising what their little bodies can pull off. You will hardly ever see a lone ant, even if you do spot one, it means that a nest is nearby and the lone ant is looking for or leaving food trails.
Coming to food, ants infiltrate the bathroom because they wish to be close to a stable supply of food and water. So if you see ants in drains of the bathroom or ants coming out of the bathroom sink then they are there for food and water and it would be better to get rid of the ants immediately.
But first, let us find out why ants bother to infest the bathroom drains and sinks.
Can Ants Come Up Through Your Bathroom Drain?
Yes, ants can come up through the plumbing and enter your bathroom through the opening of the bathroom sink drain.
It goes without saying but ants are really tiny and their size allows them mobility across the tiniest of openings. Ants usually move in groups or rather in lines to look for food. The workers of an ant colony are responsible for food gathering and they are quite focused to say the least.
As long as they can smell food, they will move forward in that direction unless killed.
They use their sense of smell to detect sources of nourishment and the bathroom has plenty of such sources that ants call food.
The pipelines and the drain connect the inside of your house to the outer world and in other words the pipes are an open and direct passage into your home via the bathroom sink drain. Moreover, the drain also is a source of water that attracts the ants towards it.
After showering, we flush down the excess water mixed with our body odor, and dead skin, as well as the soap or shampoo. Ants in the bathroom sink drain and the shower drain get nourishment from all of these; they thus follow the scent and crawl upwards along the pipes to the mouth of the drains and come out of the sink.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom Sink?
Before we begin, know that pouring acid and chemicals down the sink drain is not a good idea to get rid of ants and insects in general. The chemicals will kill the ants but they will also corrode the pipe and pollute the water thus doing more damage than good.
There are a few other alternatives that you can try to get rid of ants in the bathroom sink.
Indoor Insect Sprays
Insect-repellent sprays are a foolproof way to get rid of ants.
You can spray it directly on moving ants or you can spray it on the bathroom sink where the ants are mostly spotted. In any case, the ants on coming in contact with the toxic chemicals that the spray is made of will die off quickly.
If you can locate the spot of the ant nest, you can spray the repellant directly inside it, this will kill the reproductive ants if any and also stop further infestation.
The only downside to this is that it is quite toxic and if you have little children or pets at home, you need to make sure that they don’t inhale or consume any insect-repellant spray. It can be lethal if consumed in large amounts.
Ants, although they are living creatures, do not feel pain the same way other creatures do. Their anatomy does not include any pain receptors, and therefore they have no ability to feel any pain when harmed. However, there are certain smells that cause an irritating sensation in their respiratory system.
The smell of kerosene can be considered strong even by human standards so of course ants are irritated by it. When ants get exposed to the smell of kerosene, they cannot inhale the regular amount of oxygen from the air because of the strong smell of kerosene oil.
Lack of oxygen eventually suffocates them to death.
Keep the sink Dry
Ants need water to survive and thus they seek moisture. Surely then, removing the water source from an area can make the ants visit it less. But this is not totally possible for a sink, as using it for water is the very point of it.
But sinks can and should be kept dry when not being used.
The water faucets that keep dripping water into the mouth of the drain thus need to be fixed. Any other leaks, such as the plumbing also have to be mended to avoid the unnecessary accumulation of water in and around the sink.
Ants mostly come out when they can sense that there is no predator around to hinder their path, which is most applicable for nights. So the sink must be kept dry especially then.
Cover the drains when not used
There is a half and half chance whether the ants that you keep seeing around the bathroom sink have entered the bathroom through the sink drain or not as there are plenty of other entry points such as the window, cracks in the wall and such but the sink cannot be overlooked either.
Therefore, cutting off their access and entry points is a good place to start when getting rid of the ants ingesting your bathroom. Drain caps are made of metal or fiber and you can find one at the nearest hardware stores.
Covering the drains overnight will make sure no new ants enter and the ones you spot after are all the ants that have already nested inside the bathroom. Now, all you have to do is locate the nest and spray it with some mild insecticide.
If you do not have insecticide then very hot water will have the same effect because ants die very easily, unlike other insects like cockroaches and moths.
Talking about scents that repel ants, cinnamon also happens to have tremendous effects but it does not kill ants as kerosene does. At best it can clear an area off ants.
Cinnamon sticks will not be effective and you need powdered cinnamon for the purpose. Powdered cinnamon is available but there is no point in wasting packaged condiments to kill ants. Instead, you can just ground some sticks using a mixer and sprinkle the powder on the prime spots of ant infestation.
Once you are done using the sink for the day, sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon powder on the mouth of the drain.
If the ants have already formed a nest inside the wooden component of the bathroom sink, then you can sprinkle some cinnamon powder there as well.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Ants derive nourishment from junk such as dead skin and such that sticks to the side of the sink drain pipe, it will do well to clean that up.
Mix half a cup of vinegar and baking soda in a container and once the mixture starts bubbling, pour it directly inside the drain.
The solution will clean up the accumulated junk inside the pipe.
Wait for twenty minutes and repeat the above process. After a further ten minutes, pour some boiling hot water inside the drain. This will clean up the pipe completely and kill any ants inside.
These are very efficient and can wipe out entire colonies of ants in mere one or two days. The bait will be some food crumbs you have to provide, laced with the actual toxic ant bait.
The feeding and who takes the crumb back to the nest will be spreading the toxin among the others thus killing all of the ants in one nest.
Why are ants coming out of my Bathroom sink?
So why do ants choose the bathroom sink of all places?
Let us see.
Ants need water for sustenance like all living beings. Ants in the bathroom sink come looking for water from the sink itself or from the mouth of the water faucet which sometimes leaks water if not closed properly.
In many households, keeping the bathroom floor dry is not mandatory but this also means that the drains are always wet. Ants are attracted to this wetness and moisture, as this makes the perfect situation for them as they can quench their thirst from the bathroom floor whenever they want.
After water, the most important thing for an ant is food. They forage for food all summer as they cannot move out of their nests in the severe biting cold. Thus they need to gather food to eat at present as well as food to stock up for winter.
Ants in the shower drain and the bathroom sink are often there because they are attracted to the wastewater flushed down the drain that contains dead skin cells, your body odor, hair, bodily discharge, excretion etc.
In addition to water, the bathroom sink and drain may contain other food sources for ants. Some of these are – shower drain sludge in plumbing, junk like fungus, mold, or dead skin that accumulates in the shower, dirt and other edible material, organic body wash or shampoos that may contain animal fat as an ingredient, etc.
Ants can detect all of the above using their sense of smell and thus the presence of the mentioned food sources as well the presence of water attracted ants toward the bathroom sinks.
Ants infest inside wood although they do not derive any nourishment from it like termites. However, what ants do is destroy the wood from its core to build a nest inside.
It is expected that the wooden components of a bathroom sink may come in contact with water. This may cause the wood to rot from within. Carpenter ants especially look for this type of rotting wood as it is softer and easier for them to chew through using their strong jaws.
Carpenter ants can be easily spotted. The average one is ⅜ to ½ inches long. The sizes of one species vary according to what role they have in the colony, i.e, major and minor worker ants. Queens are larger than the males and major worker ants also are larger than the normal ants of the colony.
Locating the ant nest and killing all the ants is easier than continually flushing away tiny ants in the bathroom sink. Since they have nested inside the wood, they mean to look for food so baiting ants by dropping some food crumbs can draw them outside.
If you follow where they disappear off to, you can easily spot the nest.
While foraging for sustenance is important, so is maintaining the population and ants do that by laying eggs. Like other insects, ants too look for a safe place for laying eggs. This is why the vicinity of a bathroom sink is such a popular spot for ant infestation as it gives them easy access to food and water.
If you spot very tiny ants around the bathroom sink which are also flying, then make sure to kill the ant as it is a reproductive ant which is trying to locate a good spot to lay the eggs.
Ants with wings are not a different species but the ones that have reached sexual maturity and are about to lay eggs. They lose their wings after they lay the eggs.
Moreover, the bathroom sink is also where the newest members of the ant colony can access food and water from. Which is why ants prefer such a spot.
If you try all of these DIY methods and yet the ants keep appearing, then the infestation has reached a point that is far beyond your capability to handle it.
If that is the case, call a professional exterminator who will bring in appropriate tools and chemicals to deal with the ants once and for all.