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Ants in the Microwave--Any Advice?

SchokoladeSchokolade Registered User Posts: 1,111 Senior Member
edited April 2013 in Parent Cafe
I cannot believe that my first new thread is about this, but...

I opened our new (three-week-old) microwave to find about 40 ants crawling around in it. There were no ants outside the microwave until I opened the door. I think that the only place that they could be getting in would be through the vent to the outside. As it is new, there isn't any food buildup to be attracting them.

I've sprayed them with glass cleaner, wiped out the microwave with detergent and water on a paper towel, soaked the glass tray in bleach and water and zapped them for a minute (which had no effect on them). This solved the immediate problem, but what can I do now to keep them away? I can't use pesticide in the vent; we cook food in the microwave.

Any advice?
Post edited by Schokolade on

Replies to: Ants in the Microwave--Any Advice?

  • MommaJMommaJ Registered User Posts: 5,638 Senior Member
    We get an annual ant infestation that seems to settle in our dishwasher. It usually takes multiple visits from a professional to fully wipe out the colony (outside) that is the source. An exterminator will probably spray the side of the house around the vent and then around the foundation, plus lay poisoned bait to be taken back to the nest. I don't think you're going to be able to resolve this without spending some money for a pro. Good luck!
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,355 Senior Member
    No need to hire a pro when you can do the outdoor spraying et al yourself. Remember the airflow is one way- air from inside goes outside so the bait and exterior spray shouldn't be a problem. Check with your installer - should be under warranty for ant proofing if they didn't seal things properly (and if self installed, redo the job).
  • collegeshoppingcollegeshopping Registered User Posts: 1,935 Senior Member
    I am not so sure I would spray ant spray in the microwave...just a bit too chemically to me...but I would turn it on for five minutes or so. Certainly they can't survive that? Heck maybe that is just too cruel...but I guess spray is too if you are going to play the PETA card. Ants, scorpions and spiders get no mercy here. Maybe a trap under the microwave?
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    Steam is pretty much fatal to most organisms, so I'd boil a cup of water in the microwave for a while. I might add a little vodka or other spirits to it, because alcohol is also pretty much fatal, especially when heated. But I would NOT use anything I wasn't willing to eat.
  • dragonmomdragonmom Registered User Posts: 5,632 Senior Member
    I think that the only place that they could be getting in would be through the vent to the outside

    Investigate in your kitchen, but I have never had a microwave vent outside. My current one and the predecessors have a fancy-schmancy metal surround that has a little vent at the top and hides the fact that they are just plug-in normal microwaves within nice cabinets.

    We had a bad ant invasion this fall (just after DD2 who loved sweetening her tea with agave nectar moved back to college...) Baited traps finally did it for us. You have to be patient and accept that there will be more ants for a while.

    Yuck, hoping you have a quick resolution!
  • mafoolmafool Registered User Posts: 6,453 Senior Member
    Are these little sweet eating ants or big carpenter ants?
  • SchokoladeSchokolade Registered User Posts: 1,111 Senior Member
    Thank you so much for all of your responses!

    My replies, in approximately reverse order: The ants are sugar ants.
    This microwave truly vents to the outside, although it is designed to work either way.
    We installed the microwave but not the vent ourselves, as the microwave was a replacement.
    Boiling water in the microwave had no effect (but I didn't think to try alcohol; all I have is cooking wine but I could try it).
    The pest control service sprayed the outside two weeks ago and the kitchen last week, to no avail, which is why I thought I'd ask for other ideas.
    This is reassuring, and I hadn't thought of this:
    Remember the airflow is one way- air from inside goes outside so the bait and exterior spray shouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks again for all your ideas! I might just have to call the pest control service out again! Probably poisoned bait is the way to go.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Registered User Posts: 8,573 Senior Member
    I just had an ant invasion in my microwave about the time this thread was posted. I took care of them with Windex (which kills on contact), cleaned it out real well and then checked it again in a few minutes. There were more ants in it when I checked again and I could see they were coming in some of the little holes in the top of the interior of the microwave. Ants can access the microwave through the vent but they might also be going through the walls of the house and coming through tiny openings in the microwave enclosure. Since I had no way to get those I did use ant spray inside of it but just a couple of tiny squirts at the vent holes inside the top of the microwave. I then left it like that for an hour or so since this stuff (Hot Shot - it doesn't smell awful like Raid) has the lingering effects unlike the Windex. After the hour there were pretty much no more ants coming in through the vent holes so I cleaned it all out again with a wet rag and more Windex to get rid of any ant spray residue. That pretty much took care of the microwave.

    We were then assaulted on many fronts by ants. I then went outside with the good ant spray mix we make that doesn't kill them all right away but rather, they're supposed to take it back to the nest and take care of business. This worked pretty well and since then (a few days elapsed) we've had only minor insurgencies which I've fought back and things are a bit better now.

    I have had the ants working for me a few times though. I seem to get a lot of beehives in my house (walls outside) and I'm reluctant to kill the bees because I want them to pollinate my fruit trees so I don't spray them. However, as long as I don't all-out kill all the ants they'll often eventually find the beehive at which point an ant bee battle (no - not that Aunt Bee and this isn't Mayberry) commences. The battle can go on for weeks but usually the ants win because for every bee there are a thousand ants. Eventually the bees will abandon the hive and swarm away. At that point I let the ants feast for a few weeks or more and then I have to break into the wall and take out all the hive material (loaded with ants) to get rid of it and then build the wall back. If there's any hive material left in the wall the bees will find it within a few months and will keep checking it out for years and move back in if they can find a tiny opening.

    Note on the microwave - they seem to have no effect on ants. I haven't tried running it for a half hour to see if that does anything but I wouldn't be surprised if it had no effect. An ant must have little water in it which is what the target resonant frequency of microwaves is in order to heat things (which is why paper doesn't heat up in a microwave).
  • pds314pds314 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    microwave them?

    Ants can't last more than a couple minutes without exceptional hot-spot-dodging skills, and often last only 10-30 seconds.
  • lullababylullababy Registered User Posts: 841 Member
    I live in a desert, so we get ants a lot in winter. We get them in our kitchen counter by the sink/dishwasher/microwave area too. We put a buncha baby powder on the edges of the window, around the microwave, and it works. Apparently this messes up the ant's trail scents or they don't like the scent or something, but it def. keeps them away.

    Find out where the ants are entering and if you can, put baby powder in that area!
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member

    We had ants in the basement a few years ago. I asked here and the recommendation was Terro. I used it and ants were gone after two weeks. These are for sugar ants. We had carpenter ants several years ago and we had a professional exterminator in for that. Similar approach though. He put some stuff in the false ceiling, ants took it back to the queen and they were all gone or dead in a week.
  • opera-momopera-mom Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    I would also advise looking outside the house for rotting wood whether it be on the house or landscape ties, etc. I have found nests of them in those place and have used insecticide on the and replaced the bad spots...also use terro inside the house which works well but takes a few days.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 52,134 Senior Member
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,444 Senior Member
    Our microwave vents outside also. DH would NOT buy one that recirculated filtered air. We have never had ants in it, but we do have ants in our house sometimes. We have a great exterminator who sprays for us (yes I know I could do this...not interested). That being said...if you have ants in the microwave, there are ants somewhere else. I personally would want to eliminate the nest...and I would call a professional.

    Agree, check the installation.

    I have had good luck keeping aunts off of surfaces (before I got my granite) using a vinegar wash. I wonder if boiling a cup of vinegar/water in your microwave might help.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,337 Senior Member
    We get ant invasions sometimes, but generally putting ant killer around the perimeter of the house does the trick pretty quickly. Our microwave vents outside, also, but never found ants in the microwave....that is ick. Another thing my H does is not allow any bushes, wood, tree branches mulch etc. 'touch' the house which seems to keep the crawly critters from being inside.
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