How can I keep ants from living in my grill?
July 3, 2008 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Ants make colonies in my new gas grill. How can I keep them from moving in when the burners are off?

A couple of weeks ago, I replaced my gas grill. I use it once a week or so, and last week when I pulled off the cover, there was a colony of ants living between the space between the cover and the top of the grill. The ants scrambled to rescue eggs and larvae as I brushed them away. Once they were gone, I grilled with no ill effects.

Last night, 3-4 days since the last grilling, I went to use the grill again. This time the ants had taken up residence in the space between the knob panel and the grill box. Eggs, ants, larvae, same as before. Since they were in s tighter space, I hosed them off.

This is borderline gross, and a pain in the neck. It did not happen with the older grill, and I can't find anything online to help, so I turn to MeFi.

The new grill is a Weber Spirit, in black. The old one, also a Weber, was red (like this). I'm using the same cover. Is it possible the darker color attracts ants?

With the new grill, I've been using a wire brush to clean the grilling surface; in the old one, I would run the grill on thigh after I was done in order to carbonize any residue. Since I don't do that anymore, am I leaving behind more food that attracts the ants? I don't see them inside the actual grill box, though.

The new grill has a cabinet underneath; the old one didn't.

The ants are on the large side, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and black.
posted by underthehat to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would go back to running the grill on high and see if that eliminates the problem. (After all, it is an easy test.) They might be nesting in one spot and getting their food from the grill box. Also, try to make sure there is no grease under the grill or on the ground. If it is concrete or wood, I would clean it with something strong smelling to eliminate any scent trails.
posted by metahawk at 7:55 AM on July 3, 2008

A blog I read swears by Terro, although I haven't used it personally.
posted by sharkfu at 7:56 AM on July 3, 2008

Since I don't do that anymore, am I leaving behind more food that attracts the ants?


Sprinkle some ground cloves and/or cinnamon on the dirt/ground/slab around the wheels of your bbq. Some say coffee grounds work too, but I haven't tried that. The cloves/cinnamon is a natural and cheap and eco way to keep them away. Make sure you clean up that drip can/tray area thingamabob too....the dried grease smells sweet to insects.
posted by iconomy at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2008

I think it's nesting time for the ants. It certainly is in my garden right now. The sandbox-on-legs-with-a-lid contraption I built for my son gets colonised about once a week.

I suspect they're looking for a dark, dry place to set up house. Could you possibly attach a grease band around the base of the barbecue? That's the tried-and-tested way to prevent crawling insects from climbing fruit trees/greenhouse shelving/etc.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2008

I second the recommendation of Terro. I've used it a few times and though it takes a week or so, the ants are completely gone afterwards.
posted by perpetualstroll at 8:30 AM on July 3, 2008

Another way is to set each of the legs in a dish of vinegar-water, so they won't climb in; you just have to make sure to keep them full.
posted by GardenGal at 8:31 AM on July 3, 2008

Terro is a great product, but it works by providing a food/poison slurry that the ants collect and bring back to distribute to the queen and the other ants. If you have access to the nest you can probably seek and destroy the queen a little quicker than waiting for Terro to do its thing. They key to keeping the ants from coming back, as others have said, is to clean the legs/wheels of the grill of the trails the ants have left that say "this way to food & the nest!" and then making the inside of the grill inhospitable to them in case they do find their way back. Some cinammon/clove inside the grill lid would probably be enough to keep them from setting up shop there again. Bleach does wonders for obliterating ant trails, and a dusting of Comet is also a pretty good barrier that ants generally won't cross.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2008

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