Ants in the Keurig Means No Coffee in the Momma

If I seem a little stabby today, it’s because my caffeine levels are low. You see, there are ants in my Keurig.

(Not the Keurig in question. Because that would be gross.)


Now, apparently if you live somewhere sugar ants can be a problem, this is NOT an altogether unusual thing, at least not according to Google. (Also – you probably found this post after a Google search, and I’m sorry, because the results it provides are kind of gross.)

Let me back things up a bit.

Last week, I noticed the occasional, teeny, tiny sugar ant wandering on my desk. I would promptly dispatch him from his simple life, then clear off my desk in a panic trying to figure out where he had wandered from, subsequently dispatching a second lonely ant in a similar, squishy manner. I still have not discovered from whence they appeared in my desk area, but I never saw more than two at a time. Apparently, like women headed for the restroom, they travel in pairs.

Saturday morning, I found a few wandering around the kitchen counter adjacent to my desk. There would now be a group three – I guess they bring a friend further afield – but they wandered in the same two foot space, not venturing to either the sugar bowl or the muffins in a bakery container. They seemed to be appearing from the outlet by the Keurig. Since the pest control guys were due a visit that coming Monday, I made a mental note to let them spray the outside of the house and I’d continue to squish ants as they appeared, and viciously wipe down the counters with vinegar (because apparently, this wiped away any trace of pheromones they left behind).

Side note:  I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for which I take medication that requires me to wait an hour before eating or drinking anything to assure proper absorption. This means that I must wait an hour after rising before I can take my first blessed sip of coffee. That first sip of coffee is very much-anticipated by myself and my family.

On Monday morning I joyfully approach my coffee machine at the appointed time – only to notice after brewing that first sacred cup that sugar ants have decided to take a swim in my Keurig reserve tank. I doubt, actually, that a swim was the original plan as bobbing at the top of the water was a little, M&M sized blob of ants, crawling on top of each other so as not to drown.

And yes, they were IN my Keurig tank? That had me spewing coffee into the sink, eyeing the remaining contents for travelers. Was that a random coffee ground or a corpse? The cup’s contents went down the drain. I dumped the tank, cleaned it out well, sprayed down the counter and outside of the pot with more vinegar.

The plan of attack.

The pest control people soon arrived and sprayed the exterior, saying this was the time of year they head inside to nest before the temperature dropped too much.

When they had departed, I eyed my Keurig. It was, once again, again a Club Med for ants. I was not happy. I sprayed the kitchen again with vinegar. In a room now smelling like a dill pickle, I took to Google like a crazed, uncaffeinated woman with a mission.

Then I became a grossed out, uncaffeinated woman.  At Target, I purchased liquid ant bait, ant traps and an organic “safe for kids” ant repellant.  Oh, and a venti extra shot latte, because I could.

Once home, I doused the countertop with the organic spray. What was that smell? Apparently, oil of clove, rosemary and thyme. (All I needed was patchouli to complete the mix to make it smell like the house I rented my junior year in college.)

What actually worked.

When a single ant raced up and down my freshly sprayed countertop, I chucked the healthy crap to the side and went for the borax, using a Q-tip to spread liquid bait inside the wall behind the outlet cover and then set out a bait trap right.  Remembering that ants supposedly don’t like cinnamon, I poured a semi-circle of spice around the outlet area to contain them.

The Hubs referred to it as the “ring of fire”.


Whatever it takes.

But my Keurig couldn’t continue to serve as a spa for them. I poured a gallon of vinegar into the reserve tank and went through the whole descaling process. And then ran water. And more water. Still smelling of vinegar, I bagged it all up in a garbage bag, sealed the top and tossed it in the other room.

Today is day two of the ant trap and I’ve seen but one lost ant wandering around. I threw out another bait trap for good measure. Google tells me it could take up to two weeks to kill the teeny bastards.

Which is why, as I type, I am brewing espresso in the Bialetti Moka I forgot about in a high cabinet.


Two weeks feel like a mighty long time.

And if you should stop by for a visit?

You’re welcome to bring me a latte.


  • Emily Tail

    I discovered ants in my kuerigg 2.0 reservoir. I wasn’t going to trash my kuerigg so I just started squishing them and washing them off. They were scrambling everywhere and honestly they made the mistake of keeping me from my cup of Joe so I killed their colony. Then I planted and traps and squish any more I see.

  • Pinky

    idk it seems to be a long of read to find your solution . i had NP til i purchased one with a reservoir again. time to call keurig fir a replacement

    • Jenn Belden

      Um, sorry? I’m a wordy girl at times but I’m just trying to help. I’m also a humor writer and this is a blog dedicated to laughing at the shit that life sends us.

      But, with your delightful response in mind, I added subheadings AND I took out the links that some douchebag hacker dropped into my page, so thanks for bringing this post to my attention.

      Also thanks SO much for stopping by to spread sunshine.

  • arlene

    I had my coffee this morning only to see AFTER I drank 2 cups my Keurig was loaded with ants! I also have Hashimotos and only wait half hour for my coffee out of dire necessity lol! Needless to say my beloved Keurig is in trash and I am on my way to Kohls for new one!!

  • Wendy

    First of all, thank you all for your help. I found a little monsters in my machine today! I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned etc. I have sprayed everything down. Since I live in the south, I’m sure they’re coming in for cooler. My question is, is it OK to put the whole unit in the freezer? Will it hurt?lFirst of all, thank you all for your help. I found a little monsters in my machine today! I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned etc. I have sprayed everything down. Since I live in the south, I’m sure they’re coming in for Coulier. My question is, is it OK to put the whole unit in the freezer? Will it hurt The power cord? Help!

  • Marisa

    Oh my goodness. I feel your pain. I have an 11 month old, just found over a dozen hanging out in the reservoir tank not my coffee I said! I’m at a loss & trying to figure out other alternatives for one cup of coffee in the am.

    • Jenn

      Oh my goodness…the timing is just cruel!!!
      I am a coffee junkie, so I have a French press and a regular pot and a(stovetop) Moka to make espresso.

      Whether you replace your machine (desperate times and you have a baby) keep an eye on your countertop and see if you can figure out where they are coming from because you need to get rid of those ants!!

  • Barbara

    well heck …. I have a tiny floating party in my water reservoir and have taken them out. Now you have made me AFRAID to open my Keurg up because of what I might find!

    • Jenn

      Oh no!!! Drain that puppy and wrap it up for a week (and check your counter to see if you can locate where they are coming from.) Then give it a good “de-mineralization” with vinegar. (Screw the mineral deposits, just flush out the ants.)

      Good luck!

      • Mary Gerken

        OMG, this is a thing.? We had the counter around the Keurig crawling with tiny black ants on Sat. The K spent the night outside, temps were down to 28F. Brought it back in, two days later still finding them in and around K. Sprayed household Raid and they are curling up from that residual. Also set out Terra traps. Gross!

  • Marni

    Thank you for posting a somewhat funny story to help me through a horrendous ant find! I too would find a one or two or even three straggler never to question why? but just to end their journey. Then, and I don’t know why, I moved the thing….the Keurig…and it happened… The mother load! I screamed, they screamed, we all scattered and when I again realized I am bigger then they are, even if there are more, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. So now, I am here, drinking my lemon water, Googling something I never even considered for a minute..ants, while my Keurig sits in the sink, because I can catch them if they come out. My clothes are changed, my hair has been shaken, and I am once again breathing. Not that I am generally afraid of one or two ants, but I found a million! I feel dumb for it never having occurred to me that ants would be there. I only plug it in once a day and then unplug it and I clean it and under it so it must have happened quickly. I am not sure I will ever be able to use this Keurig again at this point and I will question my coffee for a very long time. Just Ugh! So thanks again to writing a story that was humorous for me to calm myself and finish off that clear lemon water with! 🙂

    • Nicole l

      Well I have to say this exact thing happen with my coffee maker I was grossed out I couldn’t imagine where all of the colony of ants came from I just tossed it out I would like any feed back why are they nesting in these machine no place else but the whole top where you take the lid off to pour the water invested any comments – help I tossed it n order a new

      • Jenn

        For us, it was summer and very dry, and they were looking for water. They were sneaking in through the outlets (ew) and straight to the Keurig, because it was the closest source.

        The pest control people told us that they travel along plumbing and electrical conduit when they get in the house looking for moisture – and sugar. (They also overran my favorite flavored vinegar.).

  • Jennifer

    After reading your amusing story I felt it necessary to advis you that those teeny little buggers are up inside the outside of the Kureg too.

    I too went through the descaling process and found several of them up inside the workings.
    Then I got an idea. I had just bought cans of air for spraying off keyboards for cleaning.
    I sprayed air up inside only to find hundreds of them coming out.
    I’ve been discovered if you hold the can upside down it sprays a freezing type of liquid up inside and that seem to have stun them enough to knock them out.
    So I spent several hours this morning freezing and bumping them out of the external part.
    I then bagged the Keurig up into a plastic bag and sealed it tightly and I’ll reopen that another day when I I’m brave enough. I put it all out in the cold hopefully that will kill them and I can get my Keurig back.
    Meanwhile back to the old drip coffee maker. Old Reliable

    • Jenn

      I bagged up my Keurig tightly after emptying all the water and left it for TWO WEEKS in a cold garage.
      I haven’t seen any since – and I had my pest control company come treat all the outlets they were pouring out of. The bigger issue was them moving INTO my house to begin with! Thanks for the head up though!

  • Kathi

    I feel your pain. All of what you have described happen with me and my beloved Keurig. Sorry but this is going to gross you out…after going through the vinegar etc and making an emergency call to Kevin the ant guy I did a little exploring. I had already decided I could not drink coffee from my Keurig again so I got out my trusty tools and took the bottom of the coffee maker off. It is very dry and free of any type of food yet there they were… hundreds of little ghost ants piled up on top of each other I took it outside at this point and started spraying it down. That’s when I saw the Queen Ghost ant. They were making themselves at home in the Keurig nursery. It was by far one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen not to mention disappointing. So if you have this problem don’t stop at the reservoir… keep looking!!”

    • Jenn

      I called out the pest control service and we treated the outlet they were coming in from. Then we emptied the tank, bagged up the Keurig and moved it away from the kitchen. I put about a gallon of vinegar once there was no sign of them to clean out the tank itself, just in case (and in case any ant poison made its way in there.)

      But Ugh. Yeah, now I’m grossed out!!!

  • Jason Bjornsson

    My wife and I just had this experience with our Keurig! For several weeks, I qactaully thought it was just one inside the machine. The other night we went to make tea, and it was infested! We Googled the problem, and one user advide to place the machine in a sealed garbage bag in the freezer for 2 days. We did this, and I then cleaned the entire unit, and ran vinegar through the mechanism. We have now placed the Keurig in a tray surrounded by cinnamon. These ants are are a small species that I had not seen before.

    • Jenn

      The ants are awful – here, they live in the walls so make sure you treat the source. (Ours were sneaking in from an outlet.) Thanks for reading!

  • Lin

    Oh my goodness! I would likely lose my mind altogether as well! We had terrible ants a couple years ago but thankfully they never got inside my Keurig (that I know of).

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