If you’re a computer user, you might have trouble with ants on your keyboard at some point. Since ants love to nest and build their ant empires inside the keyboards, they can be a real pain. Here’s how to deal with them:
If you see ants on your keyboard, shake the keyboard to disturb ants’ nests. After that, use a vacuum cleaner at a slow speed to suck ants out of the keyboard keys. Continue vacuuming the keyboard until ants keep coming out.
Ants can ruin your whole computer/laptop experience.
But fret not — In this article, I’ll explain the reasons why ants are attracted to your keyboard, and how you can keep them so you can type freely.
How to Know if There Are Ants in Your Keyboard?
To know if your keyboard is infested by ants, look out for dead ants or ants’ feces (also known as frass) coming out of the keyboard. Ant feces look like soft and shaved wooden material loosely bonded together.
If the system’s performance is low, the keys don’t feel normal when pressing and the ants are nearby, have a suspicion of ant infestation.
To verify the ant infestation, you may lure them out of the keyboard by placing a food source such as honey or sugar near the keyboard or the laptop.
Ants simply won’t be able to resist the sweetness of their favorite meal.
Common Reasons Why Ants Are Attracted to Keyboards
There can be a number of reasons for an ant infestation in your room. Here are some common reasons why ants have chosen to infest your keyboard and make it their home:
#1 Food Crumbs Inside the Keyboard
Ants are not picky about what food products you leave out for them. Popular kid snack foods such as juice, chocolate syrup, and cookies can all attract ants to your keyboard.
If you’re fond of eating meals and drinking liquids right on your computer table, food crumbs may fall inside the keyboard or around the working area. Soda spills will also be common. Keyboards can trap fluids and crumbs residue inside. Even if you don’t see them, ants can.
Some people are used to working on the keyboard while eating meals. Their greasy hands cause oil stains on the keycaps, attracting nearby ants.
#2 Light Source for Insects
Since most advanced keyboards emit beautiful LED lights, small insects get attracted to them and often die inside the keyboard body.
Ants are famous predators and love eating dead insects. Hence, they might invade your laptop screen or keyboard to eat those dead insects and end up with lots of nests.
Hence, the ants have a chance to live longer since they are better protected inside the keyboard body.
#3 Temperature Control for Ants
Ants need certain temperature conditions in order to survive and grow well, especially the crazy ants. They are attracted to electronic devices (printers, ovens, etc.) because of the constant amount of heat emission.
A laptop keyboard provides a perfect temperature for nesting and protection.
Don’t put your keyboard in a freezer or refrigerator (with or without a plastic bag) to deter ants as it will cause immense thermal stress on the keyboard. And you can’t 100% ant colonies by freezing.
Keyboards’ structural design is also ideal for ant colonies to thrive, as it has holes and cavities.
#4 Pheromones Released by Dead Ants
If an ant is electrocuted inside your keyboard, pheromones are released, which can attract more ants to dead ants in your laptop.
Pheromones help ants recognize each other and communicate with one another, so they might be attracted by the dead ant’s pheromones — Especially if you use a laptop or PC, especially during the summer season when many pests like ants are out.
Can Ants Ruin Your Keyboard?
Ants can get electrocuted inside the keyboard while wandering under the keys and may cause short circuits. These short circuits will lead to harm your keyboard and sometimes completely ruin it.
If you let the ants roam freely inside the keyboard, they will clean up all the food residuals in it at the cost of risking your keyboard’s life.
Ants can cause keyboard keys to malfunction. The keyboard buttons will keep getting disconnected from the laptop or the desktop.
Ants won’t harm your keyboard from the outside as ants can’t chew through that plastic material and rubber. But by chance, if they get inside, they will surely ruin it.
Let’s discuss how to eliminate ants in the keyboard once and for all.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Keyboards
Here are some practical ways through which you can get rid of ants in a keyboard:
#1 Use an Ant Bait Near the PC
Ants are attracted to the bait. So, place an ant bait in a strategic area near your laptop or desktop and ants will quickly take it to their nest and the bait will eventually exterminate them completely from your keyboard.
Here’s what you will need to do:
- Select the right ant bait.
- Clean up the working area around the keyboard.
- Place the bait near ant trails.
- Use multiple bait placements.
- Leave the bait overnight.
Ants will come out after smelling the aroma of the ant trap and will be instantly killed by the poison.
Here’s my favorite ant bait:
- Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including acrobat, crazy, ghost, little black, odorous house, pavement, and other sweet-eating ants
- Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants discover the bait, they share it with the rest of the colony to eliminate them all
- Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the number of ants visiting the bait stations within just a few days
- Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants, and eliminate the entire colony
- Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where you’ve seen ant activity including along baseboards, in corners, on counters, and more
You can also create a DIY bait for ants by mixing Borax with sugar or honey until it looks like a syrup.
#2 Use an Insect Dust on the Keyboard
- Effectively Kills Insects - Kills ants (including fire & carpenter ants), cockroaches, spiders and other insects
- Waterproof Formula - The waterproof dust won't wash in the rain
- Fast Acting & Long Lasting - This dust kills insects on contact and provides long-lasting residual control, continuing to kill pests for up to 8 months
- Easy to Apply - The convenient shaker canister allows for both scatter and widespread application
- Use Indoors & Outdoors - Apply in cracks and crevices, around perimeters and foundations, in crawls spaces and wall voids, in flower beds, and directly on ant hills
You can also choose insect dust to kill ants on your keyboard.
Don’t sprinkle the powder on the keyboard. Instead, use it on the area around. Insect dust can malfunction the keys and may force them to stop working.
Since it’s a chemical-based item, I would recommend taking all the necessary pesticide precautions.
Do NOT use any liquid insecticides (ant-sprays) on the keyboard as they can cause water damage.
#3 Shake the Keyboard
If the ants haven’t heavily infested your keyboard yet, you can simply get rid of them by shaking the keyboard a few times. By doing that, ants will be scared and will start coming out after a few attempts.
However, If you have got a laptop keyboard, I won’t suggest shaking it as it can disrupt the internal components and hard drive (especially when it’s turned on).
#4 Vacuum the Ants Out
If none of the above ways work, you would have to vacuum the ants out of the keyboard manually with a vacuum cleaner.
Use the vacuum cleaner at a low speed and constantly move the vacuum cleaner brush back and forth at a few intervals. Let it run until you’re finished cleaning out all ants from your keyboard with a vacuum.
#5 Place Few Garlic Cloves Near the Keyboard
As ants hate garlic smell, you can use a few slices of minced regular-sized raw garlic cloves near the keyboard to repel ants. Its smell will disgust ants and they will relocate their nests to a new location.
Alternatively, you can also use citrus peels, cinnamon, eucalyptus, vinegar, or peppermint.
I also wrote this blog post: Does Windex Kill Ants? Here’s the Answer
How to Remove Ants in a Mechanical Keyboard?
Follow these steps to remove ants in a mechanical keyboard:
- Take your mechanical keyboard outside the house.
- Disassemble your keyboard.
- Blow ants away with an aero duster.
- Clean the food crumbs and other residuals.
- Reassemble the keyboard.
Here’s the recommended duster spray:
- Removes dust, lint and other contaminants from hard to reach areas
- Ideal for cleaning cups, keyboards, computer mice, and workstations
- Also great for cleaning items around the home including collectibles, figurines and window blinds
- 100% ozone safe, contains no cfcs, huffs, propane or butane
- 10 oz. cans, last extra longer
If you want to keep your keyboard away from ants’ domination, I would highly recommend cleaning your keyboard regularly and not eating or drinking nearby.