How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants [5 Natural Remedies]

Infographic of a woman looking at sugar ants on her counter

Sugar ants are a common household pest that can be difficult to deal with. But with the right approach, you can get rid of them and keep them away for good. In this blog post, we’ll cover different steps you can take to protect your home from sugar ants and prevent future infestations.

What Do Sugar Ants Look Like?

Sugar ants are small, red-brown in color, and measure between 1-2.5mm in length. Some species may be black or yellowish in color, and they tend to have long antennae, six legs, and an elongated abdomen. Sugar ants are also commonly confused with other species of ants, such as fire ants or crazy ants.

What is the Difference Between a Sugar Ant and a Black Garden Ant?

Sugar ants are usually smaller than black garden ants, with adult sugar ants measuring between 2-3 mm in length. Sugar ants have light brown to yellowish bodies and long antennae, while black garden ants have darker bodies with short antennae. Black garden ants also build nests more often than sugar ants and are generally more aggressive when defending their nests.

Signs You Have Sugar Ants

Infographic of woman looking and trying to figure out if she has sugar ants

Now that you know what sugar ants look like, here are a few telltale signs that you might have sugar ants: 

  • Small brown or black ants in your home
  • Seeing trails of small ants near food sources, such as crumbs or pet food bowls
  • Sweet-smelling odors coming from corners and crevices of walls or floors
  • Mounds of dirt around window sills or in the garden
  • Carpenter ant sawdust near their entry points

What Causes Sugar Ants

Sugar ants are attracted to sweet, sticky foods and sugary liquids. They are commonly found near food sources such as pet food dishes, spilled liquid drinks, and any other location where they can find a sweet treat. Other factors, such as humidity and temperature, can also influence their presence in homes.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants 

There are a few different ways to get rid of these pesky ants. Keep reading as we go through the steps to take once you realize you have sugar ants. 

Step One – Identify the Source of the Infestation

The first step in getting rid of sugar ants is to identify the source of the infestation. Look for areas around your home that may be conducive to ant habitation—cracks in walls or foundation, unsealed windows, attics or basements, or wood-to-ground contact points like decks and sheds. Once you’ve identified potential sources of infestation, seal up any open spaces with caulk or other materials.

Step Two – Clean Up Existing Sugar Ants

Once you’ve identified and sealed potential sources of infestation, the next step is to clean up existing sugar ants and remove possible food sources from your home. 

Start by using a vacuum cleaner to suck up all visible sugar ants from their hiding places. Then use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe away the remaining residue from surfaces where sugar ants may have been living or feeding. Be sure to also check crevices between floorboards and furniture pieces, as well as window sills and door frames.

Step Three – Try Natural Repellents

Once you’ve cleaned up existing sugar ants and removed possible food sources, you can try natural repellents such as diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is a powder made up of fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic organisms known as diatoms; it creates an abrasive barrier that cuts into ant exoskeletons when they come into contact with it. 

Sprinkle DE around entryways where ants may be entering your home, both outdoors and indoors, if necessary; reapply DE regularly as needed until all signs of the infestation have disappeared. 

Natural Methods to Get Rid of Sugar Ants 

There are also several DIY solutions to get rid of sugar ants with household products you probably already have in your pantry.

Here are a few natural remedies that will put the sugar ants at bay: 

  • Use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle to deter ants from entering your home.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon or peppermint around the perimeter of your house and near any ant hills to act as a natural repellent.
  • Place dried bay leaves at entry points such as windows and doors, as they contain compounds that repel insects like ants.
  • Place orange or lemon peels near entry points, as their scent will also help repel ants.
  • Create a solution of equal parts borax and sugar and place it in areas that sugar ants frequent.

Remove food sources such as crumbs and other residues that may attract ants.

How to Remove Sugar Ant Nests

If you have located a sugar ant nest, here are a few ways to get rid of their nest: 

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the ants and their trails.
  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz on ant hills.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the area, which will kill them when they come into contact with it.
  • Place natural baits such as honey or sugar near the nest, which can attract them away from your home.
  • Implement water traps such as small containers filled with soapy water that they can’t escape from, trapping them within it.

Use Baits & Traps (LINKS)

If you aren’t into the DIY or diatomaceous earth method, you can add baits and traps to eliminate sugar ant infestations. 

Baits are specially formulated foods designed to attract ants, so they carry them back to their colony. When enough ants consume the bait, it will start killing off members of their colony over time until eventually eliminating the entire population. When setting out baits & traps, be sure to place them in areas with high activity, such as near entranceways or near food sources like counters and pantries; this will help ensure that more ants will find them sooner rather than later.

Professional Services

If all else fails – or if you want extra assurance that your pest problem has been properly taken care of – professional services may be what you need. Companies like Terminix offer various treatments, including traditional pesticide sprays as well as bait systems that work on a slow-release schedule over time; this means pests won’t have time to re-colonize after being driven away by pesticides. 

With professional help, you can rest assured knowing that all potential entryways into your home have been securely blocked off while any lingering pests have been effectively removed.

Sugar Ant FAQs 

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to sugar ants. 

Are Sugar Ants Dangerous?

While it is generally safe to be around sugar ants, they can still sting or bite if provoked or cornered, so it is important to take precautions when dealing with them. It’s best to use gloves when handling sugar ants directly and avoid squashing them, as this may cause them to release an unpleasant odor.

Are Sugar Ants More Common in Specific Climates?

Yes, sugar ants are more common in warmer climates with higher levels of humidity. They also tend to be attracted to areas with abundant sugary food sources, such as pet food dishes or spilled liquid drinks.

Will Sugar Ants Go Away on Their Own?

Sugar ants will not typically go away on their own. As they are attracted to sweet and sugary food sources, they will continue to come back unless the source of food is eliminated. Additionally, these ants can easily enter through cracks and crevices, so sealing up any openings to prevent them from entering can be helpful in keeping them out of your home.

How Long Do Sugar Ants Live?

Sugar ants typically live between two and four months. They reproduce quickly, so even if their life cycle is short, the population can still grow rapidly.

Will Sugar Ants Damage Your Home?

Sugar ants are not likely to cause any significant damage to your home, as they usually feed on sources like sugary foods and other sweet treats. However, some species of ants can cause structural damage to wood or even build nests in wall crevices. If left unchecked, a large infestation can be a nuisance and lead to more pest problems in the future.

Bye, Bye Ants!

Getting rid of sugar ant infestations doesn’t need to be difficult, but it does require some knowledge about how they behave and what they’re drawn towards. By following these steps – identifying potential sources of infestations, cleaning up existing colonies/food sources, trying natural repellants like diatomaceous earth (DE), using baits & traps strategically placed around areas high in activity levels, and finally seeking out professional help –you should be able to experience long-term relief from these pesky pests!

Related: Spring Pest Control After Winter Thaw [Plus 10 Common House Pests]

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