Here is a compilation of steps on how to get rid of sugar ants. Find out tips to control these insects from home.
This species of ants are attracted to all sweet things including sugar, which explains the reason they are named, Sugar Ants.
Finding one or two of these ants isn’t reason enough to get rid of them. Most people will seek urgent ant control solutions when an infestation is full-blown.
However, this doesn’t stop you from taking early action in controlling sugar ants. Taking steps against little problems help keep insect problems in check.
Whenever there’s anything sweet around, sugar ants won’t be far away, unless of course they are gotten rid of. These simple creatures are common around homes and can become intolerable in their numbers.
Whatever the severity of your sugar ant problem, this article serves as a guide as it provides helpful tips to get rid of the problem.
Sugar Ants: What Are They?
While it may seem too obvious for many, lots of people still confuse sugar ants with other ant types. Generally speaking, sugar ants are referred to as any species of ants that get attracted by sweet or sugary substances. These may differ from one location to another.
However, their attraction to sugar and other sweet foods or beverages will qualify them as sugar ants.
The appearance of sugar ants ranges from light brown to yellow to light red. While some species of ants do not bite or sting, others do. Those that bite aren’t poisonous and only leave a bump which can sometimes be slightly itchy.
So, now you know. Let’s get to the next point which deals with the origin of sugar ants.
Where Do Sugar Ants Come From?
A pest problem such as the presence of sugar ants raises pertinent questions about their origins.
Answers to this question are vital in finding a lasting solution to the problem. The simple answer to the origins of sugar ants is that they get into your home from outside.
The points through which these pests get into homes are through cracks on foundations, and poor seals on doors leading outside. Other entry points include all sorts of utility openings ranging from electrical, phone, and plumbing outlets leading into your home. These, when not properly sealed will always serve as passageways through which they come in.
However, once in, these ants are likely to nest in cracks and crevices. Sugar ants need an incentive to hang around and there are plenty of these wherever humans live. To fight back an infestation, you’ll need to block tiny entry points around your home. These include spaces beneath doors and windows too.
The next step will be to exterminated those within. Now, there are many ways to get rid of sugar ants as you’ll find here. More on this will be covered shortly.
Are Sugar Ants Dangerous?
There’s little information if at all there are about dangers posed by sugar ants. Though they aren’t known to pose any danger, they may bite. But their bites aren’t known to cause any health problems.
However, there might be irritations or adverse reactions to their bites in isolated cases. Other than that, sugar ants won’t pose significant risks.
These insects travel in large groups. This includes scouts who map out food sources with their pheromones. Several actions can be taken to cause them to retreat.
Damage Caused by Sugar Ants
The entire activities of sugar ants are focused on food.
While this may seem harmless, it can make your home messy. When a food source is indoors, they flock in their numbers. This results in the transfer of all sorts of things like dirt and bacteria.
But are they taking these out? Well, not exactly. While this may seem so, you are likely to find this dirt and bacteria on shelves, in-room corners, and in other areas within your home.
This situation can be challenging especially when you have a full-blown infestation. You will need to take back control of your home for lasting relief.
This guide contains enough sugar ant extermination methods you’ll need to achieve this as you’d find out shortly.
Early Detection is Necessary
To get rid of sugar ants, you need to detect the problem early enough.
This will require paying attention when cleaning your home. Sugar ants will always be seen around food sources. Your kitchen, store, and dining areas are the most likely spots to find them.
Although you may not see the entire colony, you’d find a few scouts busy mapping out food sources. These should be your focus. They release pheromones which will linger until the others arrive.
Your best bet is to avoid the problem by cleaning such areas. This eliminates such scents and keeps them away. Early detection plays a crucial role in controlling their activities.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in the Home
Focusing on the main subject of our discussion, getting rid of sugar ants can be done in several ways. These will be categorized under preventive treatments as well as exterminating an existing problem.
Both are very vital to keeping your home free of these pests.
All hope isn’t lost if you are discovering a sugar ant problem too late. This section also discusses some home remedies to get rid of sugar ants.
You will find the best ways to handle a difficult sugar ant problem. Plus, keeping them out after taking charge. In other words, preventive measures will be included.
Sugar Ant Prevention
Preventive treatments for sugar ants can be done to avoid having the problem in the first place. It also can be carried out after treating an existing infestation. This strategy of getting rid of sugar ants saves you the stress of having to deal with a full-blown infestation.
There are several preventive methods and they include the following;
i. Kitchen Sinks Should Be Kept Clean And Dry
A simple task as keeping your kitchen sinks clean and dry goes a long way in preventing sugar ants.
Apart from sweet food residue which is likely to be left behind, sugar ants also love moisture. Such ideal conditions can be eliminated by washing your kitchen sink clean and drying it.
All food residue should be washed down with plenty of water. You might want to go a step further by adding a little bleach down the sink drain followed by some water.
This helps neutralize rotten food odor. Thus limiting the likelihood of sugar ants coming around.
ii. Use Strong And Secure Garbage Bags
Your garbage is a potential hotspot for sugar ant activity. This is due to several reasons, one of which includes disposed of sugary foods and substances being disposed of plus fruit juices that might leak through a punctured hole.
Using strong and secure bags for your garbage limits the likelihood of this happening.
Strong garbage bags will only go as far as preventing leaks that attract sugar ants. However, disposing of your garbage as frequently as possible will help create less incentive for sugar ants to come around.
iii. Clean Kitchen Counter Tops Each Night
Your kitchen countertops can be inviting for sugar ants when left dirty.
Consider using bleach to wipe down such countertops each night. That way, you’ll be eliminating all likely food sources in addition to disrupting their ability to home in on food sources using their pheromones.
Doing this each night not only prevents sugar ants from coming around, but it also helps prevent other pests like roaches and rodents among others.
iv. Clean Your Kitchen And Dining Area Each Night
Food particles are likely to be found in the kitchen and dining areas.
Floors especially should be swept clean and mopped each night before going to bed. This decreases the incentive for sugar ants to nest around your home. Bleach is an important cleaning agent you should use each time you mop the floors.
Vacuuming can be of great help as it sucks in all tiny food particles. This should be done before mopping the floor. The kitchen and dining area are the primary targets because food is prepared and served there.
v. Wipe Off Spills Immediately
Spills should be cleaned immediately as these serve as a source of attraction for sugar ants.
Beverage spills when left unattended, serves as an attraction for sugar ants to feast on. Never underestimate the degree of the spill. No matter how little, these pests get alerted and come in droves.
Preventive measures can be adopted at any point. That is, to forestall an infestation, to help prevent an existing situation from worsening, (while treatment is going on), and after exterminating these pests.
Sugar Ant Extermination
Having discussed prevention as one of the most effective ways to keep sugar ants at bay, it will be necessary to also consider a scenario with an existing infestation. In the first category, we dwelt on a situation where there isn’t an ongoing problem.
For a lot of people, sugar ant infestation is noticed after it has become full-blown. However, there are lots of ways to eliminate such pests. They include;
So, how does sugar ant extermination work? This is discussed in the following section;
Sweep and Mop your Kitchen Floors
Your kitchen is the ground zero of sugar ant activity. This is because it is rich in food sources.
While it may not be too evident, even the tiniest food crumbs and sugar is reason enough for their presence. A great way to keep them at bay is by sweeping and mopping your kitchen floors.
This should be done after meals or each morning.
This activity may seem too insignificant, but it does a lot of good. Pheromones released are cleaned up, while visiting sugar ants are left wondering about. They eventually have to fall back due to the absence of food or sugar.
For best results, add some bleach to your mopping water. Apart from its disinfectant properties, it absorbs pheromone smells and helps freshen the air.
Sugar ants are most active in the summertime. This is when your efforts should be doubled.
Baiting is one of the most effective ways to get rid of sugar ants. These baits (home-made or commercial products) are substances that are toxic to these ants and look like food. Baits are made to be slow acting. The purpose is to allow sugar ants to take them back to the whole colony. When the colony feasts on the bait, it decimates their population.
Baits might lead to an unusual and temporary increase in the number of sugar ants around. That is because there’s a rush to join in the feast. Also, certain baits might not give the desired results. There’s a reason for that. Sugar ants might become choosy in certain seasons. Try multiple ant baits for the best results.
Some effective bait products include Terro-Liquid Ant Bait, Advion Ant Gel Insecticide, and Maxforce Ant Bait Gel. Others are AMDRO Bait Stations and Granules, and Termidor Foam. These are a few of several reliable ant bait products that help exterminate sugar ants.
A variety of ant traps have been designed for home use. These are effective on all ant types, including sugar ants. They only need to be placed along paths frequented by such ants.
To make them even more appealing, these traps come with poisoned baits. The baits contain sweeteners that are loved by sugar ants. They poison slowly upon ingestion.
But you need to be careful. This is because you may end up poisoning your kids in the process. Such traps will need to be kept away from them. It’s a well-known fact that kids love sugary substances.
Using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
This substance is made of fossilized algae.
Diatomaceous earth is ideal for exterminating a wide range of insect pests including sugar ants. Food grade diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic compound that is applied by spraying along the sugar ant path or trail.
It works perfectly on sugar ants by cutting their bodies. This leads to death by desiccation. It is also safe around kids and pets as well as being environmentally friendly.
Food grade diatomaceous earth can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments. However, you must be careful especially when using it outside. It becomes useless when wet or moist. Therefore, it should only be sprayed along the perimeter of your home when the weather is dry enough.
Diatomaceous earth can be bought in local stores and requires no technical know-how. You only need to find a sugar ant colony and apply it to them.
But this doesn’t have to be applied directly to them. You can sprinkle this along paths or cracks used by sugar ants. This can be left for as long as you want. When sprinkled along sugar ants’ paths within the home, it must be left to sit for a few hours or an entire day before cleaning off the powder. This can be repeated for a few days.
The results are amazing as it takes care of your pest problems while posing zero risks to your health. This substance must be kept out of reach of children.
When the purpose is achieved, a vacuum machine can be used to clean up the areas.
Borax powder helps get rid of sugar ants in addition to other insect pests. It works by destroying their exoskeletons in addition to their digestive system. This too is a bait and must be mixed with other sweetened food substances that attract sugar ants.
When they return to their nests, the entire colony is affected and becomes exterminated. Borax should be used as instructed on the pack.
A mixture of Mint Jelly and Boric Acid
The boric killer will give you an edge in your fight against sugar ants.
These are readily available products you’d find in stores around you. If you still can find them, you may want to consider the online purchase option.
So, how is this mixture made? You need 8 to 9 ounces of mint jelly in a bowl. Two tablespoons of boric acid should be added to the mint jelly and mixed. That’s it! You’ve just cooked the perfect bait!
This should be placed on masking tape for sugar ants to feast on. This is very effective because it’s slow acting. This means it takes its toll on them slowly.
They can get back to their colonies and mix with the others, thereby infecting or contaminating the rest with the poison.
The result? Sugar ants’ death on a massive scale.
Flood Sugar Ant Nest
Have you been lucky to spot the nest? Finding their nest is important.
If you have, you can use water treatment. By this, we mean flooding their nests with water. You can either use hot or cold water. It’s entirely up to you.
To make it even more effective, consider adding some dish soap to the water. This helps kill them faster.
Continue flooding for at least 5 minutes. This should either kill off all of the colony or a greater part of it. But this method can’t be applied when the nesting area is indoors. It may end up creating a mess.
In such situations, consider using other control methods.
Remove All Food Attractions
So, apart from keeping your home clean, sugar ants will be attracted to pet food.
Removing the food source doesn’t stop ants from finding it right? Well, there’s a way around it. Get a shallow dish and fill it with water. The plate containing your pet food should then be placed inside the water-filled shallow dish.
Sugar ants will drown while trying to reach the pet food. This is a creative way to eliminate and keep food sources out of the reach of sugar ants.
The water you use should be clean enough. This is necessary in case your pet decides to drink from it. So it doesn’t take in contaminated water.
Drowned sugar ants won’t pose any harm to pets when swallowed. Plus, it’s unlikely pets will ingest them.
Wash Dishes and Sinks
Consider doing the dishes after each laundry. This helps keep sugar ants at bay.
Other types of pests like roaches and rodents are discouraged from hanging around. Water should be released after the laundry and the sink properly cleaned.
Sugar ants don’t seek food alone. They also are in search of water. Deny them this attraction by keeping your sink and drainage free of stagnant water.
Are you interested in getting rid of sugar ants without chemicals? This is one good option you should consider.
Sugar ants hate the smell of lemons. This can be used to get rid of them. You can begin by finding all the entry points.
Lemon should then be rubbed along such entrances. These may include window sills, cracks, and door thresholds. It repels them off easily!
Lemon peels can also be placed around entrances. This achieves the same effect on them.
Essential Oil Spray
Essential oils are powerful against several types of pests, including sugar ants. You need to make a mixture of any of these with water and spray along sugar ant paths.
Some of the oils to use include clove oil, vinegar, and lavender.
These oils are effective against a wide range of pests including sugar ants. Mixing any of these with their appropriate carrier oils and spraying onto surfaces and ant trails helps get rid of them fast.
Essential oils have strong scents, in addition to their toxic properties to sugar ants. They help mask pheromone scents, thereby confusing their path to food sources (you have to remove such food sources).
Essential oil spray should be applied as often as needed until the situation improves.
While these give off scents that are disliked by sugar ants, such scents help freshen your home.
Sugar ants will rather stay away from cayenne pepper.
This should be applied or sprinkled along paths most frequented by them. It disorients them and makes them avoid your home. This can be applied as a barrier stopping them from crossing into your home.
But care must be exercised. Cayenne pepper is best used where no pets or kids are moving about. You may end up hurting your darlings.
To get rid of sugar ants, you only need to follow any of the above extermination strategies. However, getting rid of these pests won’t guarantee a sugar ant-free home. Adopting preventive strategies is a sure way to keep them out and stop another infestation in the future.
Are there ways to get rid of sugar ants naturally or otherwise that we have not mentioned? Share using the comment section below.