How To Get Rid of Sugar Ants (2021 Edition)

Sugar ant is a generic term for a wide range of ant species that prefer sweet foods. They are typically minuscule, but can take over your entire kitchen in a matter of minutes. So, how do you get rid of these pesky little creatures? 

In this helpful ant control guide, you'll learn:

  • How To Eliminate Sugar Ants From Your Home
  • How To Prevent Them From Returning
  • How To Identify the Different Types of Sugar Ants
  • Signs and Causes of Sugar Ant Infestations

If trying to exterminate sugar ants on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.
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How To Get Rid of Sugar Ants 

Eliminating sugar ants from your home is not easy. But it’s possible to get control of them quickly by utilizing the proper guidance. In the following section, our in-house pest control experts provide a step-by-step guide to getting rid of these unwanted pests. 

Step 1. Inspection

To solve your sugar ant problem, it's vital to look everywhere around your home, not just in the areas you currently notice them. 

The first places to inspect are these common locations where ants nest:

  • Kitchen sinks
  • Pantries
  • Laundry rooms
  • Bathrooms

Foraging ants are typically searching for food and water, and for that reason, they may lead you back to their nesting site. 

Step 2. Identification

Identifying the exact ant species is not as crucial as discovering the location of a sugar ant nest. However, ant trails typically lead you there, or at least to the places they enter your home. 

Step 3. Knock Them Out

Ant trails are easy to eliminate. There are some simple DIY home remedies you can try before reaching for the ant killer spray. The good news is, they cost very little to use. 

Start by filling a 32-ounce spray bottle with water, white vinegar, and baking soda. This mixture will kill sugar ants quickly, without any chemical smell. 

If you prefer a pleasant fragrance instead, use essential oils in place of vinegar and baking soda. Peppermint and tea tree oils are the best ones for killing ants, and they’re generally safe for countertops. 

For larger infestations, ant repellent sprays provide quicker killing action. These are potent insecticides that you would use for bed bugs as well. Consequently, it's best to read the label directions carefully before using them. 

Step 4. Utilize Baits To Kill the Ant Colony

The problem with killing just the ants you see on the surface is that they represent only a fraction of the entire colony. It's better to use ant baits instead, and they contain a combination of attractant lures with the killing power of borax.

You can deploy bait stations that resemble ant traps in various locations throughout your home, including:

  • Kitchens
  • Dining rooms
  • Storage closets
  • Pantries
  • Laundry rooms
  • Basements

Liquid ant baits are best for treating sugar ants, while the solid formulations do well for the protein feeders. 

Step 5. Plug the Holes

Now that you have your ants under control, it's time to plug any entry points where they get in. It's a relatively simple process that mainly involves sealing these areas with silicone caulking and will usually solve your ant problem without having to do anything else. 

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How to Prevent Sugar Ants 

Preventing many types of ants from returning to your home requires an integrated pest management approach. That means there are a lot of moving parts to long-term ant control. 

Limit Food and Water

Ants are always in search of food. Dirty dishes, spilled maple syrup on the counter, and overflowing trash cans all contribute to ant problems. So, it’s best to keep indoor areas clean before it becomes a problem. 

Also, it’s preferable to repair leaky plumbing. Excess water can attract ants just as much as the abundance of food. 

Limit Their Access

The best way to keep ants from returning to your home is with mechanical exclusion, a term used by professional exterminators. It allows you to save money long-term on products used to kill ants, and it also frees up time otherwise spent chasing these annoying pests. 

It’s best to start with the largest potential entryways and work your way toward smaller openings. For example, replace door thresholds where ants can readily travel through. Also, replacing weatherstripping will help deter foraging ants as well as cut down on your energy bills. 

Next, inspect the windows and replace broken glass or sashes that ants can squeeze through. Also, be sure to caulk around window sills to prevent ants from sneaking into wall voids. 

In addition, it’s crucial to remove tree branches or shrubs in direct contact with your house. Last, be sure to locate firewood at least 20 feet away from the main structure of your home. This one step alone can prevent ant infestations. 

Set Up a Defense Against Ants

There is no way to keep tiny ants out of your home completely. For example, the ghost ant can squeeze through even the tightest barriers.

To make up for any entry points too small to seal, you can use a chemical barrier around your home to fill in those gaps. It provides a perimeter defense against ants, and it keeps working for up to 90 days, in some cases. 

A residual insecticide spray containing cyfluthrin works well as an invisible boundary against ants. Or you can opt for a long-lasting microcap product containing fipronil. 

The idea is to treat the house directly to set up a chemical barrier. Some products even allow you to spot-treat indoors where ants often enter your home. 

To reach inside cracks and crevices, use food-grade diatomaceous earth. It is a naturally occurring product mined from dry lake beds. Also, it contains crushed diatoms that strip the outer layer of the ant, causing it to dehydrate and die. 

For something slightly stronger, use boric acid in wall voids to eradicate ant nests indoors. It also works well for pipe entry points, openings in eves and overhangs, and the area between the wall and the baseboard. 

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How To Identify Sugar Ants

The banded sugar ant is from Australia and is not the species referred to as "sugar ant" in the U.S. Instead, it’s a generic term for several ant species that prefer sweet foods. 

Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Pavement ants have black bodies and brown legs. They prefer urban environments with little vegetation, making them one of the most prolific pests in the U.S. 
  • Odorous house ants emit a nasty smell when you step on them. They measure about 1/8 inch long and are primarily dark brown. 
  • Carpenter ants are notorious for causing widespread damage to homes and other wood structures. They are all black, with large bodies measuring up to 1/2 inch long. 
  • Ghost ants are protectors of aphids against predators to have a steady supply of honeydew as a food source. These tiny ants also invade kitchens looking for anything sweet to consume. 
  • Argentine ants are known for attacking beehives to access the sweet honey. Their bodies are about 1/8 inch long and are dark brown. They infest both indoor and outdoor spaces. 
  • Pharaoh ants possess a cyclical feeding pattern where they eat sugary foods followed by periods of binging on nothing but proteins. They are yellowish-brown and have tiny bodies measuring just under 1/16 of an inch long. 
  • Acrobat ants are mostly an outdoor nuisance and are about 1/4 inch long. They have reddish-brown bodies and a dark brown to black gaster (abdomen). 

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Signs & Causes of a Sugar Ant Infestation 

What's interesting about most sugar ant species is their affinity for honeydew produced by aphids. This sweet organic byproduct draws hoards of ants to one plant. 

It’s a symbiotic relationship for sure. The ants herd and look after the aphids, protecting them against all predators. 

You can learn more about this strange phenomenon here:

Another feature of most sugar ant species is their willingness to share their colonies with multiple queens without any rivalry. This cooperation allows for budding, a term entomologists use to describe the founding of several satellite colonies. 

Workers from budding colonies produce pheromone trails upon locating a new food source. This could be a plant with a bunch of aphids on it or a dropped piece of candy. 

Whatever the case, if your home contains either of these things, you can be sure those tiny sugar ants will find it. 

Final Notes How To Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Sugar ant is just a slang term for a huge variety of insects that can wreak havoc on your life in a short period. That is why it makes sense to have the correct information regarding these bothersome creatures. And hopefully, we have provided that here. 

It can be a challenging process to get rid of ants in your home, especially if there are a lot of them. Therefore, it is good to seek a pest control service or exterminator if you get stuck. 

It makes no difference whether you have black ants, brown ants, or sugar ants. A trained professional can help you deal with them every step of the way.

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