How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants (10 Remedies)

The species of ants that are commonly called sugar ants are pharaoh ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and sometimes carpenter ants. Although they’re all different types of ants, they share many common traits, including their preferred food source.

That being the case, we’re going to go ahead and call all of them sugar ants. And, we’re going to show you how to get rid of them without the expense of calling an exterminator. You can do your own pest control and kill sugar ants yourself.

Keep on reading and we’ll show you how.

How do you get rid of sugar ants?

In this guide you'll learn:

  • What attracts sugar ants in the first place?
  • How to prevent sugar ants.
  • Natural remedies for getting rid of sugar ants.

Short on time? Click here to explore our natural remedies and bonus remedies for getting rid of sugar ants.


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What Attracts Sugar Ants in the First Place?

All ants go through the same life cycle. The queen lays eggs that hatch into larvae, worm-shaped babies that are completely reliant on the adults to feed them. After going through numerous molts they change into a pupa, and from there into an adult.

Most of the newly emerged adults are females who are the workers. Only a few are males. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen then die. So, when you see ants scurrying across your countertops, they’re always the female workers.

Ants are omnivores, eating a wide range of food such as dead meat, vegetables, other insects, and sweet sugary liquids. Anything sweet will attract them; candy, cake, soft drinks, sugar, honey and, syrup. Sugary foods of any kind are attractants for ants.

An ant colony will also tend and take care of aphids, which feed on leaves and exude a sweet secretion that is rich in carbohydrates. Ants will “milk” the aphids to obtain the secretions which they eat.

Any kind of leftovers in the kitchen sink is an attractant for ants. Stains and spills on the countertops will attract them. So will the trash if it is allowed to sit for too long before being taken outside.

Ants have an extremely keen sense of smell and can follow an odor from great distances. They have 4-5 times more odor receptors than most species of insects. The result is, they can smell food from over a mile away.


Check out the video below for quick information on how to get rid of sugar ants.

5 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Sugar Ants From Inside Your House

Since the very act of fixing dinner or pouring sugar in your coffee can release odors ants can smell so far way, there’s no way you can prevent them from being attracted to your house. What you need, is a way to get rid of sugar ants.

Here are some all-natural ways to take care of an ant problem in your house.

  1. Daily Cleaning

Dirty dishes in the sink, splatters on the stove, crumbs on the floor, and spills on the countertops or tables, are all sources of appetizing odors with will attract ants in search of food. Cleaning up thoroughly after each and every meal will work wonders at stopping an ant infestation.

Don’t leave the dishes in the sink overnight. Many types of ants are nocturnal and will invade your home while you’re sleeping and you’ll wake up to a kitchen that is overrun with them. Wash everything after every meal and clean the stove and food preparation areas.

As we noted earlier, the trash that isn’t taken outside will become a source of odors that can lead to a sugar ant infestation. Take the trash out on a regular basis and wash the plastic trash can itself when you find spills and food particles on it.

Keep any opened foods in a sealed container, whether they are in the pantry or on the countertops.

  1. Vinegar Solution

Ants leave ant trails known as a pheromone trail behind them when they discover a food source. This allows other ants to follow it to the food. If you erase the pheromone trail, you’ve destroyed their “road” and they’ll have to start over again.

One of the best home remedies to accomplish this is a solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar is mildly acidic and will eat up the chemicals in the ant pheromone trail. Mix a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar (white vinegar is best) together in a spray bottle.

Spray the solution on the countertops, stove, and anyplace you see ants. Wipe dry and the pheromone trail will disappear. Also, spray it around any cracks and crevices they may be using as entry points.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an excellent and safe DIY method to kill ants. It looks like a powdery dust. Sprinkle it around their entryways into your house. As the ants cross it, it will begin desiccating them (drying them out).

This is a physical reaction makes DE a great ant killer that you can safely use around pets and children.

  1. Baking Soda

Using baking soda for ant control is based on the fact that once ants eat it, the digestive acids in their stomach will react with it the same way it reacts with vinegar. It fizzes up, creating carbon dioxide gas inside them and they explode.

To use this method, mix equal parts baking soda and sugar. The sugar acts as an ant bait, luring them in. They wind up eating both the sugar crystals and baking soda together. They also carry them back to the ant nest and feed it to the rest of the colony.

The disadvantage of this method is that it lures ant into the house when you’re trying to get rid of them. Therefore, this method is better used outside than inside.

  1. Essential Oils

Essential oils act as repellents, driving sugar ants away from them. Ants are often repelled by citrus and/or mint odors. Cloves and tea tree oils have also produced adverse reactions in many ants.

A combination that many DIY enthusiasts use is a mix of lemon essential oil, peppermint, clove, and tea tree. Put 3-5 drops of each one in a cup of water. Warm it in a microwave to active the essential oils and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Spray it around the cracks and crevices where you’ve seen the ants coming into your house. Spray it lightly to the point where the surface is damp but not wet. Replenish it on a daily basis until the ants are gone.

Read More: How to Keep Ants Away

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3 Additional Remedies to Get Rid of Sugar Ants From Inside Your House

The above methods are all-natural, and thus completely safe too. The disadvantage is that they are slow. If you’ve got an emergency and need something faster, here are a few ideas you can use.

  1. Borax

A well-known ant killer is Borax (boric acid). It is made from sodium borate, an effective desiccant, fungicide, herbicide, and insecticide. Sodium borate is often found in commercial ant bait, used by professional pest control technicians.

It will have to be mixed with sugar or honey in order to attract ants to it, but once they eat it, they’ll transport it back to the colony and feed it to them. This is a fast and effective manner of killing ants.

Borax is dangerous though, so make sure your pets and children can’t get to it. If they ingest it, or if you think they have, take them to a doctor right away.

  1. Terro Liquid Ant Bait

Terro Liquid Ant Bait is a professional ant bait used millions of times, the world over by pest control professionals. It is quick and easy to use, simply tear open one end and put it out where ants have been invading your house.

Terro uses boric acid as the active ingredient that kills ants. Except for the tiny opening though, it is completely sealed. This makes it safer for use around children and pets than regular borax. The attractant in it is also specially formulated to attract ants.

  1. Delta Dust

Delta Dust is another professional pest control product. It uses Deltamethrin as the active ingredient to kill ants and a whole variety of insects. It looks like baby powder or talcum powder and requires a bulb duster in order to be applied.

The dust needs to be injected into the tiny cracks and crevices in your kitchen and throughout the house that serve as entryways for ants. As the ants pass through those entry points they encounter the dust and it begins killing them.

Read More: Getting Rid of Flying Ants

All About Sugar Ants

2 Bonus Remedies to Get Rid of Sugar Ants From Outside Your Home

  1. Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Although the label says fire ants, this professional ant bait will work on any ant species. It has three different active ingredients on a cornmeal base that attracts foraging ants. They grab the tiny pieces of cornmeal and take them back to the colony.

You should use a hand broadcaster to spread this granular bait in a 10-foot wide band all the way around the house.  As ants approach the house, they will encounter the bait and take it. It’s a very effective method of killing the entire colony.

  1. Talstar PL Granules Insecticide

Talstar is another granular insecticide that is well-known among professional pest control technicians. The active ingredient, Bifenthrin, is related to Deltamethrin and works effectively to kill a wide range of insects.

It comes in 25-pound bags. 3-5 pounds of it in a handheld spreader will be sufficient to create a 10-foot wide band of insecticide all the way around the house. The advantage of Talstar granules is that they are water-activated, so rain helps them work better.

Best Product Suggestion(s) for Getting Rid of Sugar Ants?

  • Terro Liquid Ant Bait

Inside the house, Terro is the best professional option for getting rid of sugar ants. It’s easy to use, odorless, clean, and effective.

  • Extinguish Plus Fire Ant Bait

Outside the house, Extinguish is your best option. It works on all species of ants, it’s easy to spread, and lightweight so your arm doesn’t get tired while you’re spreading it.

Read More: Ants Vs. Baking Soda

Want To Solve Your Pest Problem Now?

We’ve partnered with Terminix to bring you exclusive discounts and priority service for your pest control needs. Click to get your free instant price quote.

Limited Time: Save $50 off your pest control service.

How to Prevent Sugar Ants in the First Place?

As we mentioned above, cleaning your kitchen after every meal is the best preventative measure you can take. Don’t leave anything out and keep all of your opened foods in airtight sealed containers.  Cleanliness is next to buglessness!

Final Thoughts About Sugar Ants

There are numerous ant traps, insecticides, and baits on the market, all vying for your attention. But if you follow our simple recommendations here, your sugar ant problems will become a thing of the past.

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Curious about other ant-related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

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