How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Sugar ants harvesting food from doughnut..

There are many types of ants that can infest homes and property, but sugar ants are among the most common. These small black or brown ants are pests that can invade your gardens and kitchens alike and may seem impossible to control. Sugar ant infestations can be frustrating, but there are ways to control these pests. Here is what you need to know about these pests and how to get rid of sugar ants on your property.

Sugar ants are small, much smaller than a carpenter ant or common ants you see outside your home. Black, reddish or brown, these small ants live in colonies and tend to be nocturnal in their foraging. You may not see sugar ants much during the day but find them covering your counters, floors or garbage cans at night. These tiny ants can find their way inside homes through the smallest holes or cracks around windows, doors and plumbing fixtures. Sugar ants love moisture and tend to be in moist regions.

What Attracts Sugar Ants?

Like their name implies, sugar ants are attracted to and eat sugar. Most types of carbohydrates can attract these small ants such as honey, sugar, syrup, bread and grains. However, sugar ants are omnivores and will eat both carbohydrates and proteins. While they can easily live off plants in your garden, they can sense high-sugar substances inside your home and may be inclined to forage indoors.

There are a few common attractions for sugar ants. Dirty dishes left in the sink or on the counters can be a beacon for sugar ants. Crumbs or sugar left on counters or floors may bring in a troop of ants. Spills on your stove top or on the floor may attract ants into your home, as well as garbage cans, pet food dishes and other food sources. Sugar ants forage for food and then leave behind a pheromone trail to direct other ants from the colony to the food source, inviting hundreds or thousands of ants into your home.

DIY Sugar Ant Solutions

If you want to know how to get rid of sugar ants on your own, it starts with removing the food sources. The same items that attract sugar ants are the ones that need to be removed to help eliminate sugar ants in your home. The kitchen is usually the area infiltrated, but bathrooms and living areas can be infested as well. Some tips to remove temptations and attractions for sugar ants include:

  • Seal all candy, sweets and sugar containers
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink
  • Empty garbage cans regularly
  • Sweep floors at night
  • Wipe down counters, stove and appliances in kitchen

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Removing food sources is a vital step for reducing sugar ant invasions. Another natural solution for controlling sugar ants is white vinegar. Use a spray bottle mixed with water and white vinegar to spray down areas where ants travel – the vinegar breaks down the pheromones and erases the trail. Spray ants directly to kill them and spray areas where ants enter your home.

Boric acid is another safe option for killing sugar ants. You can sprinkle boric acid or Borax on areas infested by ants or mix it with sugar or honey to make a DIY ant killer. Borax is deadly to ants but not harmful in small amounts to pets or kids.

Outdoor Sugar Ant Control

If you want to know how to get rid of sugar ants outside your home, you can use similar tactics as inside. While you cannot effectively remove all the sugar ants from your property, you can deter them from certain areas. You can use vinegar solutions on your patio to remove sugar ant infestations or create DIY boric acid or Borax ant poison around your house. However, you may need a professional to help control a major sugar ant infestation.

If you have a large sugar ant colony outside your home, it is usually only a matter of time before they begin foraging inside. To remove a colony, it can require poison delivered to the colony. Your local landscaper that offers pest control can recommend sugar ant treatments to kill colonies and reduce infestations near your home. There also may be treatments that can be used on your planters, patio and other areas to keep sugar ants at bay.
sugar ant
Sugar ants can be a nuisance inside and outside your home. The good news is that there are many DIY techniques that can reduce infestations and rid your home of these small ants. Cleaning, removing food sources, sealing your home and using deterrents can help control your sugar ant problem. For a more aggressive approach on how to get rid of sugar ants, talk to your local landscaping company about pest control options.