You’ve come to the right place to learn how to get rid of sugar ants! Sugar ants are annoying household pests that can be difficult to dislodge once they have entered your home. Aside from the nuisance and unsanitary conditions they create while foraging for food, they can even damage wooden furniture.
What are sugar ants?
Genuine sugar ants, from the species Camponotus, are native to Australia. The name refers to their preferred diet of sweet or sugary food. The sugar ant is usually between 7 to 15 millimeters long and has an orange-brown band around its body.
Sugar ants are mostly nocturnal, so they are most commonly spotted at dusk as they forage for food, but you may also spot them during the day. They will be more active in summer than in the colder months.
However, the term sugar ants is also commonly applied to any species of small black ants that feed on sweet foods. Many methods used to get rid of sugar ants will also eliminate other similar species, such as pharaoh ants and pavement ants, that are commonly confused with sugar ants.
The best-case scenario is preventing an infestation in the first place; learn how to prevent an ant infestation in the first place.
How to get rid of sugar ants
- Sugar ant nests can be hard to find, especially since the ants are largely nocturnal. To destroy a sugar ant nest, you can buy ant baits, such as Terro or Combat, or create your own. Mix a small amount of boric acid with a bait food, which attracts the ants to carry the toxic boric acid back to the nest and destroy the colony. For sugar ants, you will want to use sweet baits, such as honey, maple syrup, or peanut butter. The ant population will appear to increase at first, as the come to eat the bait, but resist the urge to kill them! They will carry the poison back to the nest to eliminate the whole colony.
- To deter sugar ants without killing them, a variety of natural and synthetic products can help, including black pepper, vinegar, boric acid, cinnamon, Orange Guard, and chalk. See our article on natural ant repellents for more ideas.
Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of sugar ants, at least temporarily, you need to take immediate steps to prevent the ants from returning. Clean up any spills, crumbs, or exposed food that might be attracting the ants. Keep your sink dry to avoid attracting ants with its moisture.
Then, mop the areas where the ants have been with boiling water or spray with vinegar and wipe down. This destroys the ants’ scent trails and makes their return less likely.
Finally, seal up any entry points you can locate to make it harder for the sugar ants to re-infiltrate your house. You can caulk cracks, sprinkle diatomaceous earth, or spray or apply a natural ant repellent.