You go into the kitchen, make your cup of coffee, add one spoon of sugar, and now you have a problem—simple as that!
Dropping a little bit of sugar or a crumb of anything sweet can leave you dealing with an army of sugar ants.
Sugar ants, as you might’ve guessed, are little annoying pests you find in the kitchen, especially near the sugar. While they don’t pose any danger, as they mostly don’t bite or sting, nobody wants to see them crawling around their kitchen!
That’s why, today, I’ll tell you how to get rid of sugar ants and keep them away for good. Let’s start!
Identifying Sugar Ants
First things first, let’s start by ensuring that what you have in your home is sugar ants. Sugar ants are usually around 7–12 millimeters (0.27–0.47 inches), placing them on the large side of the ant spectrum.
Regarding color, sugar ants have large, black-colored heads with two antennas and brown-dark orange bodies. Also, they’re mostly harmless because they don’t have any stingers. Hence, they can’t bite or sting you.
Sugar ants love nesting in hollow wood or underneath rocks and soil. So they’ll have no issue nesting inside crevices and electrical wiring inside your home.
Finally, what do they like to eat? The name sugar ants gives a good hint, but there’s more! Besides the sugar and honey, sugar ants are omnivores. They can eat plants, animals, and different pests and insects.
Nonetheless, they’re mainly attracted to sweet food, so one of their favorite meals is the honeydew aphids leave behind.
Prevention Methods for Sugar Ants
Do you know how they say prevention is better than cure? Well, in the case of sugar ants, prevention is better than dealing with these annoying pests!
So, to keep them away from your home and your sugar cubes, you need to follow the key tips outlined below:
1. Keeping Food Sealed and Stored Properly
What did I say about sugar ants’ eating habits? That’s right; they eat everything in sight! That’s why it’s essential to keep everything packed away to make your home less attractive to sugar ants.
To do this, you can seal your food in airtight containers or plastic bags to help protect it from pests and keep it fresh too. Foods like fruits, candy, and sweets should be kept in the fridge.
They’re the number one favorite and should be hidden away. But, of course, this isn’t to say leave everything else exposed but to focus more on sweet items!
2. Cleaning up Spills and Crumbs
Thankfully, sugar ants can’t walk up to your pantry and open it to grab a treat for themselves—we’d be doomed! So instead, they depend on the foods you leave exposed to them or the spills and crumbs that go unnoticed.
You can avoid these little things by immediately cleaning up spills or food crumbs on the floor or countertop. When you’re cleaning, make sure to check the farthest corner. A little juice splash or food crumb could’ve flown there, and you didn’t see it.
Moreover, keeping your house clean and free of droppings will help keep the ant problem at bay. So, wipe down all your surfaces regularly with a good detergent, vacuum, and sweep the floor.
3. Sealing Entry Point Into the Home
We both know why ants are in your home, but how did they get there? As they’re no more than a few millimeters big, ants can get inside your home through the tiniest cracks, gaps, and holes.
For that reason, it’s crucial to seal away all entry points to your home. You can accomplish this by searching for those holes and using caulk or a similar sealant to close them off. You can also use weather strippings to block the gaps under the doors and windows.
If all of these options fail, and you have sugar ants in your home, then it’s time to move to the next phase!
Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Sugar Ants
Thankfully, nature has provided various ways to get rid of sugar ants without going to extremes first. These options include the following:
1. Bait Stations With Borax and Sugar
The easiest way to get rid of an annoying pest isn’t to hunt it down but to lure them out! You can either keep looking for the ant source and block every entry or simply use bait stations to attract them to you.
To do that, you’ll need the following components:
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of borax
- An empty bottle
Now all you need to do is pour all the previous ingredients into a bottle and shake vigorously until everything dissolves. Afterward, you can use the mixture by placing it on a sugar cube or a candy you don’t need and turning it into the bait.
While borax isn’t that dangerous to humans or pets, it’s exceptionally so to ants. Furthermore, it doesn’t work instantly, so the worker ants can carry the poison back to their colony, ensuring that you get rid of the root of the problem.
2. Vinegar and Water Solution
We can use it to clean, refresh clothes, and, to ward off ants! Vinegar has been the go-to option for many homeowners to solve a wide range of problems.
All you need here is the following:
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- A spray bottle
Pour the ingredients into the bottle, shake them well, and spray on the ants to get rid of them. You can also spray it in gaps to deter the ants from entering your home.
3. Essential Oils
Citrus, peppermint, and clove essential oils are some of the best all-natural solutions to eliminate ants. This is because every one of them contains a component that’s toxic or repellent to ants. For example, citrus contains d-limonene, clove oil has eugenol, and peppermint has menthol, completely disrupting any ant’s senses.
To use this method, you’ll need the components below:
- ½ cup water
- 20 drops of clove oil
- 50 drops of citrus oil
- 30 drops peppermint oil
- A spray bottle
As with the previous method, you’ll need to mix all the ingredients in the bottle and spray whenever you see ants or where you think the ants are coming from.
Chemical Methods for Getting Rid of Sugar Ants
If the natural methods weren’t up to your liking or didn’t do the job, then it’s time to get the big guns out!
1. Ant Baits and Traps
While ant baits are available almost everywhere for purchase, choosing the right bait for your situation is essential. In this case, you need something with a sweet scent or taste to attract the ants and get them out of hiding.
For instance, you can use Terro Liquid Ant Bait or Advion Ant Gel. Both products contain a sweet formula that attracts the ants and kills them.
2. Sprays and Granules
If you have a significant infestation, sprays or granules can be a great option to eliminate them. Sprays like Raid Ant & Roach Killer, for example, can be sprayed on the ants or areas where you’ve seen the ants.
It kills the pests on contact and leaves a residual matter that can continue its effects for up to six months. As for the granules, these work best for people with an outdoor issue or who can spot where the ants are coming from.
You can lay the granules around your home’s parameter or along the ants’ source. They kill the ants on contact and create a safe zone they can’t penetrate.
3. Professional Extermination
Sadly, if all the above fails, you’ll have to contact a professional exterminator. They can help by assessing the problem and its source, then formulating a treatment plan to eliminate them for good.
Some professional exterminators may also offer follow-up visits to ensure their work is effective.
Steps for Eliminating Sugar Ants
Now that you know all the ways to get rid of sugar ants, it’s time to learn how to use them properly. Here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: Identifying the Source of the Infestation
So, is the problem the crumbs, spills, or unmonitored food in the kitchen? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always obvious when they seem to come from everywhere. To remedy this, you need to have patience and observe the ants.
Sugar ants follow a scent trail to the food, which means you can trace them back to their source.
If you can’t do that, look for cracks, crevices, or any gaps that ants can use as an entry point to your home.
Step 2: Placing Bait Stations or Applying Natural Remedies
After locating the ants’ origin, use any of the abovementioned remedies. Bait stations are excellent in helping you locate the problem as well as eradicate it. However, you don’t have to go for the chemical answer immediately.
Natural remedies like essential oils can help make your home smell amazing and eliminate the problem!
The important thing here is to place the bait or remedy in the right spot. It goes either where the ants are coming from or where you’ve last seen them. Don’t spray or use anything near kids, pets, potted plants, or exposed food.
Step 3: Monitoring and Reapplying Treatments as Necessary
The final step in getting rid of ants is being patient. This is because some of the methods you use aren’t going to work instantaneously and may not last as well.
Depending on what you used and how you used it, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days for the ants to die. Hence, you’ll need to keep an eye on the situation to determine whether or not to reapply for the treatment and what you can fix.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Rid of Sugar Ants
While the previous methods are pretty easy to use and straightforward, there are still a few mistakes that you could make.
The first mistake you can make is using the wrong treatment type. For instance, some ants are attracted to protein-based baits, while others, like our sugar ants, love the sweet stuff! This means you’ll need to determine what species you have at home to use the proper bait.
Secondly, focusing on the ants themselves without looking for their nest is a huge mistake. The ants you see are simply the side effect; the nest is the root of your issues. As soon as you locate it and get rid of it, you’ll start to see the ants disappearing.
Finally, and at the chance of sounding redundant, you must be patient! If the method you used didn’t work as fast as you’d like, don’t apply it again immediately. All you need to do is follow the previous steps properly and wait at least a day before trying something else again.
So, are you still wondering how to get rid of sugar ants? I sure hope not!
To give you the TL;DR, sugar ants are attracted to all kinds of food, especially sweet stuff like sugar and honey.
You can avoid having them in your home by sealing away all food, blocking their tiny entry points, and regularly cleaning up any spills or crumbs.
If you’re looking to eliminate them, natural methods include essential oils, vinegar with water, or bait stations with borax.
Alternatively, there are chemical options like traps, granules, sprays, or professional exterminators. Finally, be patient with your chosen method, and good luck getting rid of them!