When insects raid your home, it can be one of the most annoying and challenging problems to deal with. We’ve all been there before, we forget to clean up the dirty dishes from desert, or miss the small drop of maple syrup on the kitchen countertops, the next thing you know you have a trail of ants parading toward the kitchen sink, looking for sugary foods to bring back to their sugar ant nest.
The worst part of it all is that the sugar ants have probably set up their ant colony nearby, or even inside your house, which makes it even more difficult to eliminate the sugar ant infestation.
If you need to know how to get rid of sugar ants, you’re in luck because there are many sugar ant remedies that will help you in getting rid of sugar ants naturally.
What are Sugar Ants?
A sugar ant, or banded sugar ant, is one of many types of ants that can invade your home. It is native to Australia and is attracted to sugar and other sweets. The sugar ant ranges in size from 2 to 15 millimeters.
The male sugar ants are entirely black, while the female ants have an orange-colored body. While sugar ants aren’t harmful to humans, swarms of these tiny ants can be a nuisance when they find a reliable food source inside the home.
Proper identification of the ant species is critical to managing an ant invasion. Unfortunately, people often think that all types of ants are the same species and believe that the same strategy to kill ants will work on them all.
How to Kill Sugar Ants
Sugar ants are small ants that are attracted to sugary treats and other sweets that are left lying around your home. These ants will leave chemical pheromone trails in their search of food. This means that even if you kill the ants that you find in your home, other ants will follow the path and you’ll see them in the same places. This is why you need to kill the entire colony. ‘
While you can use white vinegar or soapy water to clean the surfaces and get rid of sugar ant trails left behind by these pesky ants, it’s better to bait the ants with poisoned food so they take it back to the ant nest where they can poison the queen and kill the source of the infestation.
Kill Sugar Ants with Borax
An instrumental ant killer is Borax, which is made up of sodium borate. Known for its cleaning power, borax is an effective fungicide, herbicide, insect killer, and a desiccant.
It is a common ingredient found in commercial ant bait. When the sugar ants ingest borax, it affects the ant’s digestive system but leaves time for them to return to their colony with the poisoned food.
They share the food with the rest of the ants in the nest, and it will eventually kill all the sugar ants. For the ants to be attracted to the borax, you’ll need to mix it with something sweet like sugar or honey.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an effective pest control method that will kill a variety of insects, like sugar ants, stink bugs, and bedbugs. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a powdery substance that is made from fossilized marine diatoms.
When DE is sprinkled on invertebrate animals or arthropods, the razor-sharp edges of the powder desiccates them. It will damage the waxy coating on the sugar ants, and they eventually die of dehydration.
Unless you know where the ant colony is located, you won’t be able to use this method to destroy all of the ants, but it will effectively stop the ants from making any further progress through your home. DE is safe for humans and can be safely used in your home.
To use this ant control method, sprinkle a thin line of DE along the ant trail and any small hole in your doors or windows that could be used as the entry points for the ants. You can also sprinkle some around your cat food bowl to keep ants from invading your furry pets food.
Use a Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is one of the best non-toxic home remedies to use on sugar ants. The acetic acid in vinegar gives it the strong, pungent, and rancid smell that is associated with the product.
Sugar ants hate the smell of vinegar which repels the ants and adequately covers the pheromone trail created by the ants. You can also use vinegar to kill spider mites and many other household and garden pests.
Pour the vinegar and the water into the spray bottle. Replace the cap and shake the bottle to mix the solution.
Spray the vinegar solution on the ant trails, in any cracks in the walls of your house, window sills, drainage holes, near garbage cans, at the entrances to your home, and under your cabinets. Since vinegar is acidic, you can store it for a long time in a cool, dark place and not have to worry about the spray going bad.
Make a Trap Out of Baking Soda
Another non-toxic way to kill sugar ants is by making ant traps with baking soda. Baking soda consists of small salt crystals that are composed of bicarbonate and sodium ions.
When the sugar ants ingest the baking soda, it reacts with the acid in their digestive system. This reaction generates carbon-dioxide gas, which makes them explode.
You’ll need to mix the baking soda with powdered sugar to act as the bait. This method is handy for getting rid of sugar ants because they take the small sugar crystals with the baking soda back to their nests, which destroys the ant problem at the source. It is also the safest method for killing ants if you have pets and kids at your home.
Deter Sugar Ants with Cornmeal
Unfortunately many ants are attracted to cornmeal, which means that it won’t kill them, but instead, they gather up the crumbs and take it back to their friends. However, you can disrupt the pheromone trail by sprinkling cornmeal on the ground to keep other ants from following the same path through your house.
If you want to kill the ants with cornmeal, mix it with boric acid and make a paste. This type of slow acting insecticide is the best way to control ants.
Kill Sugar Ants with Whole Cloves
You can also kill sugar ants in your home with whole cloves, as well as repelling some other unwanted insects from your home.
Ants don’t like the smell of cloves so you can use whole cloves in places where you see the most traffic, like under counters and along baseboards. A plus to using whole cloves to kill sugar ants is that it makes your entire house smell nice.
Control Sugar Ant Invasions with Bay Leaves
Similar to whole cloves, bay leaves can be used to keep sugar ants from entering your home. Placing bay leaves under windows, in cracks, and under counters can help control a sugar ant infestation.
You can also wrap fresh bay leaves in some cheesecloth and place it in your kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Create a Homemade Essential Oil Spray
Essential oils have been proven to be extremely effective in keeping sugar ants away from your home. Along with other beneficial properties, essential oils have a strong aroma that interferes with the pheromones that are released by the sugar ants when they make their trail.
Lemon oil is a citrus oil that has d-limonene, which is an extremely toxic substance to sugar ants. The d-limonene will penetrate the sugar ants’ waxy and hard exoskeleton and kill them. You can use peppermint oil to effectively repel sugar ants, mice, cockroaches, and rats.
They hate the smell of menthol and will steer clear of any area that harbors that scent. Ants, and other pests, also hate the smell of tea tree oil, so soaking some cotton balls in tea tree oil and placing them near the entry points in your home will keep ants and other insects out.
Clove oil, along with having a scent that sugar ants detest, is also a fast-acting insecticide, which can be effectively used in getting rid of sugar ants naturally without causing damage to the environment.
Pour the water into a medium-sized jar. Add the dishwashing liquid and the peppermint oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil, and clove oil. Stir to blend the ingredients.
Add the solution to a spray bottle and spray the solution on the ant trails, in small holes or cracks near your doors and windows. Repeat the process until you no longer see any sugar ants in your home.
Use Commercial Ant Killers
There are plenty of commercial ant traps and killers on the market that is effective in getting rid of sugar ants. You can try Terro Liquid Ant Baits. Place the ant baits in areas where they attract the ants, and they will take the bait back to their nest.
As the bait moves through the colony, it will kill the ants you see and the ones you don’t. Orange guard is water-based pest control spray that you can safely use around your children and pets. Just spray the solution along the ant trails and at entry points to your home to keep it free of these small pests.
How to Prevent Sugar Ants
Once you’ve learned how to get rid of sugar ants in your home, you want to take the appropriate measures to ensure they don’t return. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping your house clean, especially from March to September when the sugar ant population is at its peak.
Keep Your Kitchen Sink Clean
If you have dishes in the sink that have to wait until morning to clean, make sure they are thoroughly rinsed and don’t have any food particles remaining.
After washing the dishes, make sure you wash out the sink and run the garbage disposal to get rid of any leftover food particles. Once a week, run white vinegar down the garbage disposal to keep it clean.
Clean Countertops with White Vinegar
Not only is the acetic acid in the vinegar an excellent deodorizer, but it is also an active cleaning agent. The best way to prevent sugar ants from invading your home is to wipe down your countertops with white vinegar.
The white vinegar will break down the pheromones that are left by the ants. However, if you have natural stone counters, like granite, you’ll need to use a specialty granite cleaner to avoid causing any damage.
Vacuum Floors Regularly
Sugar ants love to gather crumbs from all food, not just sweets, and sugary treats. Regularly vacuuming your carpet and floors will pick up any bits of food that you may not see, so you leave nothing on your floors that might attract sugar ants.
Sweep and Mop Your Floors with Vinegar
Just like with your countertops, it is essential to sweep and mop your floors to get rid of any food debris that might attract ants. Use a mixture of water and vinegar to clean your floors and erase the pheromone trail that the previous ants have left behind. Make sure that you sweep all the nooks and crannies before you mop.
Finding that you have a sugar ant infestation can be incredibly frustrating. To effectively deal with the sugar ants, you have to destroy the pheromone trail they create, while dealing with the entire colony back at their nest.
These simple, natural solutions will help you effectively get rid of sugar ants from your home, and the tips will help you prevent a future sugar ant invasion.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to get rid of sugar ants from your home. If you found the information in this article useful, please feel free to share it with your family and friends.