We’ve all at one point come across these tiny sugar ants. But do you know how to get rid of sugar ants? Do you what sugar ants are? Where they live or how they look like? This article will attempt to give in details the information on these ants and how you can get rid of the ants with natural methods. Read more to find tips on how to prevent them from invading your home.
Sugar ants are likely to be seen in springtime. This is when they will begin to invade your house searching for food and water. Although these ants aren’t dangerous, their presence are rather annoying and can be difficult to control. Here’s how to deal with them from both natural and chemical ways and tips to prevent them from coming back.
What are sugar Ants?
To understand how to deal and control sugar ants infestation, we must first understand what these little tiny creatures are. Sugar ants or sometimes referred to as banded sugar ants are small black ants native to Australia and exclusive to that zone of the world.
When we talk of sugar ants, we are probably thinking of pavement or pharaoh ants. Pavement ants appears as black or reddish brown with pale legs while pharaoh ants are yellow or light brown. They are naturally attracted to sweets and all varieties of sugary foods.
They also consume fats, protein (mainly from other insects) and plant pollen. Once they find source of food, they will drag it back to their nest for the rest of the colony.
How Sugar Ants Look Like?
We’ve mentioned earlier that sugar ants are small or tiny creatures. The male can reach a length of about 2mm while the female can reach up to 4.5 mm. Despite their small size, sugar ants are one of the main and common pests found on Earth.
The ants have 3 pair of legs with a long moving antennae. The antennae are the most sensitive organ that can recognize things like aroma, ground movement and air currents. With their antennae, they recognize one another, signal danger and find their way to the anthill or food.
If the sugar ant lose its antennae, it will not be able to perceive any information or find its direction back to the nest. What you usually see are the workers ants. They are the most commonly seen in our homes. They do not have wings, so it is easy to confuse them with flying ants.
Types of Sugar Ants
Before going into details on how to get rid of sugar ants, let’s first understand their types. There are several types of sugar ants. This include those that live outdoors and those that come inside to eat, as well as those that live and eat inside your home.
The outdoor sugar ants include acrobat ants, false honey ants or rover ants. The indoor sugar ants include the carpenter ants, pharaoh ants and pavement ants.
Where do sugar ants come from?
Ants basically come from outside into your homes in search of food and maybe shelter. Most sugar ants therefore come from outside your house. They have four to five times odor receptors than other insects meaning they can smell food and follow scent trails through crevices, cracks and other openings.
Just a single ant needs to find an entry point. Once it find food or water, it lays a visible trail for others to follow. Other sugar ants come from already existing nests inside your homes.
Where do sugar ants live?
Do you ever wonder where sugar ants live? They are spread across all continents, except for Antarctica. They are believed to be brought with stuff and products from Asia to all countries on ships thus the name ship ants.
These ants settle where there is food usually next to humans in houses such as apartments, restaurants, hospitals, food factories, etc. they build their anthills in cracks, along heating pipes and under plasters.
How do sugar ants form their colonies? These insects are social ants and live only in colonies. A colony consist of sugar ant queen, reproductive male and non-reproductive worker ants; they find food and bring it to the queen.
The worker ants live up to 60 days while the male and female ants live to about 20 days and 10 months respectively.
Do sugar ants bite or sting?
The sugar ants are mild and do not sting or bite. But when disturbed, they may defend themselves by using their mouthparts to bite. The bites are not however painful and do not show any signs unless you are highly allergic.
If you are bitten, and the symptoms show, apply antibiotic creams to the bitten site. You may call a healthcare provider if the symptoms get serious.
Although they are not harmful, a swarm of sugar ants can be annoying especially when they locate reliable source of food. They can gnaw through papers, cardboard or even thin plastic food container to feed. They can also attract other insects such as spiders and centipedes into your homes. It is important to find ways to get rid of them before they cause a significant damage.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants (step by step) – Natural Methods
Here is how you can get rid of sugar ants with natural methods.
1. Use Garlic
Garlic is one of the effective natural method to repel sugar ants. It has a strong smell that can cause confusion to sugar ants making to lose their trails. Place garlic in different place where you’ve seen the sugar ants coming into your house.
2. White Vinegar Solution
Sugar ants leave trails referred to as pheromone trail behind them when find source of food. This allows other ants from their colony to follow it to the food. That means, if you destroy their trail, they will get lost and probably need to start over again.
A vinegar and water solution is one of the best natural remedy to get rid of sugar ants. Mix white vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:1. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the solution on the countertops, and any other place you see the ants. Wipe and dry. The pheromone trail will disappear. You can also spray the solution in and around the house and places like cracks and crevices that may cat as entry point for the insects.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
If you think of getting rid of sugar ants naturally at home, think of diatomaceous earth. It is an excellent and safe DIY method. It is a powdery dust that can be used to kill and remove all stubborn ants in your home.
Sprinkle the D.E around your home and all entry points such as cracks, crevices and any other openings. If the ants come in contact with the dust, it kills them by drying them out.
4. Baking Soda
You want to get rid of ants fast and naturally? Think no more. Baking soda is one of the effective natural method to exterminate ants. To use;
Add equal parts of baking soda and sugar (sugar acts as an ant bait). The ants will end up eating the baking soda. They will also carry it to the ant nest and feed it to the rest of the colony. This means, a great number of ants will be killed in a couple of hours.
5. Essential Oils
Naturally essential oils act as repellents driving ants away from home. Sugar ants are often repelled by citrus and or mints scents. Tea tree oil has also produced adverse effects in many ants invading homes. When you combine essential oils with DIY remedies you can successfully and effectively get rid of ants’ invasion at home. Here’s how to:
- Put 2 – 3 drops of essential oils in a cup of warm water
- Stir the mixture
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle
- Spray it around cracks and crevices where you’ve see the sugar ants coming into your house.
- Repeat it daily until the ants are gone for good
Another well –known ant killer is borax or boric acid. It is made up of sodium borate, an effective desiccant, fungicide, herbicide, and insecticide. In fact, sodium borate is often found in commercial ant bait used by professional pest control experts.
How to use it:
Mix sugar or honey with borax
Place near cracks, crevices and where you’ve seen the ants coming into you house
The sugar or honey is to attract the ants to it and once they eat it, they will drag it to the colony and feed it to them. This can be the fastest and effective way of killing the ants.
Note: Borax is dangerous and should be kept far from children and pets. If ingested, make sure you get them to the hospital as fast as you can.
7. Draw a Chalk Line
To deter sugar ants from coming into your home, use this simple natural remedy. Ants naturally hate crawling visible line. They tend to keep off. If you draw a chalk line at the entrance, you will be creating a barrier to repel the sugar ants from gaining entry into your home.
How to Remove Sugar Ant Nests
It is much easier to identify a sugar ant nest. They look like small mounds of dirt with a hole on top. To locate their nests, follow their trail as they carry food to the nest. Once you locate the nest, use any of the following to remove sugar ant nest
8. Use Boiling Water
Boiled salt water is another effective remedy to get remove sugar ant nests. Boil salt water and pour the boiling water inside the nest hole. If you can, use as much water as possible to make sure that all the sugar ants are removed and their nest. Remember, the salty water has to be extremely hot.
9. Sugar Ant Spray
Commercial ant spray can be used to get rid of sugar ant nest. But they are not completely effective in removing all the ants. They only kill visible ants but not the entire colony. But if you want an immediate solution, ants’ sprays come in handy.
When using ants’ spray go for the one labelled for indoor use. While spraying the ants, make sure the house is well ventilated.
10. Lemon Juice
Sugar ants and ants in general can’t stand the smell of citrus. Lemon or orange juice come in handy in removing ant nests. Spray the lemon juice in areas where the sugar ants are coming from. To make the spray, mix one part of lemon juice and three parts of water.
11. Peppermint Oil
The smell of peppermint oil is enough to scare and remove sugar ant nest completely. Spray it on your window panes, entryways and on the floors. Peppermint oil doesn’t just repel the ants but it also makes your house to smell amazingly good.
12. Coffee grounds
The smell of coffee grounds is enough to repel the sugar ants from entering your home. The ants can’t stand the smell of coffee, and they tend to keep off from areas that have this kind of smell. Sprinkle coffee grounds on entry points of sugar ants, countertops, along baseboards and other areas where you’ve seen the sugar ants.
How to Prevent Sugar ants from Invading your Home –Tips
Other than just getting rid of sugar ants, you can stop them from invading your homes. Here are the tips to help you do that:
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in kitchen overnight. Ants naturally come into you homes in search of food.
- Seal all holes and cracks in doors, windows, etc.
- Store sweet foods such as jam, candies and cookies in a closed contained or still in a refrigerator
- Wipe the sink with white vinegar to repel the insects from coming into your home
- After eating, wipe all the spilled food and sweet drinks
- Create a barrier outside – use repellents that will deter the sugar ants from entering your home. Some of the natural repellents include; mint or chili pepper pants, diatomaceous earth and drawing a chalk line.
- Get rid of Ant Trails – sugar ants lave scents on their trails which other ants uses to follow and trace source of food. Once you identify the trail, destroy it completely.
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