The term sugar ant is a term used to describe a variety of ant species that seek out sweets in your home. In the United States and Canada, the term “sugar ant” is used to describe any sweet-eating ant that invades your home. These sugar ants are usually small and especially persistent in their efforts to raid your kitchen, cabinets, and sinks in an attempt to haul bits of food back to their nest.
To get rid of these ants, you need to follow three basic tips:
STEP 1 -- Seal off their entryways, wherever possible
STEP 2 -- Lay down ant bait, like our TERRO® Liquid Ant Baits, to eliminate the colony
STEP 3 -- Limit their access to food inside your house
Of course, you probably want a few details on why sugar ants are targeting your home, what they are after and specific tips to eliminate the problem, so read on. Beating these sweet-eating ants is possible, and this quick guide will show you how to fight sugar ants in any of their forms.
Q. What Are Sugar Ants?
A: Sugar ant is a colloquial term for any ant that is particularly attracted to sweets and meats. These sweet-eating ants include Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Big-headed ants, Carpenter ants, Cornfield ants, Crazy ants, Ghost ants, Little black ants, Odorous house ants, Pavement ants, Pharaoh ants, White-footed ants, and many others. TERRO® has a number of solutions for dealing with many of the sweet-eating ants. Check out individual labels for how they deal with a specific species.
Q. Why Are Sugar Ants in My House?
A: Every nest of ants sends out scouts looking for food and water. These scout ants explore every possible place within several hundred feet of their nest entrance – and that always includes homes and buildings that are accessible through cracks and crevices. Older homes, therefore, are a bit more “ant friendly” than newer constructions. Even then, new construction isn’t completely immune to ant invasions. Preventing ants from entering your home is tough, but it can be done. You need to look for and close every possible entry point, sealing them and then spreading TERRO® Ant Killer Plus outdoors, as needed. Keeping the inside of your home clean is also a big help. Avoid leaving food out, clean dirty dishes, empty trash daily and only eat in easy-to-clean areas. Mop, vacuum, and scrub regularly. Basically, you need to do everything you can to make your living space uninteresting to the legions of sugar ants exploring the area.
Q. How Can I Get Rid of Sugar Ants?
A: There are many options for addressing the ants invading your home and yard. Each of these TERRO® products utilizes a liquid Borax bait that attracts ants. Scout ants take it back to their colony and pass it on to the other ants, which also succumb to the poison.
- TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Bait Stakes – These stakes can be added around the perimeter of your home. Ants enter the stake, retrieve the bait and take it back to their nest, which slowly kills them.
- TERRO® Liquid Ant Killer – Apply this to pieces of the cardboard provided and place in areas where ants have been observed. The ants will eat the bait, then return to the nest and share with the other ants in the colony, killing the ants you see and the ants you don't.
- TERRO® Liquid Ant Baits – Using the same liquid ant bait as the Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes and Ant Killer, these pre-filled ant baits are great for use indoors anywhere ants are noticed. The patented station prevents the bait from drying out.
- TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits – These bait stations are protected from the elements, allowing you to bait outdoor ants before they enter your home. These stations are ideal for large ant infestations.
Note that these baits are effective against the following species: Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Big-headed ants, Cornfield ants, Crazy ants, Ghost ants, Pavement ants, Little black ants, Odorous house ants and White-footed ants.
Q. Where Are Sugar Ants Coming From?
A: Most people think ants come from outside, and for the most part that’s true. They seek out cracks, crevices, vents, and openings to enter your home in their effort to find food and water. However, only one ant out of the thousands in a nest needs to find an entry point. Once an ant finds a food or water supply, it lays a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. Other ants live inside your house. These ants build nests in undisturbed spaces, including in wall voids, by burrowing out soft wood or by building a nest among some unused items in a secluded area of your home. These ants need to be traced directly back to their source so they can be treated either with a bait or contact killer, like our TERRO® Ant Killer Spray
Q. Do Sugar Ants Bite?
A: None of the sweet-eating ants commonly called sugar ants are known to bite aggressively. Bites from these ants are not painful and are not known to produce any further symptoms unless the person is highly allergic.
Q. Are Sugar Ants Destructive?
A: Other than contaminating the food they touch, most ants that are called sugar ants are not considered destructive. Carpenter ants, which are sometimes labeled as sugar ants, however, can be very destructive. In order to make a nest, carpenter ants create tunnels and nests in moist wood. This activity weakens the wood and poses a real threat to homes.
Q. Are Sugar Ants Attracted to Water?
A: Like any animal, ants need water to survive. In particularly dry areas of the country, leaky pipes, sinks full of dishes, bathrooms, and even condensation will draw ants. With that in mind, fix any plumbing leaks, wrap pipes which have condensation, thoroughly rinse dirty dishes and drain the sink of any standing water. A sink-based garbage disposal may be a big draw for sugar ants as well. To destroy their pheromones, pour a little bleach into the garbage disposal every few days and activate it. That should be enough to destroy any attractants.
SOLUTIONS TO YOUR YOUR SUGAR ANT PROBLEM
Do you have any other questions about “sugar ants” or any other sweet-eating ant? Let us know in the comments below or when you visit TERRO® on Facebook. Learn more about ants in our insect library, too. For more on fighting pests or to exclusive updates on TERRO® products, subscribe to our eNewsletter.