When summer begins—or dry season for most South East Asian countries, there is an army of tiny creatures that set up to attack and invade your house to hunt for their consumption, i.e., water and food. No worries, this is not a talk about a troop of aliens from the outer space, however.
They’re not as dangerous as you may have thought of as well. They are just sugar ants. All you need to know now is how to get rid of them from your house, like a pro.
1. What are sugar ants?
Sugar ant is an informal term for all types of ants attracted to sweet foods and meats. The ants include carpenter ants, odorous house ants, cornfield ant, pavement ants, little black ants, big-headed ants, white-footed ants, Pharaoh ants, and many more.
As mentioned above, sugar ants begin to invade when the summer begins. They originally come from Australia, where the climate is influenced by tropical countries around the country. Summer in Australia is hot and humid, while it is dry and warm in the winter. So, sugar ants love heat. The answer to how to get rid of sugar ants may also depend on the temperature in your house.
2. What do sugar ants look like?
Known also as banded sugar ants, these brave tiny creatures are black in color—particularly the male ones. So, it is pretty complicated to distinguish male sugar ants from garden ants which more likely to have a dark color. Meanwhile, female sugar ants are lighter reddish, or orangey-amber in color. You may mistake them for honey or syrup.
Sugar ants feed on all types of sweet foods, liquids, and leftovers. They also love greasy and fatty foods, pollens from flowers or other types of plants, and proteins (contained in other insects they eat). As soon as they find a source of food, they will drag the food—piece by piece—for the entire colony in their nest.
Will you get sugar ant bites? Well, they might bite, but not sharply. You will not get pain or poisoned from the sugar ant bites. It is not a big deal unless you suffer from a particular allergy.
3. Why are sugar ants in your house?
Each of sugar ant nests sends away an army of them to hunt for sources of food and liquid. The ants will explore any potential places in a short distance from their nest gate. By potential places, it means any buildings near it including your house—especially if there are some cracks from which sugar ants may come.
So, old houses are usually more accessible for them than those with new construction. The bad news is new houses are not always strong.
Sugar ants mostly get through your house from the outside. Their scent senses are five times more sensitive than those of any other insects, so they are good at smelling anything, including food or water sources through cracks and vents of your house.
A sugar ant usually leads to finding an entrance to your home, and when it finds the sources of food or water, it will leave a pheromone trail—a substance of which the rest army of sugar ants will follow.
Sugar ants might also come from the inside of your house—especially if their nests are behind the walls or in the ground floor.
4. How to get rid of sugar ants?
Before keeping sugar ants away from your house, or even exterminating them, what you need to prioritize is to follow their trail and find the openings in your house from which the ants get through.
Then, you can begin to consider which method best repels sugar ants: the natural or chemical one? Maybe you should read the following for your consideration.
The natural/home remedies for sugar ants:
- Use equal halves of white vinegar and water in a bottle to spray the sugar ants with. Spray it right on the ants, the entry spots from which the ants come, and the trails they follow. That way you can stop the ants’ pheromone trail production and make them go away and stop coming back.
- You may also try to stop the production of the ants’ pheromone trails with lemon juice. Pour four tablespoons of lemon juice into a spray bottle of 8 ounces in weight. You can even kill the ants with that spray. Also, spray it on their traces or the entry points from which they come so that they will not return.
- Pour some food-grade diatomaceous earth— a white powder made from the remains of diatoms (microalgae)—around your house and on the ant traces. The powder is non-toxic to either humans or pets, but very harmful for insects. Diatomaceous earth is a natural sugar ant killer that kills the ants from the inside by damaging their digestive systems.
- If you love drinking coffee, you may love your coffee more to know that you can use coffee grounds to repel sugar ants. Ants do hate the smell and acid that coffee produces, as it burns them. Spread the grounds anywhere you want to repel sugar ants.
- Mix a little water with some drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil to make homemade sugar ant repellent. Spray the solution to every part of your kitchen—especially the island and pantry to prevent sugar ant plague in the specific areas.
5. How to kill sugar ants chemically?
Even though natural repellents are always better regarding safety—especially if you have kids or pets at home, it is not wrong for you to know the chemical sugar ant killer as well.
- Make your own homemade sugar ant traps with a mixture of equal halves of honey and boric acid. Stir the mixture together in a bowl to make some paste. Then, put the paste on cardboard and place it exactly where sugar ants get through your house.
- Are you too tired to make homemade sugar ant traps? No worries, you can always buy the ready-made ones. The baits come in many varieties, like honey, caramelized sugar.
- Do you want a quick chemical sugar ant killer? Buy only ant-killing sprays, then. Certainly, it is not a way to kill and repel sugar ants in the whole parts of your house, but it can make an instant killing when you accidentally spot an army of sugar ants lining up to drag your food.
No matter what methods you choose to repel and kill sugar ants, cleanliness is still the key. If you regularly clean your house—especially the kitchen or anywhere else exposed with food remains—and take the trash out every day, you will make sugar ants regret to come.
However, if all methods do not work, relax and leave it all to the experts. We told you how to get rid sugar ants like a pro, NOT as a pro.