Find an ant professional
With a Terminix pest control plan, you can keep ants and other pests at bay year-round.Get a Quote
Come springtime, sugar ants will begin to invade homes in search of food and water. Though sugar ants aren’t dangerous to humans, they’re rather annoying pests that can be difficult to control. Here’s everything you need to know about getting rid of sugar ants—from which natural remedies and chemical solutions are best to prevention methods that keep these ants from coming back.
Sugar ants, or banded sugar ants, are small black ants native to Australia and exclusive to that part of the world. When we think of the term sugar ants, we’re probably thinking of pavement ants or pharaoh ants—both common household ants. Pavement ants are black or reddish brown with pale legs while pharaoh ants are yellow or light brown.
These ants are attracted to sweets and all varieties of sugary foods and scraps. Sugar ants also eat fats, proteins (obtained from eating other insects), and plant pollen. Once they find a food source, they’ll haul food back to their nest for the rest of the colony.
There are several types of sugar ants, including those that live outdoors and come indoors to eat, as well as others that prefer to live and feed inside your home. Outdoor sugar ants can include acrobat ants, false honey ants, or rover ants. Some common indoor sugar ants are carpenter ants, pavement ants, and pharaoh ants.
Most sugar ants come from outside your home. They have about four to five times more odor receptors than other insects, and can smell food and follow scent trails through cracks, crevices, vents, and other openings in your home and foundation. Only one ant needs to find an entry point. Once an ant finds a food or water supply, it lays a pheromone trail—a basic scent trail—for other ants to follow.
Sugar ants also come from existing nests inside your home. Their nests are typically in undisturbed spaces, such as inside walls or in basements.
Before getting rid of sugar ants, first locate and then follow their visible trail as far as you can—this will help you determine their entry point into your home and give you a starting point for remediation. After locating the trail and entry point, decide which type of natural or chemical method you want to use.
If you want to stay away from harsh chemicals when treating a sugar ant infestation, try the following natural home remedies:
For additional ways to get rid of sugar ants, try the following chemical solutions. Before using these methods, make sure you read the instructions and take necessary safety precautions to protect yourself from harmful chemicals. Additionally, be sure to keep chemical solutions away from pets and children.
If you notice sugar ant nests outside your home, take steps to get rid of them immediately to prevent them from entering your home. A sugar ant nest resembles a mini volcano—a little mound with a small hole on top. To remove one of these nests, follow these tips:
Since sugar ants are most prevalent between March and September, take countermeasures throughout the year to prevent them from entering your home.
Most sugar ants come from outside your home and follow scent trails through openings in your home and foundation. Once a single ant makes it into your house, it lays a scent trail for other ants to follow.
To keep sugar ants out of the kitchen, make sure to wipe up any sugary spills as soon as they happen, take out the trash as soon as it’s full, clean your sink regularly, and lay out cloves or bay leaves.
Some natural methods to get rid of sugar ants including sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your house or using a vinegar solution to get rid of the ant trail. Some chemical solutions include setting out an ant bait or wiping down your countertops with an all-purpose cleaner every night.
Though these ants aren’t harmful, they can be a nuisance once inside your home. They can chew through paper, cardboard, and thin plastic to get to their food source and attract other pests into your home.
Learn how ants enter your home, how to quickly get rid of an ant infestation fast, and prevent these pests from coming back.
Learn how to identify the signs of a gnat infestation and how to get rid of gnats with these natural and chemical methods.
Kealia is a writer and editor for House Method. Her favorite topics to write about include home improvement, maintenance, and real estate.
The Terminix pest control professionals can beat store-bought remedies and help you get unwanted visitors out of your home—the first time around.
What do fleas look like? We’ll help you determine how to identify a flea, treat bites on humans and pets, and eliminate fleas from your home.
Learn how to identify fleas, how to get rid of fleas, and how to prevent future infestations in your home and on your pets.
Palmetto bugs can carry a variety of diseases, easily contaminating food prep areas and other parts of your home. Learn how to quickly get rid of these pests and prevent them from coming back.
Find natural, do-it-yourself solutions for getting rid of cockroaches, ants, flies, bed bugs, moths, silverfish, carpenter bees, and other pests. Here’s your guide to DIY pest control.
From essential oils to fabric types, practical habits, and active ingredients, learn the best ways to avoid mosquitos and how to choose the best mosquito repellent.
Investing in plants that repel mosquitoes is an alternative to chemical bug sprays and a natural way to keep your lawn, garden, and home bug-free. Here are 17 plants that repel mosquitoes both indoors and out.