You open your pantry to get out a box of cereal. That’s when you first see the tiny ants crawling all over your treasured food times. Yuck!
These are called sugar ants. They like to stick to the humid woodlands, but they’ll make their way into residential areas if they have access to food.
Once you have a sugar ant infestation on your hands, it’s going to be hard to get rid of them. They aren’t going to leave a good meal source without putting up a fight.
You might be able to kick them to the curb using natural means. If this doesn’t work, there are always traditional baits and chemicals. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Sugar Ants?
The secret to getting rid of an ant infestation in walls is to learn thy enemy. You can find various species of sugar ants in all corners of the world. They’re one of the most common household pests around.
They’re not much of a problem when they’re outside. It’s when they make their way inside that things get hairy. They can be impossible to get rid of.
All it takes is one time of you leaving food out for you to attract them. They have powerful smell receptors that allow them to smell a meal from miles away. If there’s an opening in your home, they’ll find it if it means getting to the source.
They leave a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow. So, if you spot one sugar ant, there’s a good chance that there’s more in your home somewhere.
Identifying an Infestation
Now that you know what sugar ants are, it’s time to learn how to identify them. Like any pest, they have distinct eating habits and behaviors. These are only a few ways to spot them.
Sugar ants are small and not easily distinguishable from one of the other thousands of ant species around the world. The females are an orange color, and they are often much larger than the males. The males are small winged black ants.
If you have an ant infestation on your hands, you’re going to see a lot more of the female ants than the male ones. So, be on the lookout for a lot of orange.
Sugar ants are nocturnal. You’re not likely to see them marching through your kitchen during the day because they like to hunt for food when everyone is asleep.
If you do walk into your kitchen during the night and turn on the light, they’ll rush back to their nest as fast as they can. If they feel threatened, they will bite, but it’s a minor annoyance at best. The only time you have to worry about bites is if you’re allergic to them.
There’s not much packaging out there that can stop a determined sugar ant. They’ll chew through boxes and wrappers to get to the yummy contents inside.
As the name suggests, sugar ants prefer sweet foods. The ants outside of your home live off of other insects and the sweet nectar from certain plants.
If there’s not a good food source outdoors or the weather doesn’t suit their tastes, they’ll break into houses. Here, they’ll snack on any sugary snacks that they can get their hands on.
Sugar ants prefer hot, humid areas. That’s why when they’re not in houses, they stick to leafy foresty areas. When they do break into homes, they build their nests inside walls.
Since they like humid places you’ll mostly find them in your bathroom and kitchen. Your kitchen is a common spot because it’s also a source of food.
Even if you’re not allergic to ant bites, that doesn’t mean that you want to be on the receiving end of one. You also don’t want tiny insects crawling all over your food.
You can get them out of your house through both natural and chemical means. There’s also the simple tactic of keeping your kitchen tidy.
Combine water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it along your baseboards and other possible entrance areas. Vinegar contains acid that destroys the distinct scent that the pheromone trail gives off.
Do this super late in the evening. This is when the ants are the most active, so you’ll get rid of more of them this way. Wipe the dead ants up with a tissue and toss them.
A lot of humans love the smell of coffee, but ants aren’t fans. It’s too strong for them, and the acidy of the grounds hurts them. Sprinkle the coffee throughout your home in possible entrance areas.
You can also place the grounds around the outside of your house. This will stop the ants from coming in. Some people put coffee around their pet’s bowls, but caffeine isn’t exactly good for dogs, so you may want to hold off.
There are repellents that you can buy in stores, but they’re full of harmful chemicals. If you want to avoid them, pour water, lavender, and peppermint essential oils into a water bottle.
Spray the mixture all over your kitchen and inside your pantry. If the ants can’t get to a good source of food, they’ll have no reason to stick around.
Like repellents, you can also create a homemade ant trap using a paper plate, honey, and corn syrup. The ants will venture onto the plate to eat a meal, only to get trapped there. All you have to do is toss out the plate when you’ve captured enough of them.
Wipe Down Your Counters
Again, ants use special pheromones to follow each other around. If you get rid of the scent, the ants won’t have any sense of direction.
One of the best ways to go about this is to simply wipe down your counters every night. You’ll be able to stop the ants in their tracks and keep your kitchen sanitized at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Female worker ants gather up large amounts of food and take it back to the nest. A lot of chemical baits allow you to take advantage of this trait.
Set out the bait in places where you’ve noticed the ants. The females will gather the poison up and take it back to the colony, where the other ants will eat it.
Prevent the Pests From Coming Back
The last thing you want is to get the ants back once you’ve successfully gotten rid of them. You want to keep them away for good, so you don’t have to deal with them again. Here are a few popular ways to go about that.
Take Out Your Garbage
Sugar ants are attracted to strong smells. Your garbage sort of fits this bill. If there are any holes in the bag, it will lead the ants straight into your house.
To avoid this, take out your garbage when it gets full. Don’t put it by the door until you get around to removing it. Take it outside ASAP.
Clean Up After Meals
All it takes is a few food crumbs to lure in ants. It’s like when you open a treat bag in front of your dog. No matter where they are, they’ll detect it.
Wipe any trace amounts of food off your counters and vacuum up the crumbs. Do this at least once a night to keep the little pests away.
Get Rid of Moisture
Sugar ants are attracted to damp areas. For most homeowners, the bathrooms and kitchen sink create the perfect environment for ants.
To stop them from making themselves at home, wipe away any water and call a plumber to fix pipe leaks.
Call an Exterminator
If nothing seems to be working to keep the ants away, WhyUBugginPest Control can help. They’ll figure out how and why the ants are getting in.
From there, they’ll get rid of any existing pests in your home and offer methods and advice that will stop you from having to deal with them again.
Stop a Sugar Ant Infestation in Its Tracks
A sugar ant infestation can be one of the most annoying things to deal with. Once they’ve found a good source of food, they’re not going to want to leave it.
The good news is that there are a variety of ways to stop them from getting into your house and even more ways to dispose of them once they’ve settled.
Try out some of the extermination techniques that we’ve listed here, and for more ways to keep pests out of your house, visit the Home and Decor section of our blog.