Sugar ants, or banded sugar ants, are attracted to sweets. Their true Latin name is Camponotus consobrinus. These small ants range in size from 2 to 15 mm. The male sugar ants are winged, and those with royal blood are completely black. Female worker sugar ants have orange-colored bodies.
While they are primarily attracted to sweet foods, they will also feed on breads and fatty foods. They are mostly found in the suburbs, and when you see their colonies outside your home, you will recognize the dirt hills they build to surround the entrances to their homes.
They prefer warm, humid climates; you can find sugar ants in the southern states year round.
The best way to exterminate sugar ants is to combine homemade traps and repellents. If you just treat with a spray, you will force sugar ants into other areas of your home. They will simply spread and you will find more and more of them. A two-fold plan is the best plan of attack.
Getting Rid of Sugar Ants
One option is to use Borax. Borax is poisonous to household ants but non-toxic to humans (however, you should keep it away from household pets). You can find Borax in the laundry aisle at the grocery store.
Simply mix the Borax with something sweet (such as sugar, honey, syrup, or jelly) to use as bait, this way the ants will take the poison back to their colony and spread it.
Directions for making the bait: Mix together two tablespoons of Borax and eight ounces of whatever sweet food source you are using in order to create a paste-like mixture. You want to put about two inches of this mixture on a strip of masking tape and place the tape wherever you see ants.
Or, if you have pets, you may want to create a trap instead. This will ensure your pets never come into contact with the Borax mix. To make a trap, place the mixture on a cracker. Put the cracker inside a small box and poke pinholes into the box. Put the trap out and night, because that is when the ants do most of their hunting. Some of the ants will be killed inside the box, but most of the ants will take the bait back to their colony.
- Whole Cloves
Sugar ants are repelled by whole cloves: they hate the smell. Place them in any area where you see sugar ants, such as countertops, baseboards, windowsills, etc. You will keep the ants away and your home will smell nice, too.
Preventing Sugar Ants
After you’ve gotten rid of your sugar ants, you want to make sure they don’t come back. The best way to do this is to keep your home clean. Here are some cleaning tips that will keep those ants at bay:
- Clean the Kitchen Sink
Make sure that you clean out the kitchen sink every night. Don’t leave any dirty dishes, because the ants will find that food! Run the garbage disposal after you wash your dishes, and even run some white vinegar through the disposal each night to keep it clean.
Vacuuming will get rid of any crumbs that might be hiding, just waiting for the sugar ants to find them. Vacuum regularly to clean them up!
- Clean up your Trash Can
Make sure that your trash bags are strong, so that they don’t get punctured. You don’t want to leave a trail of crumbs for the ants to find. If you notice that your trash has spilled into your trash can, clean it out with white vinegar.
- Clean the Counters and Floors
You might have noticed that the key here is white vinegar. Ants hate it! Clean your kitchen counters with it each night to keep them at bay. They had the acidity of it (but they love the sweetness of apple cider vinegar, so don’t mix up the two!).
You can even mop your kitchen floors with a mixture of vinegar and water if you’ve noticed sugar ants on the floors in the past. Remember, anywhere they can find food, they will appear!
Controlling Sugar Ants Outside
You will also want to get rid of the sugar ants outside, to keep them from getting inside your home. There are a number of natural ways to do this, but you can also back this up by calling a pest control company.
- Coffee Grounds
Keep your coffee grounds and spread them around the foundation of your home. You can also spread them out underneath the windows near the kitchen or anywhere you’ve seen evidence of sugar ants (remember to look for those dirt hills).
- Plant Mint
You can also plant mint. It repels not only ant, but a number of other insects, and it smells good, too!
No matter what you do, remember that getting rid of sugar ants is a round the year production if you live in warmer, humid climates. Get rid of the ants, prevent them from coming back, and make sure to treat the outside of your home, too, and you won’t be pestered by these pesky sugar ants again! If you combine this with professional pest control, you’ll be ant-free forever!