Sugar ants, aka, Banded Sugar ants, pose no threat to us, humans. But in springtime, these ants do move out of their colonies to search for food. Oftentimes, they prefer to eat sweets, tasty scraps, and every other form of sugary material. These ants are not easy to ward off. So, many people look for permanent solutions. So, let’s kick off with one of the greatest sugar ants mysteries.
Will Sugar Ants Go Away on Their Own?
Well…as said earlier, sugar ants invade our homes for one thing: sugary foods. At first, only one or two sugar ants acting as scouts would tag your house as a potentially rich source. If they confirm it with their effective chemical sensors, they would then drag a few pieces of the food to their nests while leaving a trail of pheromones along their path.
Depending on how far the source is from the colony, it can take a few minutes to days for the others to arrive in droves. Since these ants are too small to notice until they come in numbers, their arrival often feels like the sugar ants came out of nowhere. Oftentimes, this feeling often confuses people about how to get rid of the sugar ants.
But then, if you remove the food sources that attract them, and you do it as often as possible, the sugar ants will later interpret your home to be a desert; devoid of food. As such, the sugar ants would move out of your house on their own. So, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the common things that sugar ants are attracted to. These include:
- spoilt fruits;
- food leftovers
- sugar grains
- drops of sugary drinks
- unattended pet foods and many more.
But the thing is, we can’t completely do away with sugar and sweets in our homes, can we? So, these ants would keep coming back. This is why we need to look for a better and more permanent solution to ward off sugar ants for good!
READ MORE: How to Get Rid of Ants in Carpets.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Permanently; for Good?
To get rid of sugar ants for good, you need to first know that unlike most of the other insects, their colony can have more than one queen.
Not only that, but each queen within a colony also has the ability to sense any foreign item that drops into the colony. So, anytime the queens notice a change within the nests like an insecticide you use to repel them, each queen will diverge in various directions to form a new colony.
Once that happens, your pest problem will grow in folds. And this is the exact reason why you discover that a few weeks after you spray down a marked ant area, other nests would start popping up. So, to permanently get rid of sugar ants, you need to first pinpoint their entry point into your house.
To do this, you will need to locate some sugar ants. Then, you can stalk their visible route until you either locate their colony. Oftentimes, these colonies can be within your house. If not, you can try to identify their rendezvous point outside your house. Within your house, common places where sugar ants can make their nests include:
- roofs made of woods
- wall holes
- kitchen cabinets
- potted plants
- And also, inside cars.
Once you locate their entry points, you can then choose whether you want to eradicate your pests with either natural or chemical means. Some of the best ways to get rid of these sugar ants permanently include the use of non-repellent insecticides (with a little bit of professional’s help) or ant baits or some homemade remedies that you will learn about in this article.
However, whether the chemical or natural method, the most effective way to get rid of sugar ants involves the use of non-repellent insecticides and baits placed in strategic points in the house. This is because, with these insecticides, you can kill your ants without the queens noticing the treatment. That way, you can keep the sugar ants colonies from spreading throughout your house after the momentary treatments. Of course, you already know how worse that can be, don’t you?
READ MORE: How Long Do Ants Live?
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally?
While non-repellent insecticides have proven to be the best method to eliminate sugar ants, there are other natural means that work just as well. In this article, we’ll quickly run through the popular examples and how to use them to ensure maximum effect. So, here’s a list of natural substances that can help you ward off sugar ants:
1) Boiling water.
Boiling water comes in handy after you’ve located the nests of the sugar ants. You can make use of it by pouring the hot water inside the holes and their immediate surroundings. This, of course, would kill the ants on the go. But don’t be deceived. Ant nests may look rather minute on the surface. On the inside, their cavities are wide and can house up to thousands of sugar ants.
So, do your best to apply enough hot water and as often as possible. However, try to avoid using hot water in places where damage using such a method is possible. In such cases, there are other alternatives on this list.
2) Lemon eucalyptus oil.
Naturally, the lemon eucalyptus tree is long-known to repel most kinds of bugs. Of course, sugar ants are no exceptions. As such, you can dip a cotton ball in pure lemon eucalyptus oil. Afterward, ensure you place it at strategic entry points of sugar ants or near their nests.
Though effective, using lemon eucalyptus oil works just like every other bug repellent. As said earlier, these repellents only drive sugar ants away for a short while. The next time you see them, they would have built multiple nests in other places. So, consistency in using the lemon oil is key.
3) White vinegar.
From what we know, two things make white vinegar a good choice to repel sugar ants. For one, it’s a disinfectant that can help keep your kitchen cabinets, countertops, and even your floors clean. That means a spray of white vinegar would help eradicate most of the common food sources for sugar ants. This already reduces your sugar ant pest population by half.
Then again, the smell of white vinegar deters sugar ants. In fact, they can smell it when dried, and long after we humans can no longer perceive it. As such, using white vinegar as a smoke bomb against sugar ants could come in handy. You can even use it to remove the visible sugar ant trails. By doing so, you get to cut off their contact with the ones outside your house.
4) Bay leaves.
Both bay leaves and cloves contain some compounds that produce certain smells. These saints are so strong that sugar ants get repelled by them. So, they also serve as great natural means to get rid of sugar ants.
To use bay leaves, you can spread a few of them under different countertops. As for the cloves, layout entire leaves near baseboards and other places. However, these leaves wilt over time. So, always remember to change them.
Pantries and wine cellars are very common places to find sugar ants. To get rid of sugar ants from your pantry, you can string up your garlic and hang them on doorknobs and even on shelves. This is because like your bay leaves, garlic has a pungent smell that throws sugar ants off.
6) Coffee Grounds.
We hate to break the news, but coffee is a bit acidic. Safe for humans though. But to sugar ants, the acidic nature of coffee and the smell make two things they can’t tolerate. This is because this combo burns them. For you, that’s good news.
So, you can sprinkle coffee grounds in certain areas like your pantry, and outside your house to off sugar ants.
7) Other Essential oils.
Lemon oil is a good choice, really. But when it comes to getting rid of sugar ants, it’s not the only one on the list. Other Essential oils that can be used include Peppermint oil, Neem oil, Cinnamon oil, and other oils with strong odors.
8) Food-grade diatomaceous earth.
In case you don’t know, diatomaceous earth is a white powder made from crushed plankton remains. Food-grade ones pose no risk to you and your pet. For insects, however, it’s a death sentence. As such, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth along the routes of sugar ants. Within a month, the deed should be done. So, you can wipe it off afterward.
Home-made Recipes to Get Rid of Sugar Ants.
Not all-natural substances used to deter sugar ants come ready-made. To use them, you may need to make one or two concoctions out of them by yourself. So, here’s a few home-made recipes that can help you get rid of sugar ants:
- A mixture of glass cleaner and liquid soaps or dish detergent.
- Cotton balls dipped in borax or boric acid.
- 10- 20 drops of essential oils like peppermint, neem oil, and co.
- A 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water.
- Ant traps are made with honey on a plastic plate. You can also use corn syrup instead and place either at a strategic point. For this trap, the honey would serve as bait. At the same time, the ants would get stuck in it and die.
General Guidelines on How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants from Strategic Locations
All the method cited above to get rid of sugar ants works well when used often and for the right location. For instance, you can’t expect a good result when you use coffee grounds, cotton balls in boric acid, or even diatomaceous earth in your bathroom. To help you choose the right tool, we’ve compiled a list of general tips to get rid of sugar ants in bathrooms, and in cars.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in Bathrooms.
The bathroom, like every part of our house, can also harbor sugar ants. Since it is a place that’s often well-supplied with water, you can’t ward it off sugar ants like other parts of the household. But the following strategies can help:
- Use gel or liquid substances injected with poison like boric acid to bait your ants.
- Spray the ants or their nests with insecticides ( preferably non-repellent ones). Always do this with your windows open and at times when the bathroom is not in use.
- Since it’s the bathroom, washing off the insecticides shouldn’t come as a big deal.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in Your Car?
Many people may find it difficult to believe that sugar ants can invade cars. But it’s very much possible to find active mini-colonies in your car. Oftentimes, these sneaky insects find their way in either via a car parked next to anthills, trees or via regular eating inside the car without cleaning up. To get rid of these sugar ants in the car, do the following:
- Try not to park under trees and on grasses.
- Use any of the natural poison baits.
- Always clean your car and vacuum the interior as thoroughly as you can.
- Try your best to not eat in the car.
As you can see, getting rid of sugar ants can be tricky. But it’s not impossible. Several chemicals, homemade and natural methods can be used. However, since we can’t rid our households of sweets and sugars, it’s important to use any of your chosen methods as often as possible. Cleanliness would also go a long way. And remember, consistency is key.