Natural Vs Chemical Treatments
Natural methods to get rid of sugar ants have some supporters, but numerous studies have shown that their effectiveness is shaky at best.
You may need to call a pest control company to take care of your ant problem if you cant find a natural method that works for you.
Well explain a little about identifying sugar ants, when its time to call a pest control company, and explain some of the more effective natural methods you can try.
Weve also included some tips to keep them away once youve had your home effectively treated. Want to get back to having a clean, ant-free home? Keep reading.
Keeping Ants Out Of Pet Food
Putting away your leftover food and making sure there are no dirty dishes on the counter is easy, yet pet food is a little harder to hide from ants. Here is how to keep ants out of cat food and dog food.
Place all pet food in containers with lids and make sure to close the lid in between feedings. Fill a shallow dish with water and put your pets food dish in the center.
Doing this creates a moat of water around the food, and when the ants try to get a snack, they drown.
Find The Colony & Gain Access
If youre tackling more stubborn ant infestations in your walls, you may have to find the nest and gain access to it. This technique is best reserved for a professional ant exterminator if youre unfamiliar with ant species and their habits.
Usually, carpenter ants are the ones that need a little more work to kill and get rid of. These ants can burrow so deep into the wall that theyre inaccessible by conventional means.
After finding the nest, the ideal technique is to bore several holes into the structure so that you can apply insecticide or traps efficiently.
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Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Compounds in cinnamon leaf essential oil, including trans-cinnamaldehyde, have been found effective at killing and repelling ants, including biting red ants.
Anecdotal evidence indicates powdered cinnamon is also effective at repelling ants. Try saturating cotton balls with the oil and leaving them where youve seen ants, or sprinkling the powder around on windowsills and baseboards.
Health food stores often carry cinnamon leaf essential oil. You can also find it online.
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A Common Misconception About Sugar Ants
The sugar ants you may see in your home are not technically sugar ants. They are usually either pavement ants or pharaoh ants. The only true sugar ants, Camponotus consobrinus, are found exclusively in Australia.
Other types of sugar ants you may see in your home include ghost ants, crazy ants, white-footed ants and acrobat ants. There are many other types of ants that are in this category, but we wont list them all here. The type or types you may encounter in and around your home kind of depend on where you live.
Some of these ants will build a colony outside and only come in for food, others will set up nests inside your home. Whichever kind has set up shop in your house, they are highly invasive and very difficult to get rid of once they are established.
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Signs Of Sugar Ants In Your Home
The most obvious sign of sugar ants inside the home is active trailing. Unless active trails are noticed, it can be easy to miss a sugar ant issue, even when the nest is close nearby or even insidethe home.
Outside, sugar ants are likely to be found nesting:
- Around walkways
Consider what time of year it is and rate the severity of the issue. Is it frequent and severe? Just a few here or there? If you are noticing an interior sugar ant issue and it is wintertime, this is definitely cause for concern. This could mean that you have an ant nest that has moved inside to overwinter.
Inside, sugar ants like heat and can be found nesting in places like:
How To Remove Sugar Ant Nests
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 volcanoa little mound with a small hole on top. To remove one of these nests, follow these tips:
- Flood the nest with running water from a garden hose for 510 minutes or pour boiling water over the nest.
- Dump a cup of bleach down the nest hole to kill the ant colony.
- Sprinkle baking soda down the hole and around the entire nest.
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Are Sugar Ants Active At Night
Most ant species are nocturnal, so theyâre most active during the night and sleep during the day. Sugar ants are no exception. They tend to wake up a couple of hours before the sunset and go into hiding around sunrise. The best time to lay bait and kill the whole ant colony is at night. However, individual ants can be spotted even at midday.
How To Prevent Sugar Ants From Invading Your Home
It is better to prevent sugar ants from getting in than get rid of them when it comes to ants.
Even after getting rid of them, it still makes a whole lot of sense to avoid them from the back into your home.
Heres how you can go about preventing sugar ants from invading your home.
1. Use pesticides outdoors
Pesticides can be used to prevent sugar ants from invading your home.
The best way to use them is to apply them outdoors around those parts of your premises they frequent.
Once you can get rid of them outdoors, you neednt have to worry about them invading your home.
2. Reduce the available food and water
You could achieve this by managing leftover food remnants around the house.
Ants invade homes in search of food and water. If you limit the amount of food and water they have access to, they wouldnt have anything to draw them to your home.
So store your foods well, take care of the garbage and fix any leaks around the house.
3. Minimize Their Access to Your Home
We have already established that sugar ants find their way into your home through any cracks and crevices they can access.
So you want to plug these cracks and crevices around your home using caulk. You might want to pay particular attention to the door thresholds where ants can readily travel through.
Replacing broken glasses or any openings in the nets on your doors and windows will also limit their points of entry.
Sugar ants love the tea tree and can be found around it.
4. Set up a perimeter
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Control Sugar Ant Invasions With Bay Leaves
Similar to whole cloves, bay leaves can be used to keep sugar ants from entering your home. Placing bay leaves under windows, in cracks, and under counters can help control a sugar ant infestation.
You can also wrap fresh bay leaves in some cheesecloth and place it in your kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Make A Trap Out Of Baking Soda
Another non-toxic way to kill sugar ants is by making ant traps with baking soda. Baking soda consists of small salt crystals that are composed of bicarbonate and sodium ions.
When the sugar ants ingest the baking soda, it reacts with the acid in their digestive system. This reaction generates carbon-dioxide gas, which makes them explode.
Youll need to mix the baking soda with powdered sugar to act as the bait. This method is handy for getting rid of sugar ants because they take the small sugar crystals with the baking soda back to their nests, which destroys the ant problem at the source. It is also the safest method for killing ants if you have pets and kids at your home.
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How Do Sugar Ants Live
Sugar ants are social insects.
Like all social insects, they live in colonies that can be as large as 350,000 strong ants thronging up and down going about their business.
The sugar ant colony consists of a queen, male ants capable of procreating, and a horde of non-reproductive workers. Thats not all, though.
There are at least a hundred other adult females capable of forming a colony of theirs, which explains why you can have several sugar ant colonies on a premise simultaneously. This is because of a process known as budding.
Budding refers to a process where several reproductive adult female ants in a nest go in different directions to start new nests.
Sugar ants use chemical signals to communicate with one another as they go in search of food. They use pheromones to mark their food with a unique odor which serves as a beacon when they move to and fro their anthills.
They can do this because they have a very keen sense of smell over a significant distance .
Have you ever wondered how they can locate even your best-hidden sweets?
Well, now you know why.
Use A Contact Killing Spray
Like many people, your first reaction upon finding sugar ants in your house is to grab a can of ant spray. This is the method that most people know about, and its the way that our parents and grandparents usually handled their ant problems.
But its worth noting that there are some issues with using this method to get rid of sugar ants. First of all, these sprays are highly toxic. Sure, it will kill the sugar ants, but the fumes are very dangerous to you, your family, and your pets. The entire area plus any ant trails that you find have to be thoroughly sprayed, so you may have to leave the house for a few hours.
The other reason why using a contact killing spray is not the best idea is that its only getting rid of the sugar ants that you spray. Its a quick fix, and it may make you feel better in the short term, but its basically just a band aid .
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Can Sugar Ants Damage Your Home
The only ant in the sugar ant classification that can cause damage to your home is the carpenter ant.
Carpenter ants burrow tunnels into your homes structure and use these tunnels to live in.
The rest of the ants that we call sugar ants really don’t pose any threat to your home, other than possibly contaminating your food if they gain access to your pantry or other food locations.
What Natural Repellents Do Ants Hate
Peppermint oil is perhaps the most effective organic ant repellent. However, it’s not the only way to keep the pest away. ‘Many essential oils can work to repel ants, albeit with short-lived results,’ Scott explains. He suggests using other pantry staples such as vinegar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, or even black pepper can help temporarily.
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How To Get Rid Of Sugar Ants With Vinegar
Vinegar is also one of the best home remedies to get rid of sugar ants in the garden because the smell of vinegar is very strong and can not be tolerated in the house so therefore if you see sugar ants in your garden or any outer area of the house you may kill them by using vinegar. A vinegar solution is always successful in getting rid of sugar ants and ant pheromone trail and also works in bringing ants out of their nest. The process is very simple you just have to mix some vinegar and water in a spray bottle, as vinegar contains acetic acid it will act as a deterrent against these pests and lead to the removal of the scent of an ant trail. When you find the entry points and all possible ways through which ants can enter the house or kitchen or any other room or place where some food is kept spray this solution on the baseboards and block all the trails to get rid of sugar ants on the patio. The ants are most active in the morning time or at noontime so make sure you spray the vinegar solution at that time to kill a large number of ants.
Why Are There Sugar Ants In My Bed
A bedroom is not a common place for sugar ants, but they may have several reasons for coming. As we know, search for food is what basically leads them to your place, so if you better quit eating in bed. Another reason is the smell your sheets can keep smells which attract the insects. Wash bed sheets, blankets, and pillow cases as often as possible and use a bleacher-based washer.
If you and your bed are tidy, the problem may lay in your building: old houses with lots of space in the walls and the floors seem like a comfortable place for ants to nest. Try to find and isolate every hole that may be an ant entering point to your bedroom.
The other reason is the fusty air in the bedroom try and ventilate it more often or get an air conditioner to eliminate the house smells. And once a week wed advise you to wash your bedroom floor with vinegar.
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Set Up A Defense Against Ants
There is no way to keep tiny ants out of your home completely. For example, the ghost ant can squeeze through even the tightest barriers.
To make up for any entry points too small to seal, you can use a chemical barrier around your home to fill in those gaps. It provides a perimeter defense against ants, and it keeps working for up to 90 days, in some cases.
A residual insecticide spray containing cyfluthrin works well as an invisible boundary against ants. Or you can opt for a long-lasting microcap product containing fipronil.
The idea is to treat the house directly to set up a chemical barrier. Some products even allow you to spot-treat indoors where ants often enter your home.
To reach inside cracks and crevices, use food-grade diatomaceous earth. It is a naturally occurring product mined from dry lake beds. Also, it contains crushed diatoms that strip the outer layer of the ant, causing it to dehydrate and die.
For something slightly stronger, use boric acid in wall voids to eradicate ant nests indoors. It also works well for pipe entry points, openings in eves and overhangs, and the area between the wall and the baseboard.
What Are The Sugar Ants
There are more than 10 thousand species of ants. But in the kitchen, you usually meet sugar, or pharaoh, ants.
Sugar ants are small light brown or yellowish insects. They are called sugar because they like sweet food: sugar, honey, jelly, cakes. They were first discovered in the Egyptian pyramids in the 18th century. That is why their second name is pharaoh ants.
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Use Homemade Essential Oil
Essential oils are effective in getting rid of sugar ants from homes. Some of the best essential oils you can use include clove oil, lemon oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil. Lemon oil contains d-limonene, which is harmful to sugar ants. It penetrates ants hard and waxy exoskeleton and kills them.
Peppermint oil also repels sugar ants, rats, cockroaches, and mice. Sugar ants dont like the smell of menthol and will keep off any area with this scent.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Sugar Ants
So you found out that you have a sugar ant infestation that you need to get rid of ASAP, but somehow you dont know how to get rid of sugar ants.
Well, here are some of the fastest ways to get rid of sugar ants.
However, you should note that the quickest way for you depends on your peculiar situation.
1. Use white vinegar
White vinegar can be used to kill sugar ants quickly. This is because white vinegar has an acidic active ingredient, making it toxic to black ants.
You could make a white vinegar solution with equal parts of white vinegar and water. You then spray this solution directly on the ants, their trails, their nesting sites, or just about anywhere you have noticed their activity.
2. Borax bait station
To create a Borax bait station, mix a little borax powder with a large brown sugar in a bowl.
Add some warm water to the bowl and stir well for a while. You then make some equally-spaced holes in a lidded disposable plastic container at a height that prevents the solution from spilling.
Add some crumbs of sweet foods like cookies in the container before pouring the solution into the container.
Next, close the lid and place the container around the areas that the ants frequent. You can make as many of these containers as possible, and the more you have, the faster you eliminate the ants.
3. Pour boiling water on the colony
Some nature enthusiasts might not subscribe to this idea, but pouring boiled salty water over an ant colony would help eliminate many ants ASAP.
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What Do Ghost Ants Look Like
Ghost ants are super small and multi-colored. You would think distinct, two-toned coloring would make ghost ants easier to identify, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Due to their small size and light coloring, ghost ants can actually be very difficult to spot and are easily confused with other ant pests, including sugar ants and pharaoh ants.
In the U.S., ghost ants are found primarily in Florida and are most common in the warmest, most southern areas of the state. They are also found in other areas, especially in greenhouses where more “tropical” conditions are found.
Ghost ants have the following characteristics:
- 1.3-1.5 mm in length
- Dark brown head and thorax
- No spines or hairs on thorax
- Light abdomen and legs ranging from yellow-tan to cream
- 12 antennae segments that gradually thicken toward the tip