Sugar ants are pests: they get into your house and start getting into your food—bread, cheese, meat, honey, nuts, and others. They can eat a great things, seeing as they’re omnivores. Moreover, as you can tell from their name, they’re especially known for going after sweet foods. They can also damage furniture by chewing at wood. Although sugar ants aren’t harmful to humans, they ruin food and are very annoying. (Not to mention, they’re even attracted to medical equipment and open wounds.)
So, you might be wondering, how can you get rid of sugar ants that keep coming into your home? Well, before we get into that, let’s learn a bit about sugar ants and their place in your home. They’re attached to moist, warm, dark areas, and they come into your house from outside. They also go under the name of the “banded sugar ant,” thanks to the wide band on their bodies. Although most of them are large black ants with orange-brown bodies, the role they play in their community will affect their size and coloring. They can bite humans, but their bites are not harmful.
Way to Get Rid of Sugar Ants
Before you actively start trying to kill them, you should look outside to see if there are any openings that will allow them entry into your house. They can come not only via doors and windows, but also via accent lights, fence lines, and even via pavement. They go into people’s homes because they’re looking for a place where they can make a nest in which they can develop their colonies. They often come into older homes, since such buildings have more cracks that they can sneak into. They go into people’s homes because they’re looking for a place where they can make a nest in which they can develop their colonies. They often come into older homes, since such buildings have more cracks that they can sneak into.
When it’s time to get rid of them, there are several ways of achieving this. One possible method is to clean your kitchen properly. Mop your kitchen floor often. Doing so allows you to destroy their pheromone trails. Similarly, you should vacuum as well; this activity also has the double effect of eliminating residue that could attract ants to your home. Also be sure that the sink in your kitchen is always clean and dry; a wet or dirty sink will attract sugar ants. In addition, clean up those utensils that aren’t completely dry. Don’t take for granted that the dishwasher will have washed them properly, since this is, all too often, unfortunately not the case.
Empty the trash frequently so that garbage can’t accumulate. Emptying it often also prevents odor from building up—always a plus. If your jurisdiction won’t allow you to empty your trash more than you already, you can use tough, solid trash bags as an alternative. Their strength is advantageous because they won’t break open and allow kitchen leftovers (including liquids) to seep out.
Another method of eliminating sugar ants is to use black pepper (or cayenne) or vinegar. If you’re using pepper, sprinkle this stuff onto the entry points wherein the ants come into your home. Such entry points include, among others, holes in the wall, doors, and windows. You can also use a sponge—run it under warm water and soap—to clean their trails. As with mopping, this method works because sugar ants come in via their trails. If they don’t have access to a trail—since you’ve wiped it away—they will get confused and not be able to go back the way they came. Furthermore, when the ants have left for the day, use vinegar to get rid of the scent of their trail. It’s even better if you can find the original location by which the ants are coming in. If you do find it, put black pepper there, too, so that the ants won’t be able to re-enter.
If you’re using vinegar, on the other hand, you’re not using just straight vinegar. Actually, you have to mix vinegar (either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar) together, making sure each substance is in roughly the same amount. Spray this mixture onto countertops, windowsills, and other high-traffic areas which people are always using and passing by. You can also wipe down the surfaces in your kitchen often; this will keep sweetness and stickiness outside of your house—and it’s those two characteristics that sugar ants are looking out for. (Plus, your kitchen will look neater, cleaner, and well-organized. How’s that for convenient?)
Third, you can create traps for the ants. They like sweet food especially, so you can use the many sweet foods found in your fridge and pantry—things like maple syrup, peanut butter, and honey—to trap them. To make such a trap, combine 1 tablespoon of your jelly/syrup/honey with 1 tablespoon of borax. After preparing this combination, place pinholes in a cardboard box, spread the mixture onto a cracker, and place a cracker inside the box. Traps are better set at night, since that’s when the ants will be looking for food in and around your house.
You can also repel them away from your home by placing coffee grinds near their points of entry. The ants are naturally repulsed by the coffee; the don’t like its acidic small, and a cup of joe can burn them. You can swap the grinds with baby powder; sugar ants don’t like substances with strong odors, and nor do they like powdery substances. You can also stop them from getting into the pantry and cabinets by hanging garlic in them. You can also put dried bay leaves in these entrances. Another natural deterrent is the humble cinnamon stick, which you can put anywhere inside your house in order to keep the ants at bay.
A fourth method is to grow mint plants around the foundations of your home. When you do this, the ants will naturally be repulsed, and they will decide not to create their colony’s nest inside your house. Another means of refusing them access is by putting dried bay leaves in your cabinets and by putting chalk in each entrance and point of entry. It’s said that sugar ants don’t like walking through chalk, so they’ll avoid it when they can.
Finally, if natural methods and the other ones we’ve outlined haven’t been working, you can always use pesti- or insecticides. Be aware that, much of the time, these psychological drugs haven’t been properly screened in the country you’re staying in.
Preventing Sugar Ants
All of this being said, you need to realize that preventing sugar ants from coming into your home is more effective than simply getting them out of your home. After all, even if you kill a bunch of them, there’s nothing stopping a new invasion from coming into your house the next day. But if, on the contrary, you take on actions for them to stop coming, then the problem will resolve itself in quick time.
In order to prevent ants from getting into your house and food, you must not leave food lying around when you’re not eating. Put it away in the fridge or the pantry when you’re done with it; don’t just leave it out overnight. If you have to leave dishes out overnight, clean them in such a way that no debris are left over. Wash dishes right away after supper, and clean your kitchen carefully so that there’s no buildup of debris, crumbs, trash, and remnants of foodstuffs. And, of course—though it sounds obvious now; but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20—don’t put things in the pantry (or, worse yet, on the counter) when they need to be inside the fridge. Such items include juices, soft drinks, and even coffee and tea.
Another means of prevention is by sealing both cracks and the foundation of your house; this will prevent the ants from getting inside. For the same reason, you need to get new wooden frames and shingles, if yours are getting old. You might also need to replace the roof, if it’s damaged and old.
At the end of the day, we should remember not to be unduly cruel toward the ants. They have their place in the ecosystem; they eat plants and dead animals, which allows the cycle of life to continue. Thus, there’s another reason why prevention is a good solution: the fewer of them get into your house, the fewer of them you’ll have to killed. That’s the kind of logic everyone can appreciate.