How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a Problem

From this article you will learn how to get rid of sugar ants naturally - we've considered pet- and children-safe recipes, as well as give tips on how to repel insects from your house
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Last updatedLast updated: April 21, 2022
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Sugar ants get their name from their attraction to sugary food. Although they balance the ecosystem by aerating soil, pollinating plants and spreading seeds, they are annoying pests that tend to invade homes, especially during springtime. Getting rid of their colonies can be difficult but you can use non-toxic methods that do not involve harsh pesticides and chemicals. In this article, we have discussed how to get rid of sugar ants naturally to prevent them from setting up colonies. You can also use these methods to eliminate other species of ants. The solutions feature a variety of home remedies with ingredients, such as sugar and white vinegar, which are affordable and easily available. We have also included the preventative measures you can adopt to prevent a sugar ant infestation.

What You should Know about Sugar Ants

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemSugar ants are tiny insects with brown and black coloring. They feed on sweet substances and are also attracted to protein, fats and pollen. They enter homes through cracks, crevices and other small holes in walls, windows and doorways. They prefer hiding in damp and dark places inside houses or outside in anthills where you will find the queen and colony. They are mostly annoying although the University of Minnesota reports that some sugar ants, such as Pharaoh ants, could transmit diseases Trusted Source Ants | UMN Extension Knowing what species of ant you’re dealing with helps to determine the best way to manage them. This article provides ways to identify different types of ants and how to find and treat ant nests. extension.umn.edu like Salmonella.

Types

To know how to kill sugar ants naturally, you need to know their species and habitats so you can properly choose the best strategy.

There are different types of sugar ants. The common sugar ants that live indoors are pharaoh ants, pavement ants and carpenter ants, and the common outdoor ones that might invade your home for food are rover ants, false honey ants and acrobat ants.

What attracts them

Sugar ants are native to Australia and common in the country. According to the Australian Museum Trusted Source Sugar Ant - The Australian Museum Sugar Ants are relatively large ants with an orange-brown middle and black head and abdomen. australian.museum , the name of these ants comes from their love for sugar and any sweet food. They have a heightened sense of smell and multiple odor receptors that help them to detect food and leave pheromone trails to your home. These scent trails are followed by other ants in search of food and water. Some entry points used by sugar ants are vents, crevices and other openings, and their colonies are found in nests in basements or inside walls.

Where they hide

Most colonies will be outside on your lawn because it is easier to dig through the loose soil to make an underground nest. They also hide in cracks on pavements and in holes and wall cracks in your home.

How to Kill Sugar Ants Naturally

We will discuss how to naturally get rid of sugar ants in simple steps using common ingredients.

White vinegar

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemWhite vinegar is often included in recommendations on how to get rid of sugar ants in the house naturally. It has acetic acid with an overwhelming rancid and pungent smell that is overpowering to the sugar ants’ sense of smell and repels them to keep them away from the pheromone trails made by other ants. Vinegar is also a suitable solution for other species of ants, spider mites, grain mites and garden pests. You can use it alone or dilute it with water in equal parts, and then spray it in the ant holes and the crevices that the sugar ants use to invade your home.

To make the solution, mix one cup of water and one cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and shake. Check the garbage can, drainage and possible cracks to find their entry point and then spray the solution on their trails to stop them from following these trails. Ideally, you should spray the trails in the morning or later in the afternoon since this is the most active time for sugar ants.

The acetic acid in vinegar prevents it from going bad. So, the vinegar solution can last long if stored in a cool, dark place and you can use it to clean countertops, floors and other surfaces to prevent sugar ants from entering your house.

Essential and eucalyptus oils

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemDid you know that you can use essential oils as home remedies for sugar ants? The powerful and intense smell of essential oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus and cinnamon, works in a similar way as vinegar to confuse the scent receptors and prevent ants from following pheromone trails.

Other potent oils with a strong scent include tea tree oil, neem oil, clove oil, lemon oil, and orange oil. The last two citrus essential oils contain d-limonene which kills the sugar ants by penetrating their waxy exoskeleton. Sugar ants detest the menthol smell of peppermint oil which also repels cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice and rats. Clove oil is a natural insecticide that works fast to kill the sugar ants.

Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil to 2 cups of water and mix them for a DIY solution of how to naturally get rid of sugar ants. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on pantry shelves, windowsills, doorways and other entry points and travel routes.

Alternatively, you can use undiluted essential oil as a sugar ant repellent by saturating cotton wool balls in the oil and placing them in areas that sugar ants use. Replace the cotton balls after every few days. A good choice would be Handcraft Eucalyptus Essential Oil which is also available in several different scents and blends well with various essential oils.

Glass cleaner and liquid detergent

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemFor increased effectiveness, combine liquid detergent with glass cleaner and spray the mixture directly on the ants or on their travel routes.

You may use liquid detergent, diluted or undiluted, if you find the smell of the glass cleaner overwhelming. The same ingredients in a liquid detergent which are responsible for removing grease can also erode the exoskeleton of sugar ants and cause dehydration and eventual death. Liquid detergent also contains surfactants which reduce the surface tension of water and increase solubility. This causes the sugar ants to drown because they can no longer float.

Borax

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemBorax is mostly known as a cleaner. However, it makes a good insect killer because it is also a desiccant that absorbs moisture from sugar ants and fleas and causes severe dehydration which eventually leads to death.

A key advice on how to get rid of sugar ants in the house naturally or with the best fire ant killer is to kill the queen. To do that, you require slow-acting bait that the worker can carry back to the colony and share with others before dying. That is what makes borax an effective sugar ant deterrent. It gives the worker sufficient time to return to the colony and will successfully destroy all the sugar ants after a few days of exposure by gradually eroding their digestive system when they ingest the borax.

Sugar ants like sugar, honey and peanut butter and borax is a natural mineral in fine powder form that is easy to mix with oily and liquid food. Mix borax with fatty or sugary substances to mask the smell and attract the ants.

The most important thing to remember is the ratio of the ingredients. The ratio should be strong enough to kill the sugar ants but only after the workers have returned to the nest. For an effective ant trap, mix six teaspoons of borax with a cup of sugar and three cups of water. Dip cotton balls in the solution and place them on the entry points and ant trails in your house, and then block their nest later on after all the ants have been killed to prevent sugar ant infestation in future.

You can use warm water to dissolve the borax and sugar faster, and some people add peanut butter to the solution to make a tastier snack that they spread on small bits of bread or roll into tiny balls. Keep the remainder of the solution in a fridge for later use.

Boiling water

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemPouring boiling hot water in holes and anthills around your home is a simple way to kill sugar ants naturally. You might need to repeat the process a few times to kill the whole colony since these nests are wide despite their deceptively small opening. If that sounds tedious, get EcoRaider Ant Killer to kill the sugar ants within 6 minutes!

Cucumber peels

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemEver thought you could naturally get rid of sugar ants with cucumber? Well, the peels of this crunchy vegetable contain trans-2-nonenal, a chemical that is toxic to the fungi that sugar ants are attracted to. Cucumber peels are a natural repellent for these ants. Grate or slice the peels and place them on the trails, then replace them when they dry out. Sugar ants also hate the smell of these peels so it is important to ensure the peels stay moist.

Baking soda

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemBaking soda is common in most households and the ingredient has versatile applications, including in methods on how to get rid of sugar ants in car naturally. It is a natural alternative for the best pet safe ant killer that is also safe for kids.

You mix the baking soda with sugar in equal parts to attract the ants. When the sugar ants ingest it, they explode and die because of the large amount of carbon dioxide produced when the baking soda reacts with the digestive acid in their stomach.

As well as being among the safest home remedies for sugar ants, this ant bait with baking soda acts slowly to give the workers time to carry the mixture back to their queen and colony.

Diatomaceous Earth

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemOur guide on how to naturally get rid of sugar ants has mainly featured methods where the substance has to be ingested to kill the ant or is pungent enough to repel sugar ants. Diatomaceous earth is slightly different because it is an abrasive substance that can also work simply by coming into contact with the ants and it does not require to be mixed with other ingredients to draw sugar ants. It is a great option that gives sugar ants no chance to build tolerance as they do with some pesticides.

Diatomaceous earth is easy to use and safe for humans and pets but you can use to get rid of sugar ants in car naturally because it kills all types of ants within three days. It is made from marine diatoms that have been fossilized.

Although it comes as a powder, the powdered diatomaceous earth has sharp edges that puncture the exoskeleton on ants and desiccates them to death. Use a duster or puffer to sprinkle the food-grade powder into cracks, ant trails and the nest’s entrance, and then wipe it up after a month or less, depending on the level of ant infestation.

How to Keep Sugar Ants Away

Prevention is the best measure when it comes to sugar ant infestation. You can save yourself time and effort by using the steps below to avoid sugar ants.

Vacuuming

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemSugar ants are drawn to food crumbs. Cleaning your house with the best dust mite vacuum at least once daily after meals can get rid of sugar ants in the house naturally, and prevent them from leaving scent trails.

Clean counters

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemYou can also remove pheromone trails and prevent a sugar ant infestation by keeping your kitchen countertop clean. Wipe off any residue food with a good cleaner and sanitizer. You could also use white vinegar to clean and deodorize your kitchen countertop, unless it is made of natural stone which requires specialty cleaners that will not cause damage.

Limit food source

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemRemove and clean up any food crumbs, dispose the garbage, keep food in tightly sealed containers, clean the sink after clearing dishes and ensure that there are no damp spots where sugar ants can thrive.

Used coffee grounds

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemPet bowls with food can attract sugar ants. One way to avoid this is by sprinkling used coffee grounds around the bowls and in any cracks they can use to enter your house. The acidity and aroma of coffee will repel sugar ants.

Hanging garlic

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemEarlier when discussing how to naturally get rid of sugar ants, we mentioned how some substances with overpowering smell can act as a deterrent for sugar ants. The pungent odor of garlic is repulsive to the ants and will disrupt their scent receptors and throw them off their trails. Hanging garlic on strings is one of the effective home remedies for sugar ants.

Check damp areas

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally: Safest Solutions to a ProblemDark and moist environments like sinks and bathrooms provide a thriving atmosphere for sugar ants and other pests. Check and fix any leakage and wipe away excess moisture.

Final Thoughts

If you have reads through our list of home remedies for sugar ants, you are now equipped to not only eliminate a sugar ant infestation but also to prevent the pesky insects from entering your home. You can tweak some of the suggestions as long as you keep the right ratio of ingredients and place them in the areas where sugar ants are likely to be found. For instance, you could substitute honey for sugar or cloves and bay leaves for garlic. In this comprehensive guide on how to get rid of sugar ants naturally, we have also recommended options for the best products that you can use for quicker or immediate results. These products are safe for humans and pets.

References

1.
Ants | UMN Extension
Knowing what species of ant you’re dealing with helps to determine the best way to manage them. This article provides ways to identify different types of ants and how to find and treat ant nests.
2.
Sugar Ant - The Australian Museum
Sugar Ants are relatively large ants with an orange-brown middle and black head and abdomen.
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