How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Ants are ubiquitous; you may think they are the type of creature that can never be extinct, which is why getting rid of sugar ants is a big challenge. The behavior of these insects can be described as budding, fractionating or satelliting. Whenever the sugar ants engage in this pattern, their colony partially migrates from one place to another. The queen, along with other working sugar ants, carries with her the immature pupae, larvae and eggs. After this, they all leave the nest and build another colony in a new location. The sugar ants’ behavior pattern only proves how fast infestation spreads.

Sugar ants are not called “sugar” for nothing. They feed on anything that’s sweet, but they find all scraps of food appealing. The original sugar ants came from Australia. Today, pharaoh ants and pavement ants are also called sugar ants. These insects can be found around the continent of North America.

Why Sugar Ants are Considered Pests

Sugar ants eat anything, like cheese, nuts, meats, bread, honey, honeydew, seeds and even insects. There is nothing to worry about when it comes to health risks, but it is important to always be careful as sugar ants still contaminate food. That being said, you should get rid of sugar ants by all means.

The nests of sugar ants are so tiny that some can be found between two sheets of paper. You can also find some inside food items, furniture, laundry or your clothing. Nesting typically occurs in light fixtures, in linens, in stone wall voids, in cement, under stones, in trash containers, behind baseboards, under floors and in wall voids.

Sugar ants stay in warm and dark areas, like in operating rooms, intensive care units, kitchens, bathrooms, heating tapes and hot water pipes. They create trails in unsanitary areas like bedpans, washbasins, toilets and drains. You can even find some in sterile dressing even when these are sealed well. Other things that attract sugar ants include medical equipment, surgical wounds and intravenous drip systems.

Sugar Ant Control Measures

Control measures for sugar ants are challenging, not only because there are just too many of them, but also because you have to do these measures everyday. If you have no time for this, just make sure that you spare some time everyday, even only in the months of March through September. After all, you already know you can find most of them in the kitchen. Here are some of the things you can do to save your home from sugar ant infestation:

  • Squeaky Clean and Super Dry Kitchen Sink – Controlling sugar ants inside your home is a matter of cleanliness. Aside from keeping your kitchen sink clean, it is also important to keep it dry because moisture invites all types of pests. The water left in the kitchen sink will also help the sugar ants wash down any food that you have left over.

To make sure that your kitchen sink is clean, rinse out the dishes completely before leaving them on the sink overnight. Wipe the plates, glasses and spoons dry and wipe the kitchen sink itself. Leave no moisture, food or residual sweets. If you are not comfortable with what you consider dirty work, then use a little bleach and pour it down the drain to get rid of the odor of rotting food. You also need to empty the dish drains and wipe them down before you go to sleep.

  • Bleaching Your Counter Tops – Get rid of sugar ants by bleaching your counter tops every night, since these pests love staying on dirty surfaces. Just like dirty sinks, sugar ants are also attracted to dirty counter tops. Counter tops should be wiped to sanitize your kitchen, and the bleaching solution works to break down pheromones. Ants use pheromones as a guide to follow their fellow ants while gathering food.
  • Mopping the Floor – Even your kitchen floor should be mopped and bleached, especially during the summer months. Mopping after every meal is recommended, but if you do not have time for this, you should at least mop your floor once in the evening. Get rid of sugar ants by getting rid of pheromone trails. With bleach and a bucket of water, getting rid of residual sugars and scraps of food is easy.
  • Floors Must Be VacuumedVacuuming the floors is effective, especially if you focus on the areas where you usually consume food. It is important to get rid of remains of other pests, meat, vegetables and bread crumbs, because sugar ants eat all these. Vacuum your carpet as there are food residuals hiding there, too.
  • Empty the Trash Bin Strong garbage bags are always better than weak ones. Weak trash bags easily get punctured, and liquid may drip from them. Moisture plus dirt invites sugar ants. If you have garbage bags with baking soda for deodorizing, that’s even better.

Don’t think that you can never get rid of sugar ants. It will be a little tough to do this, but if you do your part, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Sugar ants are very small, which means that they are easy to kill. Make your home a healthier environment for you and your family by getting rid of these insects.

If you found this article interesting, you may also be interested in learning about how to kill ants. For preventive measures, you may also be interested in learning how to clean carpeting.

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Nicole Harding


  • Your tip on using borax/boric acid and corn syrup as a bait to kill the
    entire colony is concise, clear, comprehensive and to the point.
    thank you

    Have sugar ants in kitchen, bath..everywhere. Have Terminex/they said can’t get rid of them,might be able to control a bit. Gave me little cards with jelly like substance on around house. NEVER seen an ant on cards but still have them everywhere…even inside TIGHTLY CAPPED PEANUT BUTTER JAR.

    CAN ANYONE HELP? Thanks so very much

  • I see a comment posted regarding a boric acid and corn syrup solution – can you please send the recipe for that to me? I too have been invaded by sugar ants in my kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

  • I see the recipe for borax/acid and syrup. Could you send me the recipe. I have sugar ants in the kitchen and baths. Can’t get rid of them.
    Thank you-

  • Vinegar (white not other type) instead of bleach to clean where they come in (although it stinks). MOST important, use ant baits that contain boric acid (non-toxic unless you ate an entire bottle) and they usually have corn syrup in them so the ants bring the stuff back to colony. You really want them to bring it back to kill the colony. Terro brand are recommended, you can even order boric acid $15 5lbs or $6 for 1lb and mix it with something sugary. The pre-made baits have the right mix though. Boric acid is also good for roaches. Boric acid is safe to use around food.

  • I have successfully gotten rid of the sugar ants that were in the bedroom and the kitchen by using the very simple borax/syrup mixture. but my bathroom is another story. I keep my bathroom squeeky clean and still they are everywhere. they come in from the ceiling, from the vent on the floor and i swear i think they are coming up from my drain in my sink.
    I have tried everything. ive sealed everything off, used traps, borax….everything. All i want is to be able to take a nice bubble bath without having to worry about ants (and i enjoy my baths with me being 5 months pregnant.)
    please someone help!!!!!!

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