Last Updated: December 30, 2016
Sugar ants, or Camponotus Consobrinus, are a carpenter ant subspecies. Though they will eat savory and greasy foods as well, they prefer sweets. Commonly found in urban areas, woodlands, and other environments, these ants can be found all throughout the US and Australia.
These ants usually build their nests among tree roots, in rocky areas, beneath shrubs, and around foundations, beneath decks and porches, and in landscaping with brushy cover. The nests are easy to identify as the grains of dirt and sand removed from the interior are used to build hills around the entryway. Inside homes, these ants will build nests in the hollow spaces in walls, behind cabinets, around plumbing, inside furniture, and even in stacks of paper.
The first step in eliminating sugar ants is to properly identify them. They measure from one to three fifths of an inch in length, with black heads and jaws, and with brownish-orange bodies. If you see an anthill outside, you can poke it with a stick to encourage the ants to emerge during daylight hours, or you can wait until after dark to see where the ants’ trails lead. This second method may be preferable as it can make eliminating the sugar ants easier.
Although you will need to expend some effort to eliminate sugar ants, these pests are easier to get rid of than some others are. Once you find out where the ants’ trails lead, you can simply drop sweet baits in their pathway. The worker ants will carry the bait back to the nest, where it will be consumed. Within a few days to about two weeks, the ant colony should be killed.
You can either purchase sugar ant baits, or you can make your own by combining borax (boric acid) with a sweet attractant like honey, sugar, peanut butter, or even chocolate syrup. Be sure to place your traps where children and pets cannot get to them.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in the House
If sugar ants have invaded your home, the first thing you will need to do is to get your kitchen and the rest of your house squeaky clean. If you encounter an ant nest, the fastest way to kill the ants is to spray an indoor insecticide into the nest before vacuuming up the dead ants. You may need to do this several times before the ants are completely eradicated.
Besides knowing how to get rid of sugar ants in the house, it’s important that you learn how to prevent re-infestation. There are a few things these ants absolutely hate: bay leaves, cloves, and peppermint essential oil. You can place cloves and bay leaves in food areas, and you can soak cotton balls with peppermint essential oil, then place these in areas ants travel through to disrupt their pattern.
In addition, get your house into the cleanest state possible, clearing cupboards and cleaning inside with bleach, completely clearing countertops, mopping all floors and vacuuming all carpets, and vacuuming beneath baseboards, inside window sills, and in all the many nooks and crannies the typical home contains. Once your house is spotless, keeping it that way will not only help prevent ants from viewing it as a buffet, it will also make life a bit more enjoyable for you and your family.
As a final measure in controlling sugar ants, you can spray a permethrin-based product around the base of your home. This will act as a barrier to help prevent future infestations of sugar ants, as well as of other invasive insect pests.