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How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

In the United States and Canada, the term “sugar ant” is used to describe any sweet-eating ant that invades your home. These sugar ants are usually small and especially persistent in their efforts to raid kitchens, cabinets, and sinks in an attempt to haul bits of food back to their nest.

To get rid of these ants, advise your customers to follow three basic tips:

  • STEP 1 – Seal off their entryways, wherever possible
  • STEP 2 – Lay down ant bait to eliminate the colony
  • STEP 3 – Limit their access to food inside your house

Of course, you probably want a few details on why sugar ants are targeting your customers’ homes, what they are after and specific tips you can convey to eliminate the problem, so read on. Beating these sweet-eating ants is possible, and this quick guide will help your customers fight sugar ants.

Q: What Are Sugar Ants?

A: Sugar ant is a colloquial term for any ant that is particularly attracted to sweets and meats. These sweet-eating ants include Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Big-headed ants, Carpenter ants, Cornfield ants, Crazy ants, Ghost ants, Little black ants, Odorous house ants, Pavement ants, Pharaoh ants, White-footed ants and many others. TERRO® has a number of solutions for dealing with many of the sweet-eating ants. Have your customers review individual product labels for details in how each product deals with a specific species.

Q: Why Are Sugar Ants in My House?

A: Every nest of ants sends out scouts looking for food and water. These scout ants explore every possible place within several hundred feet of their nest entrance – and that always includes homes and buildings that are accessible through cracks and crevices. Older homes, therefore, are a bit more “ant friendly” than newer constructions. Even then, new construction isn’t completely immune to ant invasions. Preventing ants from entering a home is tough, but it can be done. Homeowners need to look for and close every possible entry point, sealing them and then spreading TERRO® Ant Killer Plus outdoors, as needed. Keeping the inside of the business or home clean is also a big help. Tell your customers to avoid leaving food out, clean dirty dishes, empty trash daily and only eat in easy-to-clean areas. They should mop, vacuum and scrub regularly.

Q: How Can I Get Rid of Sugar Ants?

A: There are many options for addressing the ants invading a home, yard or business. Each of these TERRO® products utilizes a liquid Borax bait that attracts ants. Scout ants take it back to their colony and pass it on to the other ants, which also succumb to the poison.

  • TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Bait Stakes – These stakes can be added around the perimeter of a structure. Ants enter the stake, retrieve the bait and take it back to their nest, which slowly kills them.
  • TERRO® Liquid Ant Killer – Apply this to pieces of the cardboard provided and place in areas where ants have been observed. The ants will eat the bait, then return to the nest and share with the other ants in the colony, killing the ants your customers see and the ants they don't.
  • TERRO® Liquid Ant Baits – Using the same liquid ant bait as the Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Stakes and Ant Killer, these pre-filled ant baits are great for use indoors anywhere ants are noticed. The patented station prevents the bait from drying out.
  • TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits – These bait stations are protected from the elements, allowing your customers to bait outdoor ants before they enter a structure. These stations are ideal for large ant infestations.

Note that these baits are effective against the following species: Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Big-headed ants, Cornfield ants, Crazy ants, Ghost ants, Pavement ants, Little black ants, Odorous house ants and White-footed ants.

Q: Where Are Sugar Ants Coming From?

A: Most people think ants come from outside, and for the most part that’s true. They seek out cracks, crevices, vents, and openings to enter a structure in their effort to find food and water. However, only one ant out of the thousands in a nest needs to find an entry point. Once an ant finds a food or water supply, it lays a pheromone trail for other ants to follow.

Other ants live inside structures. These ants build nests in undisturbed spaces, including in wall voids, by burrowing out soft wood or by building a nest among some unused items in a secluded area of a building. These ants need to be traced directly back to their source so they can be treated either with a bait or contact killer.

Q: Do Sugar Ants Bite?

A: None of the sweet-eating ants commonly called sugar ants are known to bite aggressively. Bites from these ants are not painful and are not known to produce any further symptoms unless the person is highly allergic.

Q: Are Sugar Ants Destructive?

A: Other than contaminating the food they touch, most ants that are called sugar ants are not considered destructive. Carpenter ants, which are sometimes labeled as sugar ants, however, can be very destructive. In order to make a nest, carpenter ants create tunnels and nests in moist wood. This activity weakens the wood and poses a real threat to homes.

Q: Are Sugar Ants Attracted to Water?

A: Like any animal, ants need water to survive. In particularly dry areas of the country, leaky pipes, sinks full of dishes, bathrooms, and even condensation will draw ants. With that in mind, fix any plumbing leaks, wrap pipes which have condensation, thoroughly rinse dirty dishes and drain the sink of any standing water. A sink-based garbage disposal may be a big draw for sugar ants as well. To destroy their pheromones, pour a little bleach into the garbage disposal every few days and activate it. That should be enough to destroy any attractants.

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