Sugar Ants – What They are, and How to Get Rid of Them

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 11 minutes.
Updated: .

Insects are truly a nuisance. They come in huge numbers, can get in through the smallest spaces, and are sometimes hard to get rid of. Ants in particular are a type of insect that get into your home and want one thing: your food. Able to smell food particles from a great distance, ants hone in and do everything they can to get to it. And there’s not just one type of them. They come in several varieties including one known as the sugar ant.

What Are Sugar Ants?

Sugar antSugar ants are called that because they’re attracted to food. They can be described banded sugar house or as house ants, and are ones you normally see in your home. Their colonies have dirt mounds around them and they usually prefer warm climates. They can get into your house through even the smallest opening.

The species originates from Australia and their natural habitat is forest or woodlands. They are very often found in city or suburbs.

Many people don’t realize that among the types of ants out there, flying ants are one of them. To learn more about how to get rid of flying ants, go here.

What do they look like?

Sugar antsSugar ants don’t all look alike. They are between 2-15mm in size and are different colors. Males have wings and are all black, while female have an orange-brown body color. Each colony has a queen who stays inside at all times.

Banded sugar ants look like they’ve got tiny bands around their middle, while house ants are smaller and more uniform in color.

Sugar ants get their name from their love of sweets.

Sugar ants and their bite

Ants have pincers they can bite people with. No need to worry, as their bite isn’t poisonous, but it can leave a bump. Sometimes the bite will itch. Sometimes, sugar ants can spray formic acid, which might burn, but again, it’s not poisonous.

How they get to you in the first place

Because ants have a sense of smell far greater than that of a human, as well as most other insects, they can detect food from far away. If you’ve got any food out, whether it’s a whole watermelon or just some crumbs, an ant can find it.

There are many ways in which ants can get into your house:

  • The foundation: Your home’s foundation can have cracks in it, which then allows the tiny creatures access.
  • Doors: If any door that opens to the outside has a poor seal to it, it provides a way for ants to get through.
  • Utility lines: Think about it – there are tons of little holes in your walls that connect to the outside. Electrical outlets, phone outlets, plumbing – they’re all openings that allow utilities to get into your house. They can also let insects in, as long as the ants find a way close, they can crawl in through the opening.
  • Floors: You may have no idea, but ants can crawl underneath your floors, including carpeting. Their trail goes around the house until the appear right where they smell your food source.

Having ants in your yard is one thing, but in your house it’s quite another. More annoying, harder to deal with – you want nothing more than to get rid of them as soon as possible. More details on how to get rid of ants in your house can be found here.

Sugar ants are so small they can get in through openings you have no control over. However, there are ways you can limit their entry. Fixing cracks in the walls, gaps in your flooring, and cracks and gaps on the outside of the house will lessen the chance that sugar ants will find their way inside.

How to Kill Sugar Ants

Once you realize you’ve got ants to deal with, the next step is figuring out how to get rid of them. And not just getting rid of them temporarily, but killing them and their colony completely.

Baiting

Sugar ant baitsWhen you use bait to get rid of ants, the idea is that they’ll take the substance back to their colony. Some sort of poison is mixed in with the bait, which the ants will take to the colony as food. Once ingested, the poison then kills the ants. This is a good way to kill ants in the colony that normally wouldn’t come out, including the queen.

Ant baits include products like:

  • Terro Liquid Ant Bait: Ants are attracted to the bait and take it back to their colony, along with the poison laced throughout.
    Terro Liquid Ant Baits

Trapping

You can also trap the ants that are invading your house instead of baiting them, by setting out something extremely sticky, like honey or corn syrup. The insects will get stuck in it, unable to get out, where you can then destroy them.

Make sure you realize that trapping isn’t the same as baiting, and that trapping and killing ants won’t destroy the colony that is causing the ant problem in the first place.

There can be many thousands of ants in one colony.

For trapping ants, consider this product:

  • Grant’s Ant Bait and Trap Stakes: Grant's Kills AntsPut these stakes in the ground outside and watch your ant problem disappear.

Using the best method

The best way to get rid of sugar ants seems to be through luring them to poison which they can then take back to the colony. It might not kill all the ants instantaneously, but it will ensure that the entire colony will die instead of just the ones you see in front of you.

Something else to think of after you get rid of ants is repelling them.

There are things you can use that will keep any new ants from coming near your house:

  • Plants: Herbs like peppermint, sage, and tansy are known to keep ants at bay. Plant them around your yard or keep an herb garden in your kitchen.
    Mint plant
  • Garlic: Garlic has such a strong odor that it confuses the ants and throws their scent trail off.
  • Sprays: You can make an ant repellent spray by mixing water with substances like garlic, lavender, or peppermint. Spray it in your kitchen and pantry, as well as any areas you suspect ants might get in.

Insect killers often contain ingredients harmful to not just humans, but pets as well. Since animals are naturally curious, it’s easy for them to get into ant products that could hurt them. To learn more about pet safe ant killer, click here.

The Natural Way

You may want a solution that doesn’t involve any kinds of harsh chemicals. Fortunately, there’s many solutions for you that use ingredients perfectly safe for children and pets.

Some organic products you can find on the market include:

  • Orange Guard: This spray uses all natural ingredients including orange peel extract to kill ants and keep them away.
    Orange Guard
  • Ecosmart Organic Ant and Roach Killer: EcoSmart Ant & Roach KillerThis liquid is made with plant extracts that keep ants at bay and kill ones who come around. The organic components are non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about it in your home.

Home remedies

For many ant remedies, look no further than your kitchen or grocery store.

Here’s some ideas when it comes to home remedies:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: Diatomaceous EarthThis white powder is the crushed up remains of marine phytoplankton. For humans and pets, it’s completely non-toxic. However, for insects, the substance is deadly. Diatomaceous Earth gets into their digestive system and kills the ants from the inside out. Sprinkle the powder into a food source like shortening and mix until crumbly. Place a pile around an ant trail or anywhere you might suspect them to be lurking.
  • Borax: BoraxBorax is powder from Boric Acid, derived from the element Boron. It’s toxic to insects and destroys their digestive system as well as irritates their exoskeleton. You can buy Borax in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. To use against sugar ants, mix borax with something the ants will want to consume like jelly, honey, or peanut butter. Leave it out for the ants to take back to the colony, sharing it with the other ants and thus poisoning them all. Be careful to mix only as much Borax as a homemade ant killer recipe says, as too much will kill the ants before they can reach the colony. Too little won’t be effective enough and will keep the ants alive.
  • Essential oil spray: SprayEssential oils have many uses, one of which is a bug killer. Mix clove oil, orange oil, and vinegar in water and spray all around the ant trail. Clove oil is caustic and has a strong smell that throws off the ants’ scent trail. Orange oil contains compounds that are toxic to ants. The vinegar also throws off the scent trails and deters them from crossing that area again.
Although products like Borax and Diatomaceous Earth aren’t toxic to humans, they can still be dangerous to consume in large quantities. Store bought products that use poison are toxic and can cause physical harm. Take care to keep these away from children and pets.

Steps to Eliminating Sugar Ants Both Inside and Out

Do you want to kill the sugar ants roaming around your home, or do you want to kill all the ants everywhere around your entire property?

To get rid of those ants for good and stop them from coming back, there are steps you can take:

  1. Locate the trail: Figure out where the sugar ants are coming in. Follow the trail as far back as you can and try and notice the entry point into your home. You can also go outside and look for their colony – small mounds with a hole in the center.
  2. Decide which method: Do you want to go organic? Are you interested in killing the ants right then and there or do you want to bait them? Go over your options and then decide which killing method would work the best for you.
  3. Kill: Be diligent and keep up with the method you use. If you’re going with ant bait, make sure it’s replenished regularly. Check the baits and ant trails and notice if the number of ants is diminishing.
  4. Repel: For further home protection against sugar ants, spray ant repellent around your property and home. Herbs, plants, oils, and products meant for keeping future ants away do their job well and are readily available.

What is the most effective way?

Terro Liquid Ant Bait StakesIf you’re looking for the most effective way to kill ants for good, baiting is your best bet, as it kills the source of your ant problem. For a way to kill the ants you see right when you see them, homemade sprays can do the trick quickly.

Let’s face it – sugar ants are annoying. Their sheer number can drive you crazy and it seems like no matter what you do, they just keep coming. But you don’t need to put up with them. Decide which way you want to go about removing them, and get rid of the pests not just for now, but for good.

You can find further details of Ants Control here.

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I have been working on pest extermination information for a long time and am excited to share this information with you. I also provide product recommendations for my favorite pest extermination products.
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  1. it does not work i have try it before
    and my type of ant ks a fire ant

    • Obviously you shouldn’t be looking into sugar ants then and saying what works for sugar ants doesn’t work when you have fire ants. They’re completely different so saying “it doesn’t work” is misleading when the type of ant you’re dealing with has NOTHING to do with this type. Don’t comment if you don’t have anything helpful to say.

      • I like cornbread and beans Mum hum

      • You are right thankyou.I am going to try your suggestions hope it works.

      • This is ways to get rid of sweet ants not fire ants if you are trying to get rid of fire ants go to another website

      • Dish wash soap helps to keep ants away. Don’t. Belive me then please try it

    • that is because this post is about sugar ants not fire ants learn to read before you comment please. 🙂

      • 2 people already replied to his comment and the problem was resolved far before you stepped in. As you said, “learn to read before you comment please. :)”

      • Can I mix pepper and vinegar because my problem is the Aunt is on the wall where it’s hard to put black pepper on

        Thanks Tammy

    • The only thing I used that worked, they don’t make anymore, probably because it worked. It was terro but had arsenic in it. The terro now doesn’t work. This terro with arsenic, looked like honey and you put a small drop of it on a little piece of card about the size of a quarter. Leave it alone, and soon there would be thousands of ants all eating that arsenic honey. They looked like cattle circling a pond. Still leave them alone, don’t kill them, just go to bed and forget about them. Next morning, there would not be any ants, all gone. There would not be any dead ants on the counter, either, they all took some nectar back to their hill and fed it to their aunts, uncles and cousins. So if you find some arsenic, maybe you can make your own. That stuff terro puts out now might as well be straight honey. So it can be made, but maybe too many spouses were killing their mate. Blame your government. They have a hand in it for sure. Raid had some spray one season, made with eugenol oil, smelled good, and if you sprayed it on a bug like love bugs covering the whole tree trunk they immediately fell to the ground dead. Guess what? It worked so well they don’t sell it anymore.

      • this worked really well for us. They take it back to the nest and it disposes of the whole nest. We tried everything till we found this and now we have NONE

      • I bought the terro with borax in it. They are going crazy over it. Hope they die soon because i have a 2 yr old in the house.

        • Oh, Tia! Please be very careful using Terro if you have a toddler! It’s deadly and we learned the tragic way!

          • Borax is the killing ingredient in Terro. It is a naturally occurring mineral that has low toxicity to humans. In fact a lot of household soaps use borax.

        • I just moved into a condo that was INFESTED with sugar ants. I used terro bait. It took about a week and I changed the baits out a couple times but now there are no ants at all. Cheapest most easy solution ever.

        • Where did you buy it? I can’t find Boric Acid anywhere around here either. Does the 20 Mule Team Borax work?

        • get LOTS of Baby Powder — just puff it on them. BEST natural way to zap ’em!

      • Good tires get discontinued too.

    • Duh! That’s because this post is on sugar ants not…fire ants

    • Look under fire ants NOT sugar, HUGE difference…

    • Boris acid doesn’t work my ants have been eating it for 4 years.The pest control company i used tried for 2 years I’m pretty sure they live in my walls !Help

      • try arsenic and honey

    • Best bait ive seen in a while. Half the people on here are replying to it XD Gj on getting everyone triggered.

      • Wow you must be bored to post some comment about fire ants that would cause folks to get upset because they think that you can’t read! All just to get a rise out of people.. But you also may cause others to not try the remedy here due to your comments! People are needing some help for a real problem. Why don’t you go joke around with your baby sister.

  2. That awkward moment when your trying to get rid of sugar ants in your room so you look up stuff for help…and then realize it says they do their food hunting at night….and then you re realize that your honey mustard and onion pretzels in bed…-_-

  3. ya’ll are too funny. ..

    fire ants and pretzels in bed 😛

    meanwhile. .. im sitting here at the kitchen
    counter just looking at the trail. ..

    guess ill get some boric acid tomorrow and
    bleach everything down.

    :-/
    @queenjeneene

  4. Hee hee! I love the levity of the comments posted here — although, I too am looking at a trail of sugar ants that never ends (along side the baseboard in my kitchen). I want a non-toxic treatment that won’t hurt my 5-month old kitten. I’ll try the ant trap, & try the spray with vinegar & water sprinkled with pepper. Thank you — hope it works!

    • Seven dust works real well and u can easily vacuum it up ! It can be purchased at any garden center as it is put on flowers for bug infestations and it is non toxic to pets

  5. We’ve been having Pharaoh ant (sugar ant) infestations all over the island of Tenerife this summer. I’ve checked out the sugar/water/borax combo but at the moment the ants are looking for protein and go crazy over pieces of chopped deli ham, leaving sugar baits untouched. So am using about 3 TBS minced ham mixed with 1/2 tsp borax powder. Just starting this so may have to adjust ratio. Putting bait in small lids and yoghurt containers on windowsill away from my cats. Ants are swarming over them. Will see how long it takes to stop them completely.

  6. i have use mint ,that dont work but soap and water work good and vinegar good.

  7. If you set a trap using a 50/50 combo of white vinegar water and baking soda spray where you see the ants the most You can also use cornmeal ants can’t digest the cornmeal so they take the food back and kill the colony. If you use baby powder you can track to see where the nest is and spray to kill the queen. Cinnamon, clove or oil of clove , bayleaf and mint all work well to. Make sure you keep all sugary food wrapped well or in the refridge make sure to keep your counters wiped of any and all food and the garbage disposal clean , rinse or wash all dishes don’t let them sit with food on them hope this helps

    • I tried the cinnamon oil and it didnt work, Ive sprayed the counters with bleach every night and by morning they’re back. Even when no food is present. So now I will try the vinegar, but I cant tell where they are coming from, I live on the second floor.

  8. I’m living in a nightmare of all types of ants and in the last 2 months I’ve been invade with sugar ants !! I rent so the only thing I can do is spray ! My landlord getting him to do something is like a battle or fight like when my back door was rotted six inches up from the ground he refused to replace it & off to Hawaii he went but he had his Son “who is my neighbor” we live in a duplex take a very very thin piece of razor sharp sheet metal & attach it with 4 screws not even square with the door so the corner where you come out the door god forbid you ran into it would slice you wide open so I stopped using it & one day my girlfriend came over with her friend & granddaughter & she wanted to see my flower beds & trees that I put in to make my little bitty yard beautiful instead of looking at a half dead Brazilian pepper tree & the little girl sliced her leg wide open on the razor sharp sheet metal they put up to shut my mouth ;( Isn’t that the saddest thing ever from a Christian man & never once asked how she was ;( So anyway 6 months later the door got replaced thank god! Back to the ants his son works outta town & braggs about leaving dirty dishes in the sink for 2 weeks at a time well I’m sure that helped start the infestation of the sugar ants & since this place was built in 1958 there are all kinda of structural cracks in the brick & mortar that need caulked ! But here’s the killer my landlords travel trailer got infested right before they were going to a trip to Canada & that’s when he decided to at least have the lawn sprayed not once a month & not inside the duplex just the lawn so the first spraying all the ants are running crazy getting in the house everywhere they can & I have to spend more money well the last 2nd time they sprayed I was here both times but the guy spraying didn’t see me out back & you could tell he was in a hurry he only did half my back yard and the side of my duplex and left ! I wasn’t going to say anything until I heard my slum lord complaining & I told him the guy didn’t do your entire lot now he doesn’t watch over people like that but he will watch over the back of someone he hires to do some yard work for a measly $8.00 an hour like they are incompetent & he will pay someone to plant dead bushes but I’m telling you these Brazilian pepper trees that he has trimmed up on the side of camper like some kinda prize Bonsia tree is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen yet “to provide him some shade” are the cause of so many of the different types of black ants, carpenter ants, ants with wings, couch roaches, spiders ! Why on earth someone would be so uneducated or ignorant to this fact is beyond me ! Another slum lord not landlord! He sure fulled me when I rented this place from him & his son is nothing but a bully & coward ! I just need to move !

    • My slumlord says “spray vinegar”.l do,but now they even swarm my clean dishes in cupboards.Disgusting And embarassing when friends over.l keep it clean around here too.disposed of lots of pantry items l keep in ziplock bags and supposedly airtight containers.vinegar by the gallons.Lanlord pests too.

      • JUST USE 409 AND VINEGAR TOGETHER THEN NO EMBARRASSMENT

      • Yikes! At that point I’d demand that your landlord calls an exterminator to ensure it’s done right!

    • you just described 97% of the Landlords in Rehoboth Beach Delaware. I feel for you. Last place I lived the landlord complained they could do nothing about the mice,roaches,fleas & ants as they wete broke and could not possibily afford it. Yet EVERYTIME she came to collect the rent she would be wearing another new cocktail diamond ring and be driving her custom painted Gold Cadillac. Go Figure!? It all about the Greed Greed Greed. Anyway we tried ALL of the above suggestions for the sugar ants with absolutely NO reduction or extermination of the sugar ant numbers. I believe only the suggestion of arsenic. Good luck finding that. Also I work in hardware store. So we tried EVERY spray,trap & poison. NONE Work. 1 or 2 sprays worked very little for 2 wks. The smell was more nausiating than the ants sad to say!

      • Have you tried food grade Diatomaceous Earth? It kills more than just ants. It dehydrates the bugs.

        • It cuts thier bodies up as well

        • Diatomaceous Earth is what finally worked for me last year. This was after having my exterminator – who treats outside every 3 months for the centipedes – set out bait inside that lasted about 5 weeks. Today, I put a line of cinnamon around the entry way they came in last night until I can get some DE – seems to be working.

    • Idk if your still in this duplex now However being a renter myself, I Completely know and I truly understand your pain & frustration.So for Future knowledge, for any and everyone with any problem that occurs with the home itself, that isn’t something caused by any one, continues on for a long period of time without owner attempting to properly repair the houses problems then You CAN as a Renter Deny giving the Rent Money to the Owner. What You will have to do, before informing the landlord, is go and Set-up an account with the Clerk of Courts and file a Complaint on the damages / issues your having with the house inc. that the Owner did not handle the maintenance for the house during your residency there. That way he/she cannot receive any form of payment until problems have been proven resolved. Hopefully I have helped someone with this information who’s renting and dealing with a “slum-lord” or even a lazy/checap owner.

    • The best way to get their attention is to withhold the rent and point them to your local landlord and tenants act.

  9. So the ants invading my apartment are coming from these trees outside here in FL(trees that drop green acorns). They are living in the walls and every time it rains they are all over my kitchen…in the cabinets, sink, on the floor….thousands! Spraying only makes them come back. Any suggestions?

    • Use 409 and spray it all around but make sure you spray on the ant because then they can’t get out and so they drown in the chemicals.
      also, spray vinegar and 409 on the baseboards of you house (it kills sent and multiple ants if sprayed)

  10. theyre in my apartment and driving me insane. I cant even leave a sandwich on the table (on a plate) for a few minutes.

    • I complained a

      slumlord did nothing but raise the rent a hundred bucks.l use ant traps,sprays and musclepower.back next day.l

  11. I will be trying your borax solution, thanks for the tip

  12. Live in Florida. Recently left rinsed dishes in the sink one night. Next day that s when it started. I cant eat in my kitchen. The second I put a clean plate on the counter a few show up and ask what for lunch.

    Never had a problem with S ants. But that’s what happens when you leave rinsed dishes in the sink overnight. I always put them in the dishwasher, but I was in a hurry. UGGGGGGGHhhh

  13. Seen these ants while vacationing in Florida. I was curious as to what they were and ended up here. It seems that every biological organism in Florida wants to either sting you, eat you, sublimate you, bite you or somehow live off of your misery. We don’t have these issues in Michigan, as the weather is going to be below zero tonight and I could leave half a cow covered in sugar and honey on the counter top and leave it for 8 months without fear of any visiting pests.
    However, I would gladly deal with the insects to get away from the possibility of freezing to death in minutes should my car break down on a road.
    So don’t feel too badly. At least you are all living in a pleasant climate to have these bug issues.

    • Aw quit whining, 🙂 and turn up the heat, I’ll bet these guys wish for a few bucks a month they could just turn down the ants with a thermostat like device.

  14. Ty that was very helpful…i didn’t know i could use homemade bait traps mixed with boric acid again Ty

  15. Try some 20 mule team Borax.. ( in the detergent section of your local grocery store). Put some in shallow dishes ALL over your house, apartment,& garage…… should be GONE in a couple days. Keep away from animals & children.

  16. Windex: Instant surface death.

    • Orange degreaser (I use in my kitchen) also works well as an instant fix, but only temporary – it doesn’t stop the main problem…the nest has to be destroyed.

    • do you spray the trail or the ants themselves? what do you do if you don’t know where they are coming from?????

      • I have tried washing everything with Dawn dish soap and it does not work with sugar ants they are back an hour later.
        Sugar ants walk in a straight line mostly, to follow the pharamone of the lead ant so just study them for awhile and follow the line back to where they are entering at

  17. I too had problems with ants and studied them for two years with several types of organic and pesticides. The most important thing is to follow their trail. I thought mine were sugar ants but werent. They were baby carpenter ants. They colonized in the tree next to my house then the next year I had a colony in my house next to the tree…they supposedly split off and colonize nearby. The smaller ants forage for food then you Will see the larger soldier ants supervising nearby. My carpenter ants foraged at around sundown and 10 every nite They dont eat wood but chew thru it. Follow their trail!!!! Eventually you will see where they are coming from and going. Although they will forage a long way from their nest too. They love aphids and protein and eat dead bugsnally I found what worked. Boric acid powder. Thats what works!!!!!! Dont waste your money on anything else. Put the boric acid powder in a bottle with a point….use a bottle they use for hair dyes. Wear goggles and a mask becuz this stuff flies around like baby powder. I squirt it down in the holes of the treebark where they came from each nite then scattered it in the attic where they lived. They get the boric acid on their feet and antennaes, lick their feet as ants clean their antennaes and feet constantly in addition to they use their antennaes to talk to each other, take the boric acid back to nest and kill themselves and other ants. Gone!!!!!

    • Where do you find Boric Acid? I can’t seem to find it anywhere!

      • You can buy it at the Dollar General Stores

      • in the laundry isle 20 Muleteam Borax

    • Very good comments, and educational information. I especially love your humorous comment about the next year the colony now lives in your house next to the tree!!!! 🙂 Hilarious!!
      Thank you.

  18. My house has had problems with sugar ants come just about every summer, and I would love to take some preventative measures this year. I have looked into the boric acid traps before, and I’ll be sure to have some laid out at the beginning of the season. However, if the problem isn’t solved by doing that I will probably call in professionals to help.

  19. I am trying cotton balls soaked in a mixture of: borax soap (powder), sugar, and water. First attempt was last night – they were swarming the next morning. There were so many at the site that I killed and removed them. Do I need to let them ALL remain by the cotton balls to ensure they carry the poison back to the nest poison it (the queen?). I also sprinkled ant-killing pellets on the outside perimeter of my home (on a dry day). I am considering spraying there as well. Soon I am investigating their entrance way, but I am worried it will be hard to find. Any tips on that would be greatly appreciated!

  20. Every year I do my ortho treatment. You have to make sure that your bathtub all your sinks dry at all times when not in use ants love water. Nothing to lure an ant. . So today I used my ortho. Took a while because I do kitchen and bathroom. Pipes under sinks window sills baseboards and in any open cracks that might need to be calked.and most important leave house for at least 20 minutes take pet out and children out. After 20 minutes fine to come back. Safe. Very important that your house has a lot of ventilation. Then I went outside did my patio bricks all doors and siding windows need to do outside to keep from ants coming in.thats about it. Hope this helps someone. Worked for me for five years where I live since I moved here I’m sure it will work for you.lasts a yr. not like an exterminator . Comes once a month with chemicals and is expensive and once he sprays still have to clean up every month because they start running and then die. That’s about it. Hope it helps.sue

  21. This does not work at all. I have a serious rhinoceros problem and this is doing nothing for them.

    • Not even funny!

  22. These mudders are all up in my biscuits. The wife actullay blamed me (deer in headlights) after she and mini-she found them spooning the cereal! The ants in my xbox are so much more fun. I did buy an ant trap and yes The giant invisible sucker sign keeps flapping up and down over my head Duh.

  23. try diatomaceous earth make sure it’s food grade and just sprinkle it around where the ants are and they will go away. And leave it down. Put diatomaceous around base boardsin bathroom and kitchen Evan on counter near sink .not harmful to live creatures long as you don’t breath in .

    • I have DE but it’s not good grade. I will have to use outside and in the basement. I have used tea tree oil, cinnamon, and vinegar and it works but have to du it every day. Temporary fix. Now I have flying ants in the upstairs bedroom and u think they are in the wall. Can’t catch a break!

      • *food grade

        • those flying ants are probably termites,cost me 1200 dollars to treat my house

          • You’re Steve- in your reply to Anon re: “Flying ants.”
            No doubt they are indeed termites. Flying is the red flag, then it’s mentioned that they’re in the wall..

          • Flying ants have a separated body (it’s an ant) and termites have a single worm-like body. Both have wings but termites can be blown around but not the wing support to actually fly.

          • flying ants could be termites OR carpenter ants. search the web to identify them with pictures (carpenter ants have wings, segmented bodies… termites have wings but not segmented bodies)

          • exactly what i was gonna say…termites

  24. Last summer I had fire ants and they started taking over my front lawn you couldnt walk on the grass barefoot or within seconds you had bites already so iI asked a rep at andersons what was best to use and he told me several things to but but he used corn meal on his lawn first and it got rid if them because ants cant digest it they bring it to the nest and feast on it then they die cause they cant digest it within 10 days I no longer had fire ants around and that was last summer and theres no sign of them this spring here in Southern Cal

    • After reading your post, I did the same thing in my backyard. I believe that these are pharaoh ants that are all around an oak tree in my backyard. They kill the lawn with their multiple mounds of sand. I have tried poisons in the past but they keep coming back.
      I spread out a bag of corn meal around the area and all of the ants disappeared eventually. The only activity out there were several squirrels coming around to lick the corn meal off of the ground.
      THANKS FOR THE INFO!

  25. My house has what I believe are ants smaller than this everywhere. Now they’re crawling in my newborns bed so I can’t put her in her bed, she sleeps with me. I don’t know how to get rid of them. Please help!

  26. The boric acid is in place. Will post results soon.

  27. try a mix of 2 tbsp POWDERED sugar 2 tbsp baking soda and 3 tbsp water. mix and put in small lids near ant trails. ants go for the sugar but the baking soda gives them gas they cant get rid of. they take it back and kill the whole nest

  28. that should be 5 tbsp of powdered sugar and 5 tbsp of baking soda and 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp water. mix well and the sugar and baking soda combine. ants can’t separate them but they really go for the sugar

  29. Well the boric acid definitely killed the grass. Now I have big spots of dead grass all over my yard and HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY, little sugar ants running around the dead grass. Sugar ants one me zero…. Grrrrrr

  30. Killed a fly on my screened in porch they were swroming all over it within the hour. Troubled, very troubled….

  31. Terro has granules. They work really well. Sprinkle them around all points of entry on the ground. We lived in an area with a lot of free roaming animals, chickens, goats, dogs, cats etc., and none were affected. Our ground was infested by the billions. We put the granules down in the spring and at the end of summer. I highly recommend this product!

  32. Mix canned cat food with boric acid… They cannot stay away from the stuff. Cinnamon around the outside of your house works well too

  33. I have sugar ants and I have no idea how to get rid of them. We just moved into our new home and sleeping on the floor was a night mare I really need help. I so have children both under 4. I live in a trailer and I dislike pests with a passion I detail with mice no biggie now ants ita an whole other ball game. I’m so lost here. PS the comments weren’t helpful but some were some shouldn’t of been posted.

  34. I pour boiling water on ant mounds, if it is a large mound use a shovel push in ground and flip mound over then pour. Works on all type of ant mounds, To prevent ants’ entry into your home from the outside, a liquid ant insecticide can be sprayed around the foundation in a one or two foot band on the ground and on the foundation itself. Spraying around windows, doors, ventilation openings, and any other access points will further block the ants’ traveling into your home.

  35. Thank You! I made the mixture of boric acid with corn meal and threw in some corn grits just for a special ant treat. Within 24 hours i dont see any inside the house and the out side trails population has been cut in half by day two. What a brilliant and simple idea!!!! Happy happy joy joy!

    • What was the recipe for the borax cornmeal mixture?

      • Take a jar and mix it 50/50 Cornmeal and Borax with water. Make a paste and replace the mixture on the counter morning and evening with the paste. I used a mason jar lid to put it on. When it dries smash it so it’s not stuck together and the ants can carry it away. Put the lid on the jar and keep using the same mixture.

        If the ants don’t like the cornmeal go with Sugar, Borax & Water. I used a paper plate bowl to mix it. 2 teaspoons Borax, 2 teaspoons Sugar & ½ teaspoon Water. Make it like syrup mixture. Put that onto a mason jar lid and let them eat. Replace it about every 8 hours. It’s 4:1 Sugar to Borax. If it’s weaker it won’t kill if it’s stronger they won’t eat it. Mine all died in 3 days.

  36. Sorry I wrote the 4:1 mixture wrong.. here it is 2 teaspoons Sugar, ½ teaspoon Borax (mix well), ½ teaspoon Water. They will love it if it’s sugar eating ants. And it will kill them and the queen.

  37. We use to have a bad ant problem, crawling on us in bed, in every room, countertop, etc. Well, my husband outlined our home with Seven dust and also poured it in the ant hills. No ants for 2 years, then I saw them again this year. Tried baking soda and powdered sugar it only reduced the ants.But I added borax, baking soda, powdered sugar and water and IT WORKED very well! NO Ants…

  38. I don’t have problems with sugar ants in my house I have them going into my hummingbird feeders. There’s only two ways up and I can’t find their trails to the posts.

    • I also have put up a hummingbird feeder hanging on my deck and now (never before) I have a sugar ant problem I am trying the ant cups for now

      • For hummingbird feeder, cover the chain and the top of the feeder in vaseline. Ants avoid it for some reason, and on the rare instances that they do get into it (fall, windblown, etc.), they can’t get out.

    • I put a coat of petroleum jelly on the pole that my hummingbird feeder hangs from. They will not be able to get past it.

  39. We live in Central Florida and rent our house. Our landlord pays a pest company to come and spray 4 times a year, but only outside. We used to have a flea problem, but I bought those flea traps with the nightlight, and our cat is treated, so no more fleas.

    But now we have this sugar any problem. They come into the kitchen from a bar like structure that abuts one side of the kitchen behind the stove and counter. I think the nest may be inside that structure, which has a bar countertop on it. We have seen them coming through the electrical outlets, from between wood joists, and alongside the moulding that goes around the counter tops. The trees outside have been sprayed all to no avail. We keep our countertops clean, and dishes put away and washed and dried every day. I was going to try the boric acid with honey routine, but am having trouble finding boric acid. I want to stay as natural as possible, but get rid of these ants! Thanks for your help!

  40. I had to scroll through about 50 comments to get to anything relevant to what works/doesn’t work. I’ve had the tiny ants for about 3 days in the kitchen when I discovered them swarming over countertops and cabinet shelves. I sprayed the 50/50 vinegar water solution on surfaces after several bleach cleanings. It has only reduced the population. Windex seems to kill them on contact. After reading all the comments, the borax/sugar solution will be my next move. I think I will also try straight borax on some pesky weed patches in the yard.

    • Rebecca,
      And your point is?

  41. I’m pretty sure what I have are sugar ants (little black ants) and I’m deathly afraid of them. They’re creepy and I shiver whenever I see one or a picture of them…

    I found a trail of them leading to the corner of my house, and it leads into a thick bushy leave area about 1ft high of the ground and leads to another property, (it’s not a house but the land and shed area belong to someone) and we don’t know where the trail ends because the go into that area. The property owner is never there, and there doesn’t seem to be a ant hill anywhere.
    There are also trees a little covered in the leafy vines in the bushy area. How can we kill off the colony if we don’t know where the Queen is? We don’t want it producing another queen and having it seperate to create more colonies nearby. We already think there’s another forming on the other side of our home.

    Help, THEYRE SURROUNDING US!

  42. I remember the Terro from years ago and it was great, sorry to hear it won’t work anymore. I will try the boric acid, but wonder why I should spend the money on organic for the ants I am trying to kill……..

  43. I have Home Defense indoor outdoor, I kill when and where I see them. It seems to be working. For some reason they just keep marching forward in a straight line. Right into the poison. They will not walk around it. Pretty simple just find their trail and kill them over and over and over. It works!

    • I’ll try it. But the surgar ants are in my bedroom. I try starving them to death, trying to get all candy, surgar, etc…

  44. Use Borax laundry detergent not Boric Acid.

  45. We’ve had ants in our kitchen on and off for about a month.. It was just the scouters I saw. First it was bout 10 then I just smooshed them cleaned and then here and there I’d see one to five or so til morning or evening sometimes round 2. First they were on my small counter by the stove (where I would leave paper bowls my kids used for two days for snacks etc.. then I cleaned and clean and didn’t see them too much there and then they were on the desk counter and in my pantry that’s by the counter. I put cinnamon in the cabinet.. it took a lil while but it seemed to have worked. They were still on the counter though.. They also moved to my stovetop and over on other counter. I cleaned and wiped the counter and everything on it. (cleaned as wiped off, used lysol lemon scented wipes then soap n water and counters are bare now). I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. Last night I used borax, sugar, water combo on cotton ball on lids a few places and one with hotdog with borax (where I first saw them). I then cleaned up around it with straight vinegar and put up some barriers of baby powder. Come 9 or so there was a trail leading up the counter near pantry from inside the wall behind base boards.. I checked on it and around other baits before going to bed at 10 still going.. at 4 am there was only one ant in the combo. About an hour later I checked and it was gone. It is now 5:47 am and no ants in sight. I will leave it out another day to see how it goes.. probably move the hot dog mixture to same spot.

  46. I bought the powder, the granules, and the traps for outside in the flower box. It killed a few but days later there were thousands. And the traps they ignored.
    I have them now in the house after i left syrup in the sink and no way to cover all the tiny backs in the base boards they are swarming through. Last summer I had a few on the floors and the orange spray was temporary if you did it daily. But I caulked up the whole window this spring and they stopped coming. Kitchen I can’t caulk such cracks as I can’t reach them.
    but avoid the store bought traps and such as its a scam.

    • Agreed, but having said that. I have been using the indoor outdoor spray and have had really good results. It seems to me that hunting them with the spray and dousing their trail as far as you can go does a lot of damage. Inside the house as well as outside. Setting traps is not very effective. Besides seeing all their dead little bodies brings me a certain degree of gratification. I highly recommend spraying the trail.

  47. I have not found a trail anywhere yet, but, not only do I find them everywhere, they are in my Tassimo. The first time I found one in my coffee, they were laying on top of the foam of the latte. I thought maybe they had been in my cup. But, this morning I checked my cup, nothing but, halfway thru my coffee, I found one. I think they crawled up the spout and are in the machine itself. Now, how do I get rid of them in there???

  48. there is a particular ant in my home, it is red in color and very very tiny, they enter everything. they destroyed my carton of indomie, my flakes, the surprising thing is that they are entering my bag. and there is nothing like food inside it… please, how can i get rid of it?

  49. thanks for the tips me my dad and my mom will use this for sure u guys are awesome we need to kill them because they ruin my water and sweets so thank u very much for making this website 🙂

  50. I have not found any sugar ants near my food for the past two weeks. I see one once in a while on my computer, bathroom sink and tub. I did find a whole load of them in my tassimo machine. I thought they were going up the spout because of the sugar in the milk, but, where they all got together to party was in the filter. I could not believe it. The filter was loaded in sugar ants. I immediately packed up the filter and put it in my outside garbage can which I then sprayed with rain. Now, I have to go and buy a new filter. I check my pantry on a daily basis. I put any food that comes in boxes inside plastic container that have good sealable lids. So far, so good. I have ant traps everywhere in the house, including the bathroom. I use baking soda to clean my countertops ans backsplash because I had found a lot of them there. For anything that is washable, I use baking soda. So far, it seems to be working but it does take time.

  51. Windex spray it on them, try it and tell us we are wrong

  52. I have been using Soda powder (arm and harmer) with a little big of sugar & I finding them dead dry everywhere, where I had ants.

  53. Find out what your ants eat first… sugar…cornmeal or honey!
    Get some tops to mason jar lids.

    Here is my formulas once I know which one they’ll eat. I use Borax Laundry Detergent to mix it with. Let them eat and it will take 3-4 days and the ants are gone. Keep it out until you see not even 1 ant!

    Sugar: 4:1 mixture making a syrup (4 parts sugar to 1 part borax & water) i.e 1 teaspoon Sugar, ¼ teaspoon Borax (mix well), ¼ teaspoon Water.

    Cornmeal: Take a jar and mix it 50/50 Cornmeal and Borax with water. Make a paste and replace the mixture on the counter morning and evening with the paste. When it dries smash it so it’s not stuck together and the ants can carry it away. Put the lid on the jar and keep using the same mixture.

    Honey: 50/50 mixture. Take a small bowl and put the honey in it. Nuke Honey for 10 seconds (don’t need a lid), mixed in 50/50 honey / borax. Put it in a Mason jar lid.

    With all of the recipes if it’s too strong for your ants, cut back on the Borax a little. It won’t work if they don’t eat it. I’ve tried Terro liquid Ant Killer and my ants came back. With my method I do it maybe once a year when I get a new family of ants.

  54. Hello everyone I have sugar ants in my roof, so I can’t get to the source.
    Tonight I’ll try to put some down around sum peanut butter and eggs.
    With that said
    I’ll keep you posted.

  55. Ok everyone!! as of today I have mixed white vinegar Dawn soap and about 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper with afew drops of water to dilute ..
    here’s to it workin’..am tried of them these Piss /sugar Ants…

  56. I have a horrible sugar ant problem but I also have small dogs that I don’t want to poison. Hence no borax or dia…earth.i scrub and spray and vacuum constantly. I also live in a trailer so they could be coming from everywhere. Have tried everything and I am still loosing the battle. Looking for a bubble to move into.

  57. Something that I’ve used and works quite well is using equal parts of baking soda and icing sugar I’m putting it to where the ants Trail in or around the area where the ants Wood Trail in.

  58. Terro – the best! But ants are persistent. A new batch of ants appears 3 – 4 days later. We use Terro, gone…3-4 days later boom, they are back again. I just sprayed the outside with Home Defense. Well see how that works.

  59. Are these sugar ants seasonal or they year round. ?? I have a cat and certainly don’t want to poison her so I do the windex attach round the clock? I must admit, they are winning. Will they go away when weather changes or I am stuck with this problem indefinately. We moved into our house in October and they showed up about a month ago. What is the story with the little f**kers ??

  60. Omg first thing the people that keep on complaining about someone posting about fire ants grow up instead help. This person point her or him the right way second this sitefuxking sucks torch them use hot boiling water or how about this try and not be sodamn messy

  61. I agree. It’s amazing how forums eventually become personal war rooms. I’m in Asia and ants of most varieties tend to be an issue over here. I’ve resorted to keeping as much as I can in Ziplok bags inside airtight containers, keep the place clean and the refuse outside at all times. It’s inconvenient but seems to be working successfully. There’s an ant chalk available here which seems to work very well also. It appears to act like a “hurdle”, where you draw barrier lines on ant trails and around furniture legs etc. and although our condo is hardly ant-free, it has become less of a problem. Good luck to everyone, it seems to be an ongoing battle!

  62. Is there a difference between sugar ants and honey ants or are we talking about basically the same thing?

  63. i used hotshot fogger (3 pack for about $3) for what used to be a heavy infestation of annoying sugar ants & hours later all dead. Effective even months later 😉

  64. I have black ants on old locust trees,quarter size holes in ground .around foundation with dirt mounds. Also ant mounds in yard.
    Exterminator -1 said carpenter ants, Exterminator -2 said sugar ants. Some in shower area,kitchen baseboards.
    Any solution to rid these is greatly appreciated.

  65. Spray Windex on them for an instant fix. I have terro in the bottom cabinet so not to hurt the cat and dog. I’m going to look into the pepper trick. We shall see…
    Thank you!!

  66. Thank you for the posts… Sugar ants invade my car, by me parking on the curb where the black protector was touching the curb where they have their trail… I tired the vinegar with water… Hopefully they leave my car….

  67. This article is ABSOLUTELY Wrong. Never use apple cider vinegar. I made a mistake one day and sprayed this formula, the ants came out like an army chasing the Apple cider.

  68. Does this work on uncles too or just ants?

  69. SmallDog said this and it is true:
    “The only thing I used that worked, they don’t make anymore, probably because it worked. It was terro but had arsenic in it. The terro now doesn’t work. . Still leave them alone, don’t kill them, just go to bed and forget about them. Next morning, there would not be any ants, all gone. There would not be any dead ants on the counter, either, they all took some nectar back to their hill and fed it to their aunts, uncles and cousins. So if you find some arsenic, maybe you can make your own. That stuff terro puts out now might as well be straight honey. So it can be made, but maybe too many spouses were killing their mate. Blame your government. They have a hand in it for sure. Raid had some spray one season, made with eugenol oil, smelled good, and if you sprayed it on a bug like love bugs covering the whole tree trunk they immediately fell to the ground dead. Guess This terro with arsenic, looked like honey and you put a small drop of it on a little piece of card about the size of a quarter. Leave it alone, and soon there would be thousands of ants all eating that arsenic honey. They looked like cattle circling a pondwhat? It worked so well they don’t sell it anymore.”
    Everything that is mentioned is a fact this year. I have used different baits though out the course beginning Feb of this year. Have noticed when I put down:
    Terro with borax , looked like water and you put a small drop of it on a little piece of card about the size of a quarter. Leave it alone, and soon there would be thousands of ants all eating that Terro. They looked like cattle circling a pond. Yes this is true but then I started noticing more a more ants coming around and looking hungry. They were not bringing it back they were all just eating it all and looking up for more. This went on all summer about 3 months. More and more ants has showed up now our house is full of them so we decided to take away all the baits. What do we do???? Nothing works, nothing at all…. Tried different baits, tried the formula on this post NOTHING WORKS. And what make matters worse is that our kitchen tops are all black granite making it very hard to see these ants. We have never had this problem before and have been her for 10 years… This is the first year this has happened. Yes last year we would start to see them, put down a bait and they were gone. NOTHING this year seems they just love the borax now and want MORE, MORE, MORE….

  70. Diatomaceous Earth! Sprinkle it where they enter, inside or out. SAFE for pets. Ants get the dust on their legs and it goes back to their homes where they share it… and the dust dries out their bodies. Seriously~ they just dry up!

  71. My neighbor told me try using BASIC H.
    Either made by Amway or shaklee. Can’t rmembr which co.
    But think u can find it on Amazon now too.
    I would find the ants on my counter tops and in my pantry.
    She told me to pour a little bit in a bowl of water, it prob held 2 cups water, and I used maybe 1 tblspoon of basic h. My basic h was the concentrated kind.
    So had to make up my own batch. Or u could keep in pre mixed in spray botte.
    Dunk a sponge in the mix and id just wipe down all surfaces where I ssaw ants.
    They never touched wherevi had wiped with the sponge.
    They wouldn’t cross over it.
    I had to do it every few days.
    I was young then, didn’t know u had to find the nest. Lol.
    So eventually I found the nest. Mixed up another batch and poured the whole mix on the ant hill.
    Then I sprayed all around my house, windowsills, entry to our doors, anywhere I thought they could get in.
    U can use basic h to wash vegetables and fruits with… So its safe.
    We never had ants again. After a few days they just disappeared.
    I don’t know if it killed them or what. Lol. But they were just gone.
    Basic h will last a long time and has many different uses.

  72. They don’t like pledge multi surface cleaner.

  73. Terro ant bait traps works great with sugar ants. Get them at WalMart. $5 for a box. Follow the directions on the box. The box will be Blue, Orange and white.

  74. They dont like vicks or generic brand i lin0ve in an apartment they just want more borax Mix it with some clove oil and cinnamon and wipe down base boards and etc so far has worked

  75. What is that poison that makes them go insane and eat eachother. I don’t wan it…it’s totally messed up but it’s been bugging me forever. I’ve seen it once like 12 years ago forgot the name

    • I’m gonna do the pepper. I know where they trail

  76. What do you do when they are on the walls? They are coming from behind the cabinets and the air vent of the stove. I washed everything down with vinegar. The moment it dried they were back! I can spray them with windex to kill them but I need to put something for them to take back to their nest in the walls. Any suggestions of what I can put on the wall where it meets the bottom of the cabinet? They aren’t in those cabinets. They have dinner in my food cabinet instead which is across the kitchen. i will try the boric acid/sugar water mixture there. Oh I also put chili pepper down on the counter by the wall. They just took another route and came down the wall a few cabinets away. Thanks.

    • i just put out boric acid and maple syrup. if that doesnt work ill try the honey/boric acid and corn meal/boric acid or cat food/boric acid until i find what they like 🙂

      • i have only had the 50/50 maple syrup/boric acid out for a couple hours and they are having a party with it! I think this will work excellent!

        • That is what i just used, maple syrup and borax and a little powdered sugar for a little extra enticing …..we’ll see what happens.

  77. Wipe down counter surfaces and trails with Purel or other liquid hand sanitizer. It doesn’t kill them but disrupts their supply lines and eventually they give up and go someplace else. Obviously, toxicity is not a concern; so it’s safe when pets and children are a concern. If this regimen proves to be too labor intensive consider relocating to a place where igloos are the preferred abode.

  78. Thank you everyone for your comments. 1. I am thankful they are not termites. 2. I am thankful they are not fire ants or carpenter ants. 3. I feel hopeful your suggestions will help me get rid of the ones pestering me. I doubted they were sugar ants because for a whole year i never saw them on any food, but one day i had some honeydew melon rind on a plate in the sink and they just swarmed over it in minutes!

  79. My kitchen counter top looks like an ant war zone; bodies, Terro, my new Echo Ant Raider product and something that year I labeled “Ant” are smeared across the landscape and up the walls. I have caulked and sealed and swore and seemingly they are now in the wall behind the cabinets; they dance out two or three at a time in their seemingly weakened condition and I zap them with a spray. I now own stock in Terro and have the stuff sitting on top of the window frame and also adorning the counter top in multiples. First, I had the trails, but now they appear helter skelter like wounded soldiers returning from war. I’m sure their healthy babies are hatching as I type and a new platoon will be arriving within hours! I’m now going to the store for the Borax and some yellow tape to seal off the crime scene. Questions: should I clean up the bodies and product and start again? I’ve read about drilling holes in the wall and inserting whatever, boric acid, terro powder to try to kill the queen? I’ve been at this for nearly a month with no success. Oh, and I was gone for about four months. I remember having a few last September and left the place with the trusty Terro packets on the counter tops. I came back to find this invasion so they must have claimed squatter’s rights to the wall. I am scrubbing and cleaning until my fingers are bleeding! Time to call an exterminator?

  80. Only place gonna find anything worth using is your closest co-op or TSC. They sell stuff for farms. Go there.

  81. Ohhh .. We’re waging the battle of all battles against these pesky sugar ants in our new home. Although we have the upper hand, they’re tenacious in their attempt to make us reconsider a home in the mountains. We tried the bait traps. We understand the goal of killing of the colony and the queen, but it just felt like we were drawing even more ants into our house. We tried the outdoor bait traps as well. We just felt we needed to take more aggressive action. We’ve been using Ortho Home Defense with success. We’re winning the battles for sure .. it’s just to early to declare that we’ve won the war.

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