How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Sugar ants are common in the UK and can often become a nuisance if they enter your home. In nature, they would feed on plant nectar but if near a residential area, they can easily sense potential food sources in peoples homes. 

So, if you’ve spotted ants around your kitchen that seem to have a sweet tooth, munching on sugary stuff and getting particularly attracted to sweet liquid spills, you may well be dealing with sugar ants. And once a few get inside your property, more will follow, that’s for sure.

So, with this post, we’ll share a few tricks on how to get rid of sugar ants for good.

What do sugar ants look like?

Sugar ants are an ant species with a light brown to yellowish colour. As their name implies, they like sweet food, such as sugar, honey, jelly, and cakes. 

The male ants can reach a length of 1,5-2 mm and the females can reach a length of 4-5 mm. Three pairs of legs and long, moving antennae are some of the characteristics of sugar ants. Being their most sensitive organ, the antennae can detect smells, motions below the ground, and air currents.

Do sugar ants bite?

Sugar ants bites don’t hurt, and in addition, they do not sting, either. Using its mouthparts the ant may defend itself if disturbed and bite. Unless the person is highly allergic, the bites are not painful and don’t cause any symptoms. Use antibiotic creams on the bite site and call a medical professional if it gets worse.

Can sugar ants cause damage?

A question frequently asked by customers is, “Can sugar ants damage my house?”. While sugar ants won’t damage the structure of your house, they will chew through paper, plastic or even cardboard to get to their contents.

However, if they find a reliable food source inside your home, sugar ants can be a nuisance.

What attracts sugar ants in the first place?

When ants look for food, they won’t hesitate to get their “hands” on anything. This is where your home becomes vulnerable, as anything from spilt juice to a slice of cake left out will get the ants’ attention. During the summer, ants go on a food-foraging expedition throughout their environment. But once they take a fancy to your home, it doesn’t take much to attract ants entering inside.  Therefore it’s essential to clean up any food immediately.

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How to get rid of sugar ants

Most people are not inclined to use chemicals and pesticides in their homes. And what we hear is that they have kids, pets, or are strictly anti-chemicals and are looking for alternative ways to fight problems, such as pests. Home remedies can be effective during the first signs of an infestation. However, you have to contact a pest control company if the infestation is out of control.  

Here are a few expert tips on how to get rid of sugar ants and how to keep them away.

Seal the entry points

The first step to resolving your ant problem is to figure out how the ants are getting into your house. A typical entry point is your doorway or windows. Ants can also infest homes through cracks or openings in the floor or walls.

All ways in must be blocked, starting from the exterior of the house. Also, clear any branches that might be touching your property’s windows. Ants are particularly fond of nesting in foliage and under trees, which is why if you have tree branches close to your home, you should trim them. In the same way, if you have vines growing up the side of the house or any other vegetation touching the house, trim it; otherwise, it may become an ant highway.

Clear food away

Keeping food away from ants by storing it in airtight containers is one of the best ways to keep them out. Always wipe away all spills of food and drink immediately. Don’t forget to clean inside and under cabinets on a regular basis, as well.

Do not let the pile of unwashed dishes by the sink sit too long. Keep in mind that ants don’t mind leftover pet food or food waste either. Always wash your pet’s bowls after feeding time, and take out your trash regularly. In addition, keep bin lids tightly closed at all times.

Check out for oil splatters around the cooker and for other dead insects that might be lying around, as ants are very resourceful.

Herbs & essential oils

Cinnamon, peppermint or black pepper can help you. Use either one in the form of powder or mixed with a little bit of water to spray ants’ entry points and keep them off your property. 

Add a few drops of tea tree, lemon or clove oil to a spray bottle along with 1 cup of boiling water and dishwashing liquid. Apply the solution on the ant trails and in small cracks and holes near your windows and doors. You will need to repeat the process until you no longer see sugar ants in your home.

Ground coffee

Coffee grounds are known for keeping ants away from indoors. You can place them on your windowsill to prevent sugar ants from entering at all. We recommend only using coffee grounds outside around entryways.


You can use vinegar as one of the best non-toxic solutions to eliminate sugar ants. In addition to repelling them, vinegar covers the pheromone trail the ants leave behind. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and distilled water. Use it directly on the ants. Apply the vinegar solution to the places where ants enter your home and the trails they take. The pheromone trails of the ants will be destroyed, making them less likely to return.

As vinegar is acidic, you can keep the mixture stored in a dark, cool spot without worrying about it going bad, so you can use it again if needed.

Boric acid

Boric acid can help you get rid of house sugar ants.  If you sprinkle acid around the ant’s entry points, it will repel them. They will avoid the acid and stay away from your home unless they find another way to enter it, of course.


Chalk can also be used in the same way. Use chalk to draw around cracks near windows and under doors, where you see ants. It will prevent ants from getting through. You can even use talcum powder.

Commercial insecticides

If you decide to use poison in your home, do not take this lightly. When not appropriately applied, it can cause serious harm to you and your loved ones.

It is crucial to ensure that any bait you intend to kill sugar ants with is clearly labelled for ants. The most popular insecticides used in ant baits are abamectin, fipronil, and propoxur. Read the directions carefully on the package. When handling the bait, be sure you follow the instructions on the product label, such as wearing protective gloves.

An aerosol spray can kill ants on contact, but it will not impact the remaining ant population, which might be hiding out of sight. Check the label of the aerosol insecticide you use, such as permethrin, bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin, to make sure it is intended for indoor use.

To sum up

If you want to prevent sugar ants from infesting your house, make sure you don’t offer them food and water. Keep your kitchen or basement, or any room they come in, clean and tidy. Vacuum regularly, don’t keep dirty dishes in the sink for too long, don’t keep your rubbish bin open. And if you know the weak spots in your house – all cracks and crevices near doors and windows, fix them. You will stop not only ants but other insects from coming in, as well. If you’re unsure about getting rid of ants, you can always contact pest professionals.

Need a Pest Exterminator?

Enter your postcode to view our rates and availability in your area.

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For questions about the services we offer visit our main site or you can always call us at 020 3746 0579

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