In Repair & Maintenance

How do I Get Rid of Sugar Ants Fast

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Every winter and summer, sugar ants invade homes across the country and cause incredible anger as homeowners desperately try to get rid of them. The fastest way to get rid of ants is to clean the house. The best way to prevent sugar ants is to keep a clean house. But what does that mean exactly?

What Are Sugar Ants

Sugar ants are one of the most common household pests because they are attracted to the same living conditions and food that humans prefer. Something to note is that sugar ants look and behave remarkably similar to their cousins, the grease ant. They can be treated as the same insect for the purposes of treating and preventing their incursions.

Sugar ants rolling popcorn

What do Sugar Ants Look Like

Sugar ants are small red or black ants. They are usually ¼” or less in length and there are several different types. No sugar ants have wings. If you see larger ants, around ½”, or those with wings, you have termites or carpenter ants.

A characteristic of sugar ants or grease ants is that they walk in a line. As the ants walk across a surface, they leave a scent trail for the rest of the colony to follow. When an ant finds a food source, the rest of the colony follows the scent trail to eat.

What do Sugar Ants Eat

Ants are attracted to, and eat, sugar. That sugar can be in the form of white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, syrup, bread, and numerous other foodstuffs commonly found in the kitchen. These ants are also attracted to water because, like all living things, they require water to survive.

Where do you Find Sugar Ants

These ants are most commonly found in the kitchen, for obvious reasons that the food is in the kitchen. However, if there are other rooms in the house that have sugary food and small puddles of water, they will happily go there. Bathroom counters with toothpaste on them or messy teenage desks are just fine with them.

Types of Sugar Ants

Main types of sugar ants

What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

The fastest way to get rid of these ants is to set out bait traps, such as Terro, and to clean up the sugar and water that attracted them in the first place. Break out the all-purpose cleaner and a sponge because you’re going to really need to scrub to get all the attractive crumbs gone.

Natural Methods of Getting Rid of Sugar Ants

  • Coffee and whole cloves around home perimeter
  • Spray 50% white vinegar solution on ant trail to destroy scent
  • Set out homemade ant traps (half borax, half honey) near ant trail
  • Diatomaceous earth spread anywhere ants have been seen

Chemical Methods of Getting Rid of Sugar Ants

  • Terro ant traps where you see ants inside your home
  • Use all-purpose or bleach cleaner on countertops each night to destroy scent trail
  • Bayer home defense sprayed around the home perimeter

How did I get a Sugar Ant Infestation

messy kitchens bring in sugar ants

Ant infestations are the direct result of a dirty home. It’s not the answer most of us want but it’s the right answer. Sugar and grease ants are drawn to food spills that are not cleaned up. They also prefer the dark and safe areas that come from counter clutter such as daily mail and bags.

You also get ant infestations if you don’t maintain the vegetation around your home. As vegetation grows taller and closer to the siding, it is easier for sugar ants to get from the ground outside and reach the interior of your home. If you need to, spray a strong weed killer to help knock down the vegetation.

How do I Prevent Sugar Ants in the Kitchen

  • Clean up sugary messes ASAP
  • Wipe up crumbs and damp spots
  • Wipe around sink regularly
  • Take out trash
  • Clean kitchen floor after dinner

How Serious is a Sugar Ant Infestation

A sugar ant infestation is not a serious problem for most homeowners, just an annoyance. However, it is the first sign that you need to take better care of your home. If you don’t clean up your home and your act when you see sugar ants, other household pests are soon to follow. 

This could be anything from termites to spiders or mice. Nobody wants to deal with the more advanced pests. If you see ants, start taking care of it immediately to prevent the worse pests from coming in too.

Sugar Ant FAQs

biting ant

Do Sugar Ants Bite

Sugar ants can’t really bite a human, or even a pet in your home. Some people could have allergies to them if the ants walk across them. But they do not really bite.

Can Sugar Ants Damage my Home

These ants can’t damage a home. They don’t eat wood like termites or carpenter ants. And unless there are millions of them, they won’t leave much of a trace from waste either.

How do I find the Ant Nest

If you are so inclined, you can follow the trail of ants from the food source they’re finding (which can be difficult to find in its own right) back to the source or the colony. However, to trace it all the way back, you would probably have to destroy fixtures in the home such as the trim or countertops. It isn’t worth it.

Are Sugar Ants Attracted to Water

Sugar ants are attracted to water just as much as they are to sugar. Water and sugar represent the two major resources that ants need in order to survive.


Everybody who owns a home has had to get rid of an ant infestation at one point or another. It isn’t the end of the world but it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Not only that, but it is embarrassing because these ants are drawn to dirty and messy places. Fortunately, the easiest solution to getting rid of them is just to clean up your home.