Sugar ants are social insects that may be native or invasive species. As the name implies, sugar ants like sugar and other sweet foods, although they also like snacking on pet food and dead insects. They go to houses enticed with the food source and water content available.
So how do you kill small black sugar ants surrounding your house? You may opt to prevent sugar ants from entering your house through incorporating cleaning habits or physical barriers or you may kill them using chemicals, natural products, or contacting a pest control professional like Positive Pest Management.
The first step in getting rid of black sugar ants surrounding your house is to identify the types of sugar ants you're dealing with because the integrated pest management methods will depend on these. You can do so by looking at their appearance, smell, behavior, nest sites, and other characteristics that may be unique to these ants.
Outdoor sugar ants are the kinds of ants that may be nesting on tree stumps or tree branches, on shrubs, or on porches and patios. These include the following:
Similarly, ants may also invade the indoors through cracks and window sill openings. Sugar ants that prefer going indoors include the following:
The most glaring sign of an ant infestation in houses is the presence of ant trails composed of thousands of worker ants. They're pheromone trails that allow these ants to track down their foods and each other, in such a way that it helps recruit more worker ants in the food once scout ants found their way through them.
Ant trails also help ants go back to their nests, which leads us also to another sign of ant infestation, which is the ant nest. Different types of ants have different versions of their nests. For example, carpenter ants make their nests using wood. Yet another example is the red imported fire ants which make their nests from the soil, with diameters that may be as large as 46 cm (18").
The reason why sugar ants would want to go to your homes is that they see your homes as an abundant supply of food. These ants would want to feed on the sugars, syrups, jams, jellies, cake, and other sugary foods and enter your house in search of food. They also like moisture and they also see your house as a good water source.
As such, a way to control sugar ant infestation is to stop giving them a reason to enter your homes. Pet bowls must always be cleaned after use and must not be left with food after your pets have finished eating. Dirty dishes must always be cleaned after use and not left at the kitchen sink. Foods must be properly sealed and stored so these ants won't have access to food.
Regular checkups of water pipes must be done to prevent leaks that may encourage these ants (and may even harbor bacteria). Cleaning parts of the house such as the kitchen counter, kitchen sinks, cupboards, and other parts are also important aspects to consider in stopping these ants from wanting to get inside the house.
Sugar ants may gain access to your homes through different openings such as cracks in the walls, holes in certain areas of the house, and doors and window sills left ajar. It's thus important to check these parts for possible cracks and holes and to make it a habit to close the doors and window sills. Using window and door screens and always looking for rips on these are helpful control methods, too.
Another food source that sugar ants prefer is plant and insect secretions such as nectar and honeydew, which are obviously found in house plants. As such, it's best to check your house plants for signs of ant infestation so you can control the ant colony frequenting them before taking them inside your homes or giving them as gifts to friends.
Neglecting to check the house plants gives the sugar ants yet another way to access your homes which we don't want to happen.
Insect repellent products that are available commercially usually come in a spray bottle. Look for those that can guarantee themselves as solutions that can effectively kill ants.
There are also commercial insect repellent products that may come as ant bait traps. These traps contain boric acid (borax) or hydramethylnon. These bait traps should be sweet and enticing to sugar ants that they crowd around and collect these traps.
These traps should also be slow-acting such that the worker ants will be able to carry them back to their nests before ingestion and getting killed with chances of their queen also getting killed as well.
Chemicals may contain active ingredients that can be toxic not only to the pests but to you, your kids, and your pets as well. Always make sure to check the product label for toxic ingredients such as imiprothrin and cypermethrin which are dangerous when inhaled or ingested.
Better yet, it's also a good idea to consider alternatives such as natural insect repellents for an effective but safer way to kill small black sugar ants. Examples of these natural insect repellents are as follows.
Diatomaceous earth is a fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of plankton. It works by drying out the hard covering of ants and other insects, leading to them getting killed. It's non-toxic and only an irritant but hands must be protected by gloves when applying it to areas of concern so that it won't get to the skin while the nose should be protected by a mask to prevent it from getting inhaled.
Anecdotal evidence says that the smell of ground black or red pepper is potentially irritating to ants or other insects thus discouraging them from entering your house. Sprinkling pepper to parts of the house that the ants usually frequent such as behind appliances and around corners of the house.
Essential oils are natural insect repellents that can deter ants away from homes because ants and other insects find the smell of these oils irritating when their receptors pick up the irritating chemical compounds found in these oils such as alcohol and menthol. These essential oils include the following:
White vinegar may be used as ant repellent by diluting vinegar to water in a 1:1 ratio, putting it in spray bottles, and spraying them on areas that ants frequently go to. Aside from being an effective insect repellent, it's also a good cleaning agent as well.
Ant trails and ant holes may be treated with boiling hot water, which may kill ants on contact. Since a single application can't kill all of the ant colony, it's a good idea to treat every ant trail or ant hole you may find surrounding your home.
Cornstarch may be used to kill ants on contact through two methods:
If you think you've done everything to try to control these sugar ants but their ant trails are still visible, you may contact a pest management professional like Positive Pest Management. Pest control companies are experts in the field of pest control. We can suggest treatment plans which are effective ways to get rid of pests like sugar ants and prevent them from coming back.
You can choose to control sugar ants through physical or chemical means. Through barriers or housekeeping habits, you may keep these nuisance pests away. You may also do a pesticide application or use natural products to get rid of them. If all else fails, you may choose to contact pest experts like Positive Pest Management.
Positive Pest Management is a trusted solution to your pest problems. We're committed to giving high-quality services through our competent pest control operator and a wide variety of green and effective products. We're highly-skilled and experienced in pest control and ensure that we can exceed your expectations. Contact us today at 1.800.294.3130.