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How To Kill Small Black Sugar Ants Surrounding Your House

February 27, 2022
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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.

Read More: How To Get Rid of Black Ants Inside The House

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Identify The Types Of Ants You're Dealing With

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:

  • Acrobat ants (Crematogaster spp.) got their names because they move their gaster acrobatically towards their head especially when they're disturbed. They're medium-sized (2.6 to 3.2 mm long), light red to brown or black ants. They prefer nesting on rotting logs or woodpiles.
  • Cornfield ants or lawn ants (Lasius neoniger) are small, light to dark brown ants frequently found outdoors in cornfields or lawns, thus the name. They commonly nest on rotting tree stumps or deep leaf litter.
  • False honey ants (Prenolepis imparis) are small, light to dark brown ants (workers 2.5-3.5 mm; queen about 8 mm). They prefer the outdoors, don't nest indoors, and are frequently associated with open, well-shaded sites.
  • Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) are small, dark brown to black ants (workers 1/16"; queens 1/8"). They prefer to nest outside under rocks and cement cracks though they may also nest indoors through wall voids and under carpeting.
  • Rover ants (Brachymyrmex patagonicus) are very small, invasive, brown ants (workers 1 to 2 mm; queens 3 mm; males 1 mm) introduced to the United States from South America. They may be found in areas with high levels of moisture. They can also be found naturally in leaf litter or wood piles or in disturbed areas with high human activity.

Similarly, ants may also invade the indoors through cracks and window sill openings. Sugar ants that prefer going indoors include the following:

  • Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) are light to dark brown ants (workers 2.2 to 2.8 mm; queens 4 to 6 mm). They don't have stings and venoms but they're still aggressive invasive ant species that can displace other ant species just by the size of their colony. They can have multiple queens, which makes them hard to control.
  • Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are brown to black ants (workers 1/4 to 1/2 inch; queens 3/4 inches) that use wood as their nest. For this reason, they're frequently mistaken for winged termites although they don't eat wood and prefer sweet foods.
  • Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) are brownish-black ants that may be 1/16 to 1/8 inches in length. They're frequently mistaken for Argentine ants although the two may be differentiated on the smell they release when crushed, with odorous house ants releasing a rotten coconut odor in contrast to Argentine ants that release a musty odor.
  • Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) are dark brown to black ants found on concrete slabs. They have flag-shaped stingers.
  • Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) are light brown to red ants 1.5 to 2 mm long. They prefer nesting in inaccessible areas but near sources of water such as wall voids. 

Inspect Your House For Signs Of Ant Infestation 

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").

Get Rid Of Ant Food Sources

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.

Learn More: How To Get Black Ants Out Of Your House Without Killing Them

Seal Off Possible Entrances 

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.

Check Your House Plants

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.

Use Chemicals 

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.

Use Natural Products

essential oils as the pest repellent for pest control in the house

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.

1) Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (Silicon Dioxide)

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. 

2) Ground Black Or Red Pepper

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. 

3) Essential Oils 

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:

  • Peppermint oil, which is derived from the flowers and leaves of the peppermint plant (Mentha × piperita) and mixing it with water. It may be used by mixing 10 to 20 drops of peppermint oil with 2 cups of water then spraying it on areas of concern.
  • Tea tree oil, derived from steam distillation of the leaves of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). It may be used by mixing 5 to 10 drops of tea tree essential oil with 2 cups of water then spraying it (or using a cotton ball for application) on areas of concern.
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil, derived from the extraction of eucalyptus leaves (Eucalyptus citriodora). It may be used undiluted, placing the eucalyptus oil on cotton balls, placing them on areas of concern, and regularly replacing the cotton balls with new ones every week.
  • Cinnamon leaf essential oil, derived from the bark or leaves of Cinnamomum spp. tree. It may also be used undiluted similar to how lemon eucalyptus oil is used.

4) White Vinegar

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.

5) Boiling Hot Water

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.

6) Cornstarch

Cornstarch may be used to kill ants on contact through two methods:

  • Spread cornstarch over the ant trail then add water. This will result in ants encased in cornstarch which you may clean afterward.
  • Spread cornstarch over the ant trail and vacuum them up, then dispose of the vacuum bag properly outside.

Contact A Pest Management Professional

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. 

Expert Pest Extermination Solutions at Positive Pest Management

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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.

Read More: How to Find Where Black Ants Are Hiding in Your Home

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