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ants on sugar

10 Solutions to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally

Tired of sugar ants raiding your kitchen for sweets? These tiny invaders follow invisible trails to find even the smallest spills.

Good news: you can kick them out naturally, without using harsh chemicals. Opt for safe, effective options like essential oils, vinegar, or diatomaceous earth.

Why go natural? It's better for your health, safe for kids and pets, and kind to the environment.

Discover simple, sustainable ways to keep your home ant-free and harmonious.

Key Takeaways

  • Vinegar, lemon juice, and peppermint oil are excellent natural repellents against sugar ants, utilizing their strong scents to deter ant invasions.
  • Boiling water, diatomaceous earth, and mixing baking soda and powdered sugar effectively kill ants by disrupting their nests or deceiving them with lethal bait.
  • Identifying the type of sugar ant is crucial for targeted elimination, as different species have unique habitats and behaviors that influence the best control strategy.
  • Prevent future infestations by sealing entry points, storing food in airtight containers, maintaining clean countertops, and disposing of waste properly to remove attractions for sugar ants.
  • If natural remedies fail, contacting a professional pest control service ensures efficient and effective elimination of persistent or large sugar ant colonies.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

natural ways to get rid of sugar ants graphic showing list

Sugar ants have a notorious attraction to sweet foods, making them tenacious visitors to your homes.

Before you call the exterminator, learn these ten natural remedies for getting rid of ants, which utilize everyday household items and ingredients.

1. Mixing Vinegar Solutions

Vinegar's strong scent makes it an excellent DIY ant repellent. Here’s how to create a simple vinegar solution as a home remedy:

  1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

  2. Shake well and spray around doors, windowsills, and countertops.

  3. Repeat regularly to maintain the repellent barrier.

2. Spreading Boiling Water

Boiling water can directly target ant nests and disrupt their trails without harmful pesticides or insecticides.

Here’s a simple guide to employing this method:

  • Look for areas with high ant activity, typically near pavement cracks, garden areas, or your home’s foundation.
  • Bring a substantial amount of water to a rolling boil. 
  • Carefully pour the boiling water directly into the entrance of the ant nest.

The high temperature of the water will instantly kill ants and disrupt their colony structure. 

3. Spraying Lemon Juice Mixtures

Lemon juice can function as an effective natural insect repellent. To make a lemon juice spray:

  1. Combine one part lemon juice with three parts water in a spray bottle.

  2. Vigorously shake the mixture before use.

  3. Spray the mixture around window sills, door thresholds, and other ant trails.

4. Applying Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a natural ant deterrent with a refreshing scent. To use peppermint oil effectively:

  • Create a spray by mixing several drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle.
  • Apply the peppermint spray in ant-prone areas.
  • Reapply the solution regularly for sustained ant control.

5. Distributing Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth acts as a natural ant killer by dehydrating insects. For a safe application:

  1. Identify the areas where ants frequent.

  2. Lightly sprinkle diatomaceous earth along ant trails and near entry points.

  3. Reapply after cleaning or if it becomes wet.

6. Combining Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar

Baking soda and powdered sugar can effectively kill an entire colony. The preparation as ant traps involves:

  1. Mix one part baking soda with one part powdered sugar.

  2. Place this mixture near the ant trails in small lids or shallow containers.

  3. Ants are attracted to the sugar and will return the lethal mixture to their colony.

7. Laying Down Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds are a natural method to repel sugar ants:

  • Position the grounds along the perimeter of your home, especially near entryways.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of ground in garden beds where ants are seen.
  • Replace the grounds periodically to maintain their effectiveness.

8. Preparing Borax and Sugar Baits

Boric acid mixed with sugar creates an enticing yet fatal ant bait:

  • Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Borax and warm water to create a thick paste.
  • Place the paste on pieces of cardboard where you notice an ant colony or activity.

Caution: Keep the borax mixture out of reach of pets and children.

9. Making Citrus Peel Infusions

Citrus peels have d-limonene, which is unappealing to ants. To create a citrus peel infusion spray:

  1. Chop up citrus peels and simmer in water for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Let the solution cool and strain it into a spray bottle.

  3. Spray the infusion in ant-prone areas of the home.

10. Planting Mint and Bay leaves

Mint and bay leaves are a natural and effective way to deter sugar ants due to their strong scent. They can be planted to deter ants naturally.

To use them as an ant deterrent, follow these simple steps:

  • Position the plants around the house's foundation and entryways.
  • Ensure the plants receive adequate water and sunlight to thrive.
  • Prune regularly to prevent overgrowth and improve the plant's efficacy as a repellent.

Signs of a Sugar Ant Infestation

Identifying a sugar ant infestation early can prevent a small ant problem from becoming widespread.

As homeowners, paying attention to the early signs of their presence can help you take swift action to control their numbers.

Here are some common indicators of a sugar ant infestation:

  • Sightings of Live Ants: Seeing ants roaming around your kitchen, pantry, or other areas where food is stored is a clear sign. Sugar ants are mainly active at night.
  • Ant Trails: Sugar ants often move in trails to and from food sources. Observing a line of ants leading to food spills or exposed sweets is a hallmark of their activity.
  • Nesting Sites: Look out for small mounds of earth or dirt in sheltered areas, which could indicate the entrance to their nest.
  • Sugary Residues: Sticky residues on countertops or floors from spilled sweet liquids can attract sugar ants.
  • Damaged Packaging: Finding holes or tears in food packaging, especially in boxes of sweets or bags of sugar, can indicate that sugar ants are searching for food.

Preventing Future Infestations

When you successfully eliminate the sugar ants, you must ensure they never return with their pheromone-based scent trail set by scout ants.

Here’s a list of preventive measures to maintain an ant-free home.

Preventive Measure


Seal Entry Points

Inspect homes for crevices and gaps around baseboards, windowsills, and other potential entry points. Seal these openings with caulk to prevent ants from entering.

Store Food Securely

Store sugar, cereals, and other pantry items in airtight containers to keep food sources inaccessible to ants. Ensure pet food dishes are clean and empty when not in use.

Maintain Clean Countertops

Wipe surfaces regularly with dish soap and water to eliminate messes and residues that attract sugar ants. It will deter ant trails and discourage infestations.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Regularly empty trash bins and correctly recycle waste to avoid attracting sugar ants and other pests, including termites, cockroaches, and bed bugs.

Is It Time to Call a Professional?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an infestation of sugar ants persists. Several situations merit it might be time to contact professional pest control companies (like us at Native Pest Management):

  1. Persistent Ants

  2. Large Colonies

  3. Inside Walls

  4. Allergic Reactions

  5. Damage to Property

Remember, calling a pest control service is not admitting defeat—it's choosing to handle the problem efficiently and effectively.