Most people find it hard to tell the difference between different types of ants in Maryland, but different colonies tend to follow different behaviors.

Fire ants tend to be more aggressive, while odorous ants tend to just smell worse. One of the most common ants you’ll come across in Maryland is the sugar ant, though almost all ants can be referred to as sugar ants.

With many types of ants classified as sugar ants, it’s time to demystify what types are really “sugar ants” and how to get rid of sugar ants, regardless of what species they are.

What Are Sugar Ants?

Sugar ants are any species of ants that seek out sweat, greasy, or sugary snacks inside your home. The most common ants that are referred to as sugar ants are:

  • Pharaoh Ants: Pharaoh ants are tiny yellow or light brown ants known for their preference for sugary foods and moisture-rich environments. They often build nests in difficult-to-reach areas, making them challenging to control, and they can spread diseases, such as salmonella, by contaminating food.
  • Odorous Ants: Odorous ants, also known as “odorous house ants,” emit a foul, rotten coconut-like odor when crushed, hence their name. They are attracted to sugary substances and are commonly found trailing along kitchen countertops and around food sources.
  • Pavement Ants: Pavement ants are dark brown to black ants that nest under pavement, rocks, and in cracks in concrete. They are attracted to sweets and proteins and are often found foraging for crumbs and spills in kitchens and pantries.
  • Carpenter Ants: While carpenter ants primarily feed on protein-rich foods like insects and dead animals, they are also attracted to sugary substances. Unlike other ants on this list, carpenter ants can cause structural damage to homes as they excavate wood to build their nests.

What Sugar Ants Have in Common

While sugar ants tend to range from light brown to black in color, they do share some common traits. All sugar ants feast on sugary or protein-rich foods and prefer moist environments. Once inside, they’ll set up nests inside of walls and pipes where they can leave pheromone trails to food sources that attract other ants from their colony.

Signs of Sugar Ants

The biggest tell of a sugar ant infestation will be seeing a live trail traveling from a food source back to the colony.

Since ants don’t leave many other markings, you should search for ants around heat sources, such as baseboards and flooring, or around copper piping that leads into walls.

You will be able to spot nests outside as well, including under stones, in gardens, or near walkways.

How To Prevent Sugar Ant Infestations

Preventing any kind of ant from taking up residence in your home usually follows the same process. Often it comes down to outdoor maintenance and sanitization to keep these guys away. Try these tips to keep them outdoors:

  • Do a thorough perimeter check of your home, sealing up cracks and holes with silicone-based caulking.
  • Keep tree limbs trimmed back from roofs and shrubbery well-maintained and distant from windows.
  • Store firewood away from the home and check logs thoroughly before bringing them indoors.
  • Keep counters and surfaces clean and free of crumbs.
  • Store food in sealed containers, limiting cardboard and one-use plastic containers in your cabinets.
  • Keep indoor trash sealed and take it out frequently. Keep outdoor trash away from the house and in a sealed container.
  • Eliminate standing water sources by fixing leaking pipes or maintaining landscape to get rid of areas that collect water.

Ant bait stations and traps may be effective, though they are not often powerful enough to combat a large-scale colony.

We understand how frustrating any type of ant presence can be. If these prevention tips aren’t enough to keep these invaders away, the best kind of pest prevention involves enlisting the help of a professional for regular visits.

Getting Professional Help for Sugar Ants

When regular prevention methods are not working, reach out to a local pest control professional for assistance. The experts at Pest Czar can identify and eliminate a sugar ant colony inside and outside your Annapolis home and dispose of any pheromone trails so that ants don’t return to your house.

Ask about our Czar Guard Plans, starting at $39/month, which fight back against sugar ants and 40 different species of pests.

FAQs: How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

What is the lifespan of a sugar ant?

The lifespan of a sugar ant can vary depending on factors such as species, environmental conditions, and available food sources. On average, worker ants may live for several weeks to a few months, while queens can live for several years.

What are the natural repellents for sugar ants?

There are several natural repellents for sugar ants that include:

  • Vinegar: Create a vinegar and water solution to spray on ant trails and entry points.
  • Citrus peels: Place citrus peels near entry points to deter ants.
  • Essential oils: Peppermint, lemon, or cinnamon essential oils can be diluted and sprayed as a natural ant repellent.

How do sugar ants enter homes?

Sugar ants can enter homes through tiny cracks and openings in walls, windows, doors, and foundations. They are attracted by the scent of food and moisture and will seek out entry points to gain access to these resources.