What Is A Sugar Ant?

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What Are Sugar Ants? Find Out Here

Here in South Carolina, we have our share of pests. Some of them are more bothersome than others, particularly when they decide to invade your home. And if you’ve ever had to deal with an ant invasion, you know just how much trouble they can cause.

 

While there are over 1,000 ant species in the United States, there are only a handful that we commonly encounter here in South Carolina. If you’ve opened up your kitchen cupboard to find a trail of ants marching to and from a bag of sugar, a box of cereal, or another sweet food source, you may have concluded that you’re dealing with sugar ants.

sugarant

When it comes to ant control, though, the first step involves correctly identifying the ant species that you’re dealing with. Depending on what type of ants have invaded your home, there are different steps that you’ll need to take -- including locating the nest, selecting the appropriate type of bait, and so on -- in order to get rid of them.

How do you know if you have sugar ants? Do they bite, and are they dangerous? And, most importantly, how do you get rid of sugar ants and prevent them from coming back? Keep reading to find out.

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What Is a Sugar Ant?

What exactly do we mean when we use the term “sugar ant?” Is a sugar ant a specific species? Or, does the name refer to a group of different species?

As it turns out, there is an ant species known as the banded sugar ant (or Camponotus consobrinus). This type of ant was first identified in 1842 by the German entomologist Wilhelm Ferdinand Erichson. Its name derives from two characteristics: its attraction to sweet food sources, and the easily identifiable orange and brown band encircling its gaster (the rear body segment of an ant).

However, the banded sugar ant isn’t actually found here in the United States. It’s native to Australia, and not typically found elsewhere in the world. So, does this mean that we’re using the term “sugar ant” incorrectly here in the United States?

That depends. On the one hand, “sugar ant” doesn’t refer to a specific species of ant here in North America. But on the other hand, it’s common practice in the U.S. to use the term “sugar ant” when referring to a variety of different ant species that are attracted to sugar, including the odorous house ant and the pavement ant. If you encounter ants drawn to sugary foods in your kitchen here in South Carolina, chances are good that you’re either dealing with pavement ants or odorous house ants.

 

Do Sugar Ants Bite?

Some species of ants inflict painful bites and stings. What about sugar ants?

The odorous house ant isn’t capable of biting or stinging. If you run into this ant in your home, you won’t have to worry about suffering a bite. Pavement ants, however, are capable of inflicting a bite. While they do have stingers, they only use their stinger to attack other insects. The stinger isn’t powerful enough to pierce human skin. Their bites are rarely serious, only causing significant discomfort in highly sensitive individuals.

 

The Difference Between Sugar Ants and Other Kinds of Ants

How are sugar ants different from other ant species?

It’s common to think of all ants as being attracted to sugar. However, this isn’t the case. Different species of ants are drawn to different food sources. While sugar ants are typically attracted to sweet foods, other ant species prefer protein-rich sources of food. Some ants will eat either.

Additionally, sugar ants have particular nesting habits which differ from those of other ants. For example, pavement ants get their name from their habit of nesting in or around sidewalks and driveways. Odorous house ants are more likely to take up residence in the soil itself, or under objects that are lying on the ground.

Another difference between sugar ants and other ant species is their ability to bite and sting. As mentioned above, sugar ants don’t inflict painful or dangerous bites (except in highly sensitive individuals). Other ant species, however -- such as the fire ant -- are capable of inflicting incredibly painful stings that can result in serious reactions, even in individuals who aren’t typically sensitive to insect bites.

 

Do Sugar Ants Really Like Sugar?

Yes, they do! Not all ants like sugar. Some are drawn to protein-rich sources of food, including other insects. But sugar ant species such as the odorous house ant and pavement ant are indeed drawn to sugary food sources. If you have easily accessible, sugary foods in your kitchen such as poorly sealed bags of sugar, cereal, and so on. you could end up with a sugar ant invasion.

 

What Causes a Sugar Ant Infestation?

Like all insects, sugar ants are drawn to food and water sources. A household kitchen is often the perfect source of both food and water for sugar ants. Uncovered food, sticky counters and floors, trash that’s allowed to sit in the garbage can, and poorly sealed pantry foods are all sugar ant attractants.

 

Are Sugar Ants Dangerous?

Some species of ants are more dangerous than others. While sugar ants aren’t particularly dangerous, they can still be a major nuisance. No one wants a cupboard full of ants, and a sugar ant colony inside your home can quickly grow to more than 50,000 ants. Sugar ants can chew through paper and plastic containers, and will quickly ruin an otherwise perfectly good container of food. Additionally, sugar ants can attract other troublesome pests into your home, including centipedes and spiders.

As a homeowner, it’s important to keep in mind that correctly identifying a particular species of ant is difficult. You may think you have sugar ants, but you could be dealing with a more dangerous or destructive species. The only way to know for certain is to work with a professional ant control company.

 

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

The first step to getting rid of sugar ants is correctly identifying what species you’re dealing with. The approach you take to ant control will depend on which species has invaded your home. Not all ant baits are effective against all species of ants.

Getting rid of ants also involves locating and eliminating their nest. This can be challenging to attempt on your own, as ants often build nests in locations that are difficult to access such as basements, attics, and even inside walls. In order to get rid of sugar ants once and for all, we recommend contacting an ant control professional.

 

Sugar Ant Prevention

What about when it comes to sugar ant prevention? Once you’ve managed to eliminate sugar ants from your home, the last thing you want is to experience another invasion a few weeks or months down the road.

In order to prevent a sugar ant infestation, you’ll need to eliminate potential food and water sources. This means keeping your kitchen surfaces clean, keeping food well-sealed in proper storage containers, emptying your trash regularly, and eliminating moisture wherever possible.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Particularly when it comes to sources of moisture, attempting to prevent sugar ants on your own can be challenging. Home Pest Control offers pest prevention services to ensure that your home stays pest free.

 

Professional Ant Control

At the end of the day, eliminating sugar ants on your own can be a major challenge. The professionals at Home Pest Control have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you get rid of sugar ants here in South Carolina. Our environmentally friendly ant control methods are safe for you and your family. One of our highly trained technicians will design a custom ant control and prevention program suited to your home. Contact us to get started.

Want to learn more about how to prevent sugar ants and other pests this summer? Click here to download our free Complete Summer Pest Control Guide!

Sign up now to receive our free summer pest control guide.

Written By: Home Pest

July 11, 2019


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