Sugar ants can seem like an endless plague, especially in the Pacific NW. It can be frustrating to understand where these tiny pests come from, and what attracts them in the first place!

Although a number of species are commonly known as “sugar ants”, odorous house ants are the common culprit. When crushed, these ants emit an odor that smells of coconut. Odorous house ants can be found throughout the US, and are notoriously attracted to sugar substances. Once they gain an entry into your home, it can be very difficult to get rid of them.

Pioneer Pest is here to help! We have a number of home remedies that might be able to nip your sugar ant problem in the bud. If you’re experiencing a serious ant infestation–more than fifty ants on a regular basis, or an uncontrolled infestation spreading throughout the house–we recommend professional services.

Home remedies can be effective for initial infestations. Here are our favorite natural ways to get rid of sugar ants!

Coffee, Herbs & Oils to Keep Sugar Ants Away

These are a great way to prevent ant infestations, but they have to be used in the right concentrations, and they must be applied regularly to entry points in order to work.

  • Coffee Grounds: Can be used to keep a number of pests away. We recommend only using it outside around entryways–coffee can stain flooring!
  • Bay Leaves: Placing a bay leaf in your pantry can go a long way toward deterring sugar ants.
  • Pepper: Ants don’t like the overwhelming smell of pepper. This remedy can be difficult to use in large amounts, but can be combined with other methods as a support.
  • Cucumber Peels: Sugar ants don’t like the smell of cucumber. Place around entryways, and keep those peels moist to maintain the cucumber aroma!
  • Essential Oils: Cinnamon, peppermint, and orange essential oils are a relatively easy way to keep ants at bay. Dilute around 20 drops of oil within 8 ounces of water, and spray along doorways, windowsills, and any other place where ant activity is present!

Homemade Cleaners to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Odorous ants use a complicated system of pheromones to communicate with each other. By placing trails of different scents, they can alert their nest mates to food resources, the way back to the nest, and even danger! Removing these trails is the best way to make sure these ants don’t continue marching into your home.

  • Soap & Water: The easiest way to eliminate a constant trail of ants.
  • Vinegar: Its pungent odor is a great deterrent. Vinegar is known for its cleaning properties and ability to eliminate odors. We agree! Dilute the vinegar in water to make sure the vinegar evaporates.

Controlling and Eliminating Sugar Ants with Powders

If you still have trails of ants popping up, it’s time to double down. These powders can kill ants when they are eaten, and can also be carried back to the nest, killing nest mates as well. We do recommend using caution with these powders, especially around children and pets.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a food substance that will kill ants if they ingest it. Please use with caution, even if it is food!
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Made of fossilized diatoms, diatomaceous earth is a soft type of sedimentary rock. This substance can cause irritation of mucus membranes, lungs, skin, and eyes. If you’re not completely comfortable with this substance, we do not recommend using it.
  • Borax: A mineral commonly used in household cleaners, borax is an effective ant killer, when used in shallow dishes around entryways. Borax should never be used within reach of pets or children.

10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

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