The term “sugar ant” is one most people use to identify the type of ant we find in our kitchens snacking on sugary substances that were spilled or left behind. The banded sugar ant is native to Australia and are not found here in the U.S. The ants we find here in our homes feeding in our kitchens and around our homes are most commonly Odorous House Ants or Pavement ants. A Five Star Termite & Pest Control would like to explain the differences in these ants and help you to identify which species may be invaders in your home!
Banded Sugar Ants
Native to Australia and are one of the largest of the ant species ranging anywhere from .2-.6 inches in length having brown/orange banded patterning on their bodies with identifiable large black heads. They prefer setting up their nests outdoor in wooded areas where they can nest in hollowed out wood, tree branches, soil or under plants. Can also be found in Urban areas close to food sources. These ants are omnivores, so they feed on dead animals, insects, plants and sweet nectar. Are known to a “guardian” of sorts to scale insects or aphids because of the sweet secretions they emit that the ants love and feed from. They live alongside these bugs and protect them, so they may feed freely on the food sources they provide to the ants.
Odorous House Ants
Native to the U.S. And are commonly found in our homes. They can be major pests and difficult to remove from our homes. They grow to be about 2.5-3 MM in length and brown to blackish in color. They are also known as “stink ants” because of the foul odor they emit when they are smooshed or killed. Their preferred habitat is outdoors in soil or under rocks and other things found along the ground. They have multiple reproductive queens and multiple nests which can make it difficult to remove their presence from your home alone. They forage mainly for honeydew, floral nectar, and other sugary substances that are attractive to them. This makes that spilled sugary drink or dripped popsicle a feast for these guys! Like the banded sugar ant, these guys are known to protect various types of scale insects and aphids to feed on the sweet secretions they produce. This ant species is highly tolerant to both the heat and cold and can be found all year round.
This ant species is identifiable by the war-like scales that appear on their backs, they are dark brown or black in color and are 2.5-4 MM in length. Once native to only Europe, they are now found in the United States and are known as an introduced pest to the U.S. They get their names from their preference of building their homes in the pavement. During the Spring their reproduction rates peak and you can find them coming out in full force to attack competing enemy colonies. At times you may find hundreds of dead ants around their colony because of their fierce reputation to aggressively defend their nest and eliminate the competition of other ants in the area. They too are omnivores and love sweet things, but will settle for bread, cheeses, seeds, meats, nuts etc.
Are Sugar Ants Harmful to Your House?
These ants can’t cause much harm to us, and serve a vital role in our ecosystem, but they can be a nuisance. Here are some helpful tips to minimize their presence around your home.
1: Keep trashcans cleaned and emptied
2: Store food in airtight containers
3: Clean up spills as they happen and avoid allowing them to sit overnight.
4: When ant trails are found, clean trail area with vinegar to remove their scent so they don’t have a trail to follow.
5: Keep foundations sealed up, caulk any cracks, keep windows and doors sealed.
6: Keep honey, molasses, and syrups in the fridge.
7: Keep sugary drinks in the fridge.
8: If you see one, kill it to avoid an invasion. They like to leave pheromones so their buddies know where to go to find food.