Sugar ants are a common nuisance pest for homeowners here in Georgia. They are most active during the summer months, and with that season just around the corner, it is important that homeowners are prepared. To help facilitate this, here is a short guide to help you better understand WHAT sugar ants are and HOW they can be a pest in your home.
Identification and Habitat:
The name “Sugar Ant” is used herein Georgia to refer to a species more accurately known as the banded sugar ant. This species of social scavenger ants is known for its preference for sugary, glucose-based foods.
Banded sugar ants grow to around 1/2 an inch in length as adults, but they can vary in size and coloration based on temperature, moisture level, and other environmental factors. They can be most reliably identified by the dark band on the far back of their body. It is rare, however, to spot sugar ant workers out and about due to their nocturnal feeding habits.
In the wild, sugar ants will often form subterranean colonies in secluded areas. These colonies can produce thousands of workers which work to supply the colony with food. In the wild, sugar ants will mostly subsist on food scraps, consuming other insects, and “farming” aphids for their honeydew secretions. While they certainly have a distinct preference for sugary foods, these pests will consume almost any food source if necessary.
Sugar ants prefer a warm environment with a high moisture level. This makes Georgia a perfect environment for them during the summer. The ants often find suburban areas to be ideal for nesting, as these spaces often host a large number of homes and outdoor eating areas from which they can scavenge food.
Lifestyle, Diet, and Behavior:
Sugar ant infestations most often begin after a nearby nest sends scouting workers into the home seeking reliable food sources. Sugar ants can subsist on a variety of common foods, and can even feed from small stains and scraps left behind in kitchens, dining rooms, and outdoor eating areas.
Beyond food scraps, sugar ants will also infiltrate cabinets, sinks, and pantries to consume any unsealed food available to them there. This can contaminate food and result in homeowners throwing away large quantities of dried foods and cooking ingredients.
Sugar ants reproduce during the spring and summer, and thus this is the time in which they will be most active. Homeowners will sometimes notice long trains of scavenging workers appearing just after dusk.
Sugar ants do not bite, and they are not generally destructive. Sugar ants are mostly a nuisance pest, contaminating food and sometimes also leading predator species such as wasps or spiders into the home.
Treatment and Prevention:
The best way to keep sugar ants out of your home is by reducing favorable environmental conditions that attract these pests in the first place. Keep any stored foods properly sealed and inaccessible, and try to clean any food spills or stains promptly. Beyond this, proper exclusion techniques can help to keep your home sealed against sugar ants and many other pests.
If you are already dealing with sugar ants, your best option is to call in a licensed pest control company to inspect and treat your home. Oftentimes sugar ant activity is a sign of an exploitable weakness in your home that other pests can also take advantage of. Due to this, it is important to identify and remove sugar ants so as to maintain a pest free home.
Here at Canton Termite and Pest Control, we have decades of experience treating pests of all kinds here in the Cherokee County, GA area! Our technicians make use of a wide range of safe, targeted treatment approaches that are designed to remove a pest population in its entirety quickly and completely
So don’t give pests another free day in your home, call a company that you can trust to do the job right and save you time, money, and frustration! Give us a call today at 770-479-1598! We will be happy to help in any way that we can!