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Sugar Ants

What Do Sugar Ants Look Like?

The term sugar ant refers to several different kinds of pests that invade homes and businesses to find sweet things to eat. Common species found in New England include carpenter ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, citronella ants, and little black ants.

Depending on the species, these pests can be as small as a grain of rice or as big as a lima bean. Sugar ants range from yellowish-brown to black in color with three defined body segments, six legs, and bent antennae.

sugar ant queen picture

How Can I Tell if I Have a Sugar Ant Problem?

Although sugar ants come in many colors and sizes, they have some things in common. Some examples of a sugar ant problem could be:

  • Outdoor Nests – Some sugar ants live under parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. You might see small mounds of dirt emerging from cracks in concrete or asphalt. If these pests are near your building, odds are good that they will get inside.
  • Live Ants – Seeing several ants on the floor, in a cabinet, or on your countertops is a clear sign of a pest problem. Note that if the insects have wings, you may have an odorous house ant nest in your home.
  • Frass – Carpenter ants build their nests inside of walls, tunneling through damp or rotten wooden beams and leaving behind piles of sawdust and debris called frass.
  • Swarmers – Healthy, thriving colonies produce winged reproductives. Spotting ants with wings around windows or doors indicates a serious problem.
  • Chewing Noises – These insects, particularly carpenter and pavement ants, make audible sounds as they build homes inside of structures. Large populations make louder, more noticeable noises.

How Do Sugar Ants Get Inside Homes and Businesses?

Pet food bowls and food crumbs attract the insects. Since they’re so tiny, sugar ants will exploit any crack or flaw in home exteriors. Torn screens, gaps around windowsills and doorframes, and holes for utility wires are all access points for the pests.

Many ants end up inside schools, apartment buildings, and dorms by crawling through spaces between pipes. Once inside, sugar ants seek out kitchens and cafeterias to find food. Grocery stores and supermarkets may also have issues with these insects after produce or beverage deliveries.

Are Sugar Ants Dangerous?

When sugar ants invade pantries and other storage areas, they contaminate goods as they forage. The pests can also spread bacteria like E. coli to prep surfaces, plates, and food. Additionally, carpenter ants excavate wood supports from the inside out, and infestations can cause significant damage over time.

In theaters, hotels, and other commercial spaces, sugar ant sightings may lead to damaging customer reviews. The pests also infiltrate appliances like ice machines, microwaves, dishwashers, and refrigerators which can affect diners’ meals and ruin a restaurant’s reputation.

How Can I Prevent Sugar Ant Infestations?

Wiping up spills immediately and storing food in tightly closed containers goes a long way toward avoiding sugar ant problems. Sealing up gaps around windows and doors and repairing foundation cracks also makes it tougher for these pests to get indoors.

Sugar ants are difficult to control, and their colonies can expand quickly. If you suspect a sugar ant infestation in your home or business, contact Waltham Pest Services to speak with a professional.

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