11 Effective Home Remedies Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally [Step by Step]

Sugar ants are the bane of most people. They swarm over in their armies invading houses. So, what are they actually looking for? Sweet stuff to eat.

Sugar ant is a common name given to certain species of ants like pharaoh ants, odorous house ants and carpenter ants among others. Their common trait- love for sweet food.

These sugar ants are harmful in that they carry bacteria and contaminate food. Sugar ants or for that matter all ants communicate by secreting pheromones that convey their location to other ants.

So, it’s no use killing a few ants because the others will know exactly where to come. Hence it becomes essential to get rid of the entire colony of ants.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Naturally? [11 Effective Ways]

1. Diatomaceous earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is sand consisting of fossilized shells of tiny algae or marine organisms called diatoms. When using DE for killing sugar ants use the food-grade type. The other type of DE contains insecticides and can be harmful. 

So how does DE kill sugar ants? Diatomaceous earth particles are very sharp and sticks to the limbs and exoskeletons of the ants before cutting through inside. There it absorbs the moisture and fat thus dehydrating the ant.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Start by identifying the entry points of the ants. Cracks on the floor near the window sills are good places.
  • Take the powder and sprinkle it on those areas as well as on the ant trail.
  • Mix ½ cup DE with 2 cups water.
  • Use a spray tool to spray it directly on the ants.


While using DE take care not to inhale in the powder as it can cause irritation in the nasal cavity. Wear a mask to prevent it. This is especially useful for people having asthma.

Don’t expect those the ants to drop dead at the first contact with Diatomaceous earth. DE kills slowly so you may have to wait a few days to see the results.

2. Borax and Sugar Paste

Our next method is using Borax. Borax is widely available in grocery stores and is very effective in killing sugar ants.

A bait food of Borax mixed with sugar needs to be fed to the ants. Eating it will kill the ants and if they take it to the queen ant the entire colony will be destroyed.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Identify the entry points of the ants like cracks on the floor and windows.
  • Take 2 tbsp Borax and add it to the water.
  • Add ½ cup of sugar and mix it well using a spoon.
  • Soak the cotton balls in the mixture and leave them along the ant trail and entry points.


Take care not to inhale in the Borax powder or have it come into contact with your eyes. as it can cause irritation.

3. Glass Cleaner Liquid Detergent Mixture

Using a combination of glass cleaner and liquid detergent will remove the pheromone smell secreted by the ants. This makes it impossible for the sugar ants to find their food trail.

Glass cleaner and the liquid detergent combination also work by sticking to the ants’ bodies and suffocating them to death.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Mix glass cleaning liquid and detergent in 50:50 ratio.
  • Fill the spray bottle with the mixture.
  • Spray it directly on the ants or in the areas near the ant trail.


Take care not to have the mixture come into contact with your eyes as it can cause irritation.

4. Soap and Water

Did you know just plain soap and water can kill those pesky insects? Soap solution kills ants by sticking to them and suffocating them.

Ants also hate soap because it removes all the pheromone smells secreted by them. Without the pheromone trail ants have no way of finding their food source. You may use ordinary dish soap or even dishwasher liquid for this purpose.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Fill a cup with 1/3 soap.
  • Fill the rest of the cup (2/3) with water.
  • Pour the solution into the spray bottle.
  • Spray it directly on the ants or in the areas near the ant trail.


This is a safe solution and precautions are not necessary.

5. White Vinegar

Yes, the ordinary White vinegar in your kitchen is a well-known ant killer. It also has the effect of masking the pheromones given out by the sugar ants, thus preventing them from communicating with one another.

White Vinegar is also easily available in stores making it an excellent natural remedy for sugar ant infestation.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Fill a ½ cup with white vinegar.
  • Fill the rest of the cup with water.
  • Pour the solution into the spray bottle.
  • Spray it directly on the sugar ants to kill them. It can also be sprayed in the areas near the ant trail or in ant holes.


Be aware that destroying the entire colony or nest is important if you are using white vinegar or the ants may come back. Being a non-toxic solution other precautions are not necessary.

6. Boiling Water

This is the simplest method to kill those sugar ants. Pouring boiling water on sugar ants can kill hundreds of them at one time.

This can also destroy the nest itself, thus making our job easier. This method has the advantage of being cost-free too.

Required Material:

  • Water
  • Container to hold the water.

Step by Step Process:

  • Boil the water
  • Fill the container with it
  • Pour it on the ants or into the ant holes.


You will have to repeat this process several times in order to kill the entire colony. Do not use this method if the ants are indoors as this might cause damage to your floor.

7. Boric Acid

Boric acid is an effective sugar ant killer. Easily available, you can buy it from your local pharmacy.

Boric acid kills by destroying the digestive system, the nervous system and the exoskeleton of the ant. It’s a low-cost, highly effective method to kill sugar ants.

Required Material

Step by Step Process:

  • Take ½ to ¾ teaspoon of Boric acid.
  • Add it to the bait food.
  • Keep the mixture in the container, tin foil or wax paper and leave it in the areas where you have spotted the sugar ants.
  • Soak the cotton balls in the mixture and leave them near the ant colony or the ant trail.


Make sure that the containers are not airtight otherwise the ants will not be able to smell the bait.

Boric acid can be harmful to children and pets, so proper care should be taken while handling it. Wear gloves and keep the bait food away from the reach of pets.

8. Cornstarch

This is another kitchen ingredient that kills sugar ants. If you don’t have it, you can easily get it from your local Walmart. When cornstarch gets wet it hardens like cement.

This is the method that you can use here. Low on cost, easily available and highly effective makes this a great natural remedy to get rid of those ants.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Take a cup of cornstarch.
  • Sprinkle it on the ant trail.
  • Wait for a few hours for the ants to carry the cornstarch back to the colony.
  • Sprinkle water on the ants to wet the cornstarch on their bodies. This will harden the cornstarch on their bodies and kill them.


Do not wet the ants too much as it might wash off the cornstarch on their bodies. Use precautions while using cornstarch. Avoid inhaling it as it can cause respiratory problems. Wear a mask if possible.

9. Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate or simply baking soda is a good non-toxic way to kill sugar ants. It works by reacting with their digestive acids and creating carbon-dioxide which makes the ants explode and die.

Baking soda is easily available in stores and is not toxic to humans. This makes it an effective natural way to kill the ants.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Fill half the container with baking soda.
  • Fill the rest of the container with powdered sugar.
  • Mix it well.
  • Place the container where you saw the ants. You may also keep it near the ant trail.
  • Let the sugar ants carry the food back to the colony.
  • Wait for a few hours to see the result.


Baking soda being generally non-toxic you don’t need to take much precautions while using it.

10. Powdered bay leaves

Bay leaves are easy to obtain from the market and can be used to get rid of sugar ants. Ants hate the smell of bay leaves which act as a repellant to the ants.

If sprinkled on the nests the ants will quickly leave the place and flee. Bay leaves are also not expensive making this method an excellent way to naturally get rid of the ants.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Crush the bay leaves into powder.
  • Sprinkle it over the sugar ants. You may also sprinkle some on the ant trail and on their nests.
  • Wait for a while to see the result.


Bay leaves are completely safe and no precautions are needed.

11. Salt

That’s right. Just plain salt aka Sodium Chloride happens to be a killer of sugar ants.

So how does it work? Salt when left around absorbs the moisture in the air. This is the principle behind using this method.

Salt dries up the ants by absorbing the moisture from their bodies and drying them up, thus killing them. Salt is easily available at low cost making this an effective method of naturally getting rid of the sugar ants.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Sprinkle salt on the sugar ants.
  • Wait for a while to see the result.


You may try sprinkling salt on the ant trails and in holes but it might not be as effective as directly pouring on the ants.

9 Natural Ways to Prevent Sugar Ants

We have looked at some of the best natural methods of getting rid of sugar ants. Now let’s discuss some of the natural ways of preventing them from visiting your home.

1. Lemons

Sugar ants hate anything citrus. They hate the smell because it removes the pheromones secreted by them that help the ants to communicate. 

Keep lemon peels in ant infested areas or near their entry spots. The strong citrus smell keeps them away. You may also clean the floors with water mixed with some lemon juice.

Bonus: Your house smells fresh and clean now.

2. Oranges

The same can be said for oranges. Being a citrus fruit, the scent repels the sugar ants and prevent them from coming in. 

Take a cup of warm water and add some orange peels to it. Place this mixture around the areas where the ants usually enter.

Alternatively, you can place a few orange peels at the entry spots which works the same way. 

So, remember, citrus fruits = no sugar ants.

3. Pepper

We often carry pepper spray to deter human attackers, but do you know it also acts as a deterrent to those pesky little sugar ants.

If you don’t have pepper spray, just get some peppers instead. Cayenne pepper and black pepper are especially good in deterring ants.

Sprinkle pepper near the entry areas of the ants. If you have pepper spray just spray it in the same areas.

You can also make a solution of pepper powder and use it. Those little critters won’t be coming back any time soon.

4. Chalk

Chalk is used in schools for writing on blackboards. For sugar ants chalk is a definite no-no. Calcium carbonate present in the chalk is what deters them. 

So how do we apply this knowledge to prevent the ants from invading our house?

Take a stick of chalk and draw a line at the entry points.  Ants don’t like to cross chalk lines and will remain at bay.

Instead of chalk lines you may also sprinkle powdered chalk in the same areas. Result is the same.

So next time you see that sugar ant army, don’t panic. Remember, you have a strategic chalk line of defense against them.

5. Bay Leaves

Placing bay leaves can deter sugar ants. Ants do not like their smell and hence avoid coming into contact with them. 

This is because bay leaves mask out the pheromone smell left by the ants. Without the pheromones to guide them, the ants will lose their way to the food source.

So, get those bay leaves and place a few in the kitchen or pantry areas. You will see the decrease in number of ants.

6. Cucumber

That delicious, greenish watery vegetable that you find in your kitchen is actually a good repellent to sugar ants.

The smell of the cucumber masks out pheromones secreted by the ants destroying their sense of direction.

So, keep a few peels of cucumber around the areas where the ants enter and watch their numbers will keep decreasing.

You may also wipe areas where the ants are normally seen, with the inside of cucumber skin deterring them from visiting those areas.

7. Essential Oils

Essential oils like cinnamon, peppermint and tea tree are excellent at preventing sugar ants from entering your living area. 

  • Add 20-25 drops of essential oil in a cup of water.
  • Keep it in a bottle and spray around the ant-infested areas or entry points. You may also soak cotton balls with it and place them around the same areas. The sugar ants will refuse to enter. 


  • This also deters mosquitoes.
  • Your house will smell wonderful.

8. Removing Food Source

Sugar ants are attracted to the sweet crumbs lying around. They can also smell the sweet goodies inside containers.

So how do we prevent them from accessing them?

The best way to prevent them is to remove their source of food. So, do we ban all food in the house and eat in restaurants? No. Here are a few ways of removing the sugar ants’ food source.

  • Seal food containers tightly. The slightest whiff of that stuff will bring the armies marching in.
  • Remove food crumbs from the house. Food crumbs lying about also help in bacteria formation in addition to attracting the ants.
  • Clean pet food bowls regularly. Pet food also brings in ants and cleaning the bowls helps to prevent ant invasion.

9. Removing habitat source

In addition to removing food sources, you have to make sure the sugar ants don’t have a habitable place near your house.

This can be done by removing damp areas which are ideal for the ants to build their nest. You should also seal cracks in the walls and flooring where the ants might build nests.

Natural Repellants for Sugar Ants available Online

If you are looking for readily available repellents, Here are 5 best Natural/Organic Repellents to get rid of Sugar ants available online.

Final Words:

Sanitization is a key feature in the health of any home and this is where bugs and pests have a big role to play. Sugar ants have been known to carry the bacterial infection Staphylococcus, Salmonella and E. coli which can be contracted by humans.

Hence an infestation of sugar ants might prove to be a disaster for your home. Using natural methods certainly helps to eliminate and prevent them.