Sugar Ants’ Habitat

Also known as the banded sugar ant, sugar ants prefer to live and forage for food in suburban areas. In the wild, sugar ants typically dwell in woodlands, forests and heaths. Sugar ant colonies can be found in soil, between rocks, in holes in wood and around the twigs of trees or shrubs. When sugar ants build their nests in soil, they can be recognized by large dirt hills surrounding the colonies’ entrances. They can be found foraging under house lights and in streets during warm summer months and prefer warm and humid climates.

Habitat affects the size of sugar ants because different locations provide different sources of food. Ranging from 2 to 15 mm in size, sugar ants feed on nectar, secretions of various plants, sugary foods, insects, small animals and plant-eating invertebrates such as the caterpillar. Sugar ants prefer honeydew from aphids and protect aphids from other predators to ensure the safety of their food source.

The eggs that queen sugar ants produce in late spring or early autumn can hatch into new queens or males. Winged male sugar ants with royal blood are completely black, while female workers have orange-colored bodies. During autumn season, thousands of alates mate in the air, while sugar ant workers keep guard on the ground.

When they locate a reliable source of food inside a home, sugar ants can become a nuisance. If you suspect a sugar ant infestation of your home, check your kitchen, pantry and food containers. Sugar ants are attracted to spills, stains and other food traces, as well. Workers are seen at dusk moving along marked trails in search of food, and they return to their nests at dawn. It can be difficult to locate a sugar ant nest, due to their nocturnal behaviors.