Sugar Ants

Facts, Identification, & Control

Latin Name

Camponotus consobrinus

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?
Sugar ant is a common name that many people use to describe any small ant that is attracted to sweets. However, the sugar ant is actually the species Camponotus consobrinus.

  • Size: Sugar ants range from 2 to 15 mm in size.
  • Color: Winged male sugar ants with royal blood are completely black, while female workers have orange-colored bodies.

How Did I Get Sugar Ants?

Plants that secrete nectar attract sugar ants outdoors and may bring the pests close enough to a home to discover a consistent food source. But sometimes sugar ants are not content to only live outside and the opportunity to find and consume sweets inside will result in an invasion and a bothersome situation for homeowners.

How Serious Are Sugar Ants?

Though not harmful, swarms of sugar ants are a nuisance when they locate a reliable food source inside a home. These pests can gnaw through paper, cardboard, or even thin plastic containers to feed on and pollute their contents. They may also attract other pests, such as spiders and centipedes, into homes.

Do Sugar Ants Bite?
The sugar ant is a rather mild-mannered ant that does not sting. When disturbed, the insect may defend itself by using its mouthparts to bite. These bites are not painful and do not produce any symptoms unless the person is highly allergic. If symptoms do occur, apply antibiotic creams to the bite site, carefully watch the person bitten, and call a medical professional if symptoms worsen.

Signs of Infestation

In houses, the pests infest fruit and sweets. If you suspect a sugar ant infestation, check your kitchen, pantry, and food containers. They 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. When they build their nests in soil, they can be recognized by large dirt hills surrounding the colonies’ entrances.

How Do I Get Rid of Sugar Ants?

Identification
Proper identification of the species is critical to correctly managing any infestation. Unfortunately people often believe that all “sugar ants” are one type of pest and that a single strategy works for them all. When ants invade a home, it is best to contact a pest control professional to properly identify the ant and develop an effective management strategy.

What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage sugar ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep sugar ants in their place…out of your home, or business.


Habitat & Diet

Where Do They Live?
Also known as the banded sugar ant, sugar ants prefer to live and forage for food in suburban areas. They like warm and humid climates.

In the wild, they typically dwell in forests, heaths, and woodlands found in or around:

  • Holes in wood
  • Rocks
  • Soil
  • The twigs of trees or shrubs

What Do They Eat?
Sugar ants prefer honeydew from aphids and protect aphids from other predators to ensure the safety of their food source. These insects also feed on:

  • Nectar
  • Plant-eating invertebrates such as caterpillars
  • Small animals
  • Sugary foods
  • Secretions of various plants

Reproduction

The eggs that queen sugar ants produce in late spring or early autumn can hatch into new queens or males. During autumn, thousands of alates mate in the air, while sugar ant workers keep guard on the ground.

More Information

The general public often uses the name “sugar ant” to describe many different species of ant. Any small to medium-sized ant which doesn’t sting is referred to by this name. Common examples these species are: