One thing I’ve always found very interesting about my job as a pest control professional, or Bug Man if you will, is the terminology used by customers to describe different bugs. We get all sorts of colorful and interesting vocabulary when people try to describe a bug to us in the field. Large American and Smokey Brown Roaches are often times called “Tree Roaches”, “Water Bugs” and “Palmetto Bugs.” “Sugar Ants” is one of those we in the ant control business have come to understand.
When it comes to the topic of ants. the description is usually pretty universal, “Sugar Ants”. Most of the time when people see ants inside their home or business they will refer to them as Sugar Ants. It’s even more interesting to me given the fact that there is no species of ant in North America called the “Sugar Ant.” The term Sugar Ant is really kind of a catch all to describe numerous species of ants who feed on sweet sugary liquids. When you define a Sugar Ant that way there are a ton of different species who fit the bill.
Most people don’t realize it but most worker ants can’t eat solid food. If they find solid food in most cases they have to take it back to the colony and feed it to a larval form who then converts it into a liquid that they can consume. They do this all the time but they definitely prefer to feed on sugary liquids, syrups, and gels. This is why they tend to swarm all over items like soda and syrup when they find them. They can feed on these foods in the foraging areas (your kitchen or bathroom) and they don’t have to return to the colony in order to actually eat it.
So how do we get rid of them when they’re in your home? The answer most of the time is to replace the foods their attracted to with baits. These baits are formulated into gels and liquids that are easily consumed by worker ants. The gels are mixed with different active ingredients that kill the ants and the other members of the colony who share in this food. Sometimes the baits kill enough ants to make them realize that this just isn’t a good place to look for food and they move along to your neighbor’s house. The adaptive nature of ant colonies is truly impressive and in cases like these actually helpful for people and ants as well.
One more note on ants. If you have an ant infestation in your home. it’s important to save a few of the ants or take really good pictures or video as sometimes the ants will cease feeding activity only to return later. If you call out a pest control company like Hunter Pest Control. we will need to know what type of ant we’re dealing with in order to do an effective ant control method.