How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants Without Spraying Chemicals

by | May 27, 2021 | Ant Control, Pest, Pollinators

Desperate to eliminate ants? But don’t want to spray chemicals?

Have you tried cinnamon, caulking, or store-bought ant “traps” to no avail?

Some get success with ant baits over-the-counter. Others find ants coming back every year no matter what. In this article, we’ll explain how to finally get rid of odorous house ants (often called sugar ants) without causing harm to your pets, family or pollinators.

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

Many are shocked to learn ants swarming a dropped crumb in the morning means you probably have ant colonies inside your walls. If you notice they disappear after you spray with lysol or vinegar and clean, they’re probably still in the walls.

Ants just smell and avoid stinky sprays. Vinegar, lysol, essential oils and even Raid have strong odors that repel ants.

Repellent products are simply not effective at controlling interior ant colonies. They will only kill the individual ants on contact, but repel the rest of the colony.

Click to Get Rid of Ants.   

To get rid of ants in your house, you’ll need to target the ant colony inside your walls. Using this knowledge of ant biology to help get rid of ants safely is a great example of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Let’s dive in on how to control sugar ants fast without spraying a drop:

How to Get Rid of Odorous House Ants in Walls

Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) can have many colonies inside your walls. The constant temperature and moisture of an insulated wall void create perfect habitat for odorous house ants.

Our goal is to get rid of the ants nesting INSIDE our walls, and somehow keep the main colony OUTSIDE from sending more workers back inside.

Will Lysol Kill Ants?

Yes. Lysol will kill ants —on contact— but it will never get rid of your odorous house ant ant colonies. For the reasons described above, the ant colonies can smell the poison and will stay away, popping up again a few days or weeks later, usually in a different spot inside.

How Do I Get Rid of Ants Without Harming Bees?

Pesticides can be dangerous. Careless or illegal pesticide sprays can be harmful for pollinators, beneficial insects & wildlife.

  • Never spray ant killer sprays, especially outside around flowers when bees are foraging.
  • Choose granules or liquid baits instead, which controls ants but doesn’t harm bees.
  • Support small, local organic farms to reduce the demand for large-volume industrial agricultural pesticide sprays. 

Spraying Ants

Residential ant exterminators put a tiny fraction of the pesticides outside that conventional farmers do. That said, common professional ant foundation sprays can be more hazardous to honeybees than chemicals that farmers use. They’re designed to work on ants & termites, which live in colonies like honeybees do.

If you cannot avoid having your home exterior sprayed for ants, it is paramount your ant exterminator avoids spraying near any flowers in order to protect honeybees and other pollinators.

The Best Treatment to Get Rid of Ants

The best treatment to get rid of sugar ants is to NEVER USE REPELLENTS indoors and take control of interior ant colonies with baits. That way you’re not having to call an ant control company later.

Safe Ant Control.   

Sugar Ant Killer Products

Fortunately, 21st century advances in sugar ant killer products allows Portland ant exterminators to sometimes get rid of sugar ants with tiny amounts of bait instead of high-volume sprays.

Using baits reduces overall ant chemicals sprayed and completely protects you, kids, pets and pollinators from pesticide exposure.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in Outlets

If sugar ants are in your outlets, and you see “eggs” or larvae, this is an interior odorous house ant colony. To get rid of sugar ants in your outlets, you’ll need to use a bait. No ant repellent sprays.

Professional grade baits can control sugar ants with one well-timed application of less than a gram of gel. Although you may need a natural or organic chemical — it is a minuscule amount.

The bait is applied into a crevice behind your baseboard, or into the kitchen sink plumbing void. So kids, pets, honeybees and pollinators will never be exposed. But the ants will happily bring it back to their larvae nested in your wall voids. Then they’ll “baby-bird” it back to the adults, and effectively control the interior colony.

Sugar Ants in Winter

If you’re seeing ants inside and its below 55F out, they’re definitely nesting inside somewhere. Ants don’t move much when it’s cold out.

Group of ants swarming orange marmalade

How to Eliminate Sugar Ants

  • Wait until warmer temperatures or when ants are most actively foraging to try using a bait product like Intice Gelanimo ant bait or a borax & sugar solution.
  • When ants are trailing, place a small amount of honey out to increase workers activity, then replace the honey with ant bait.
  • Once you’ve got rid of sugar ants in the home, now you can try repellents outside along your foundation. Vinegar, peppermint sprays, cinnamon & diatomaceous earth are examples of good all-natural ant repellents.
  • If your ant issue persists, a careful & targeted perimeter treatment by a licensed professional, according to instructions on the label should pose minimal risk for pollinators & beneficial insects.

How to Kill Ants Without Pesticides

To kill ants without pesticides, you would have to follow the ant trail outside on a hot day, to find their main colony. Then you could kill it with boiling water. Other physical ant removal options—such as trapping ants— are of limited effectiveness, due to sugar ants having multiple satellite colonies.

If you have any success stories with manually removing an ant colony without pesticides, let us know and we will post your tip here!

Paul Stamets Ant Killer

Impressively, ant colonies are able to avoid and survive just about any natural, chemical-free treatment we can think of. But this could change in the future. Paul Stamets’ amazing discovery of mycopesticides (natural pesticides from fungi) for some ant and termite species have been shown successful in studies at removing certain pest insect colonies. However this technology is in its infancy and has a long way to go before it is available for Portland ant exterminators. And unfortunately, it currently doesn’t work on sugar ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants in the Vegetable Garden without Chemicals

If you’re like me, you have pesky ants stealing seeds and generally causing mischief in your garden beds. To get rid of ants in the vegetable garden without nasty chemicals, just make a strong peppermint, clove or cinnamon tea. Spray that anywhere you’d like the ants to disappear from. Reapply weekly. It’s safe for you, your garden critters and may even keep other pests and mildew away.

Portland Ant Control.   


Basically, removing sugar ants inside your home without a lot of chemicals is all about tracking down their colonies and baiting them effectively. It’s the best way to get rid of sugar ants without spraying any pesticides.

If you’d like your own Integrated Pest Management strategy for family, pet & pollinator safe Portland ant control, contact us today or click the button below…

Pest and Pollinator contact information phone 9712319945 email