5 Star Rated

38 Reviews

Candor Pest Control Logo

We Offer Same-Day Service!

Do Sugar Ants Bite? Identifying and Preventing a Common House Pest

Table of Contents

Do Sugar Ants Bite

Many homeowners find themselves facing a familiar intruder when spring rolls around: the sugar ant. Despite their sweet name, these pests can become a real nuisance when they wander into our kitchens and pantries invading our sugary treats. A common question for many is “Do sugar ants bite?”.

In this article, we’re setting out to shed light on sugar ants, their behavior, and the implications that come with having them in your home. We’ll cover all of the bases from how to identify sugar ants to addressing concerns about their bites and potential harm to humans as well as how to keep them out. At Candor Pest Control, we’re Boise local pest management professionals, and with this article, you’ll gain valuable knowledge on keeping your home sugar ant free.

What Are Sugar Ants?

“Sugar ant” is the most common term for small ants attracted to the sweets and sugary foods in your home. This isn’t exactly a scientific term, but it mostly refers to odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) found here in the United States. These tiny intruders are drawn by the scent of sugar and any sweet substances, which commonly leads to in-home encounters as we humans also have a bit of a sweet tooth.

idaho odorous house ant control

Identifying Sugar Ants (Common Characteristics)


Sugar ants, or more accurately odorous house ants, are tiny insects. They’re typically dark brown to black in color and measure about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. The biggest identifying factor for them, though, is their love for sugary foods, which makes your kitchen or pantry the ideal spot for them to take over.


Odorous house ants are famous for the unpleasant, rotten coconut odor they release when you crush them. Also, they’re known for their fast movements and the trails that they form to and from your food sources.

Do Sugar Ants Bite Humans?

The straightforward answer is: sugar ants, particularly the ones we call odorous house ants, do posses the ability to bite. However, they usually don’t. Sugar ants are usually on a mission to forage food for their colony and don’t prefer to engage with humans.

Unlike some other famous ant species that are known to be aggressive and ruin your picnic with painful stings or bites, sugar ants are much more tame and afraid of you. On the rare occasion that a sugar ant does bite a human, it’s a response to feeling trapped or threatened. Most of the time, though, they just run away.

Are Sugar Ants Harmful?

While having sugar ants in your home isn’t pleasant, sugar ants actually pose little to no serious health risks. They aren’t known to transmit any diseases, but, of course, they can still contaminate your food sources if they make their way into your pantry or kitchen area. What about the biting?

Thankfully, a sugar ant bite is generally harmless. The mouthparts of a sugar ant aren’t strong enough to easily break human skin. Because of this, even if a sugar ant attempts to bite you, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience noticeable pain or discomfort.

Symptoms of Sugar Ant Bites

In the rare event of a sugar ant bite, the symptoms are very minimal.

Do sugar ant bites itch?

It’s possible you’ll experience a tiny, red mark and maybe some slight itching or skin irritation. However, reactions to sugar ant bites are usually much less severe than those caused by their more aggressive cousins in other ant species.

Preventing Sugar Ant Infestations & Treating Sugar Ant Bites

While these bites are incredibly rare, we feel it’s important to educate local homeowners on how to reduce the potential for sugar ants in the home and how to treat the unlikely bite to give peace of mind and comfort to homeowners both locally and globally. Here are some strategies to prevent a sugar ant infestation in your home and treat any bites if they should occur.

Sugar Ant Prevention Techniques

Maintain Cleanliness

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep your kitchen, pantry, and dining areas free of food crumbs and spills. Staying on top of this as well as regular sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping down your surfaces when spills occur will significantly reduce their attraction to your home. No sugar sitting out, no sugar ants.
  • Proper Food Storage: Store your food, especially any sweets or baked goods, in airtight containers to prevent sugar ants from raiding your pantry.

Seal Entry Points

Take a look around your home to find any cracks, holes, or gaps that ants might use to enter your home. This means to especially look at your outdoor facing walls and entrances for these signs like around your doors, windows, and utility lines. Any of these cracks, holes, or gaps should be caulked and sealed to prevent pests of any kind from entering your home.

Treating Sugar Ant Bites

Sugar ant bites generally leave you with a minimal reaction if any, however, here are a few tips for alleviating any discomfort you’re experiencing.

Immediate Care

  • Clean the Area: Wash the bite location with soap and water to prevent an infection.
  • Cold Compress: Apply a cold compress to reduce any potential swelling or itching.

Relieving the Itchiness and Discomfort

  1. Over-the-counter Creams: You can use antihistamine creams or hydrocortisone to soothe any itching
  2. Home Remedies: You can create a paste using 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water to relieve minor irritation, pain, itching, and redness.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It might be unlikely that your sugar ant bite is going to need a visit to the doctor, but you should still be aware and look for any signs of an allergic reaction or infection. If you’re experiencing excessive swelling, pain, or signs of infection, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.

Managing Sugar Ant Infestations in Boise

Now, returning to our primary area of expertise: pest control. If you’ve got sugar ants in your home, professional help is the most effective way to bid a long farewell to your tiny home invaders. If you’re handling a sugar ant infestation in Boise or anywhere in the greater Treasure Valley area, our team, at Candor Pest Control, offers custom-tailored ant control solutions to manage your sugar ant population.

Why Candor Pest Control is the Preferred Choice for Sugar Ant Control

We’re bringing to the table a deep understanding of sugar ant behavior along with our genuine care for customer satisfaction. We’re best known for maintaining our five-star reputation across all of our pest control services.

We prioritize your family’s safety as if it’s our own because we’re local. We’re your neighbors as well as a family-owned pest control company. Our ever-growing list of satisfied customers is a testament to our success in keeping Boise homes sugar ant free.

Call today to receive an excellent pest control experience from A to Z! We have some special offers for new customers, and guarantee that we’ll take care of any pest that’s bugging you.