SIX LEGGED INVADERS: Sugar ants marching into East Texas homes

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – East Texans are seeing a sugar ant invasion inside their homes.

These tiny invaders come in through the smallest entrances, and once they are in they can be quite the challenge to get rid of.

“These sugar ants, or pharaoh ants, are very small, very tiny, like less than a 16th of an inch so they’re one of the smallest ants we have here in our area,” said Joe Pase, an entomologist. “Because of their small size they can find tiny crevasses to get in that we would probably never notice.”

Once they’re in, like Caesar, they divide and conquer.

According to Pase they are the most common indoor ant in Texas.

They typically congregate in places like kitchens and bathrooms for warmth and water.

“The thing that’s interesting about the sugar ants is there will be several queens in those colonies and they won’t swarm like you’d think a lot of ants will do, like fire ants will do,” said Pase. “They will, what we call ‘bud,’ they will divide. One of those queens will take some workers and some brood to another location and start a new colony.”

Because of this, they can spread quickly and normal methods won’t rid you of them.

“You can spray and you’ll kill a few ants, but that will cause them to divide, or bud, and so you have a reduction in ants for a little while but then they come back with a vengeance where you’ll have even more,” said Pase.

You’ll have to bait them with something they don’t know is poisoned.

“You need what they call a non-repellent,” said Lynn Hill, A-1 Pest Control & Termite. “I use a gel, it’s just jello with a chemical in it, and they’ll pick that up and take it back. It generally takes the queen out.”

Though invasive, these insects are harmless.

The sugar ant isn’t known for biting. If they do bite it will likely go unnoticed. Unlike the fire ant, sugar ants do not sting.

Sugar ants do not like lower temperatures and with cooler weather on the way one may think it will drive them away.

Not exactly.

“Cooler weather will slow them down, but that also will drive them inside where they can stay warm,” said Pase.

According to Pase Texas is home to at least 200 different species of ants.

Sugar ants will eat just about anything, but, like their name suggests, they have a sweet tooth.

With Halloween around the corner, make sure you pick up all your candy.

“Main thing is keep your counters clean, floors, no crumbs because the more they got to eat the harder it is to get rid of them,” said Hill.

Keep your place clean and the ants won’t be seen.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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