Sugar Ant

  • Scientific Name: Camponotus spp.

Sugar Ant

Scientific Name:

Camponotus spp.

How to identify sugar ants

There are many different kinds of sugar ants, each a slightly different shape and size. They are normally very tiny, between 2.5 to 18mm long. They have large black heads, a small waist and a rusty, orange-brown middle.  The Sugar Ant's name comes from a liking for sugar, but they are attracted to any sweet food.

Where are sugar ants commonly found?

Sugar ants are some of the most common types of ants in Australia. They are common across Australia. You can spot these ants in your kitchen, under rocks and logs, within open forests and woodlands. 

The Household Sugar Ant, Camponotus humilior (length 5-8 mm) commonly nests inside houses in wall cavities or ceiling spaces in south-east Queensland. The workers are nocturnal and are often found wandering inside houses at night. Outdoors this species nests in rotten wood on the ground or in cavities or dead branches in trees.

Why are sugar ants considered a pest?

Ants are considered a pest when they infest buildings and surrounds, and feed on human foodstuffs.

What is the biology and lifecycle of sugar ants?

The life cycle of an ant consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Eggs are small and ovoid in shape. Fertilised eggs become females (usually sterile workers), but at certain times also fertile females (which can potentially become queens). Unfertilised eggs become males.The larva is a white grub with a narrow head. Adult workers feed the larvae and after sufficient feeding and several moults, the larva pupates. The pupa is similar in shape to the adult but is usually soft, white and inactive. In some species the pupa is protected by a silk cocoon. Once the adult emerges, its cuticle hardens and darkens. The development from egg to adult may take from six weeks to very long periods, depending on the species, season and food availability.

Management Tips for Sugar Ant

Effective control depends upon a number of factors:
  1. The particular species involved,
  2. The location of the nest site(s) and,
  3. The degree of concern they are causing the occupants.

It may be easy to control a colony with a single queen (Camponotus spp), or difficult in the case of species with multiple queens and multiple “homes” and which do not display aggression to workers from other nests (Argentine ants, Odorous house ants and Pharaoh’s ants). That is why correct identification is essential before you begin your campaign.

Ant granules were perfect for the control of some ant species to exterior areas. Most insecticide manufacturers suggest that a two-pronged approach with both baits and liquid sprays be used in order to obtain best results. These manufacturers all supply bulletins with complete instructions on how to use their products. The product labels and these bulletins should all be studied before using any of the materials.

The basic rules for the use of baits are:
  • The basic premise is that bait should hopefully be consumed within 1 to 2 days when their palatability and moisture content are highest. The ants should die within 3 to 4 days.
  • Correct identification – by knowing the species, you can choose the right bait for the job and can also help you find their feeding, trailing and nesting sites.
  • Find the trails – you must place the bait where the ants are otherwise you are wasting time and bait. If the ants aren’t active at the time, you can pre-bait first with non-toxic foodstuffs. This will help you determine where the ants are feeding and what type of food they prefer.
  • Choose the correct bait formulation, they may prefer sweet foods or protein based materials. Sometimes the same species will change food preferences depending upon seasons or other conditions. Therefore, you need to have a range of baits in your kit bag. If you just put a small blob of each bait in the ant trails, you will very soon find which they prefer.
Some key rules to observe are:
  • Place the bait as close as possible to ant trails which are usually near feeding or nesting sites.
  • Place adequate amounts of bait out to ensure that they will continue to feed until your next visit. By placing the bait in purpose designed “ant cafes,” you will extend the life of the bait.
  • Avoid food competition by asking the client to remove available foodstuffs and liquids.
  • Avoid placing gel baits near sources of heat as the gel matrix may become liquefied and moisture loss may increase. Also, avoid placing them on dry or porous surfaces which may increase water loss and make them less palatable to ants.
  • Some baits lose their potency after only a few days exposure to sunlight. Make sure that you know which they are and replace them as required.
  • Some granulated baits lose their potency around three months after the container has been opened. Make sure that you write on the container the date on which it was opened.
  • A common piece of advice is that you mustn’t place baits on surfaces that have or will be treated with liquid or powder insecticides. Studies carried out by some researchers have indicated that this is not the case and the baits are still palatable. Some pest managers have stated, “Why waste money by applying two formulations?” and that is probably a good rule to live by. You may be able to control the ant problem without the use of insecticidal sprays and dusts but, all manufacturers recommend that bait applications are supplemented by the use of such formulations when treating free standing buildings. These insecticidal barriers will serve to prevent future ant activity to the interior.
The basic rules for the use of residual insecticide sprays are:
  •  Non-repellent formulations are considered superior to repellent formulations e.g. synthetic pyrethroids, as the ants will track through the non-repellent insecticide unknowingly. Examples of non-repellent actives and formulations are Bendiocarb (Ficam), Fipronil (Termidor), Indoxacarb (Arilon), Chlorfenapyr (Phantom).
  • The sprays should be applied as a barrier to the base of foundation walls, fence lines and garden beds.
  • Re-application of the sprays may be necessary after rain.
  • Insecticidal dusts should be applied to roof voids where practical.


Each pest control product is registered for use in specific environments, situations, pest life stages and other key factors. Please always consult the product label for detailed information about how to use each product.

Antmaster Liquid Bait
0.05g/L Imidacloprid

Antmaster is a ready to use, sugar-based liquid bait for the control of certain ants. Contains a sweet food source in a low dose bait that is effective against most common pest ants in indoor and outdoor situations.

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Suspend Flexx Insecticide
25g/L Deltamethrin

Suspend Flexx Insecticide is a synthetic pyrethroid (3A) formulation for the knockdown and residual control of a range of insect pests in various indoor and outdoor situations.

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Brigade Granular Insecticide
2g/kg Bifenthrin

Brigade Granular Insecticide is formulated for the control of certain pests in turf and for control of ants, fleas and ticks in external surrounds of buildings and structures. Permit held for application in potting media for use in container grown ornamentals to control Red Imported Fire Ants for various intervals.

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PCO Deltamethrin 10SC
10g/L Deltamethrin

PCO Deltamethrin 10SC is formulated for the control of a range of insect pests, Cockroaches, Web-spinning Spiders, Non web-spinning Spiders, Ant, Fleas, Silverfish, Bed Bugs, Bird Mite, Carpet Beetle, Clothes Moth, Mosquitoes, House Flies, Stored Product Pests in various situations.

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PCO Deltamethrin Tetramethrin 10SC 5L
10g/L Deltamethrin, 10g/L Tetramethrin, 80g/L Piperonyl Butoxide

PCO Deltamethrin Tetramethrin is formulated for the control of a range of insect pests including: Ants, Cockroaches, Fleas, Silverfish, Spiders, Bird Mites, Carpet Beetles, Clothes Moths, Bed Bugs House Flies and Mosquitoes in various situations.

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PCO Fipronil 100SC Termiticide and Insecticide
100g/L Fipronil

PCO Fiponil 100SC is a cost effective non-repellent termiticide and insecticide for the control of Termites and nuisance ants. Formulated in Australia to a high standard.

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Advion Ant Gel
0.5g/kg Indoxacarb

Advion Ant Gel targets most pest species of ants, including all key sweet feeders plus additional ant species. This is a highly attractive ant gel that locks in moisture for extended appeal to ants and uses active ingredient Indoxacarb.

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Optigard Ant Bait Gel
0.1g/kg Thiamethoxam

Optigard Ant Bait Gel is designed for the indoor and outdoor control of sugar feeding ants around buildings

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Attractant PRO Ant Gel 50g
0.5g/kg Indoxacarb

Attractant PRO Ant Gel is formulated for the control of major pest ants including Argentine ant, Black house ant, Coastal brown ant, Ghost ant, Hairy ant/Crazy ant, Pedicel ant, Pennant ant, Pharaoh’s ant, Red imported fire ant, Sugar ant.

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Delta Pro 25SC Professional Insecticide
25g/L Deltamethrin

For the control of a range of insect pests such as spiders, cockroaches, flies, ants, mosquitoes in various situations.

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Quench Pro Liquid Ant Bait
0.05g/kg Imidacloprid

QuenchPRO is a ready-to-use liquid ant bait in a low dose that is effective against many common pest ants in indoors and outdoors situations. It contains a sweet based bait matrix that foraging ants are attracted to.

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Biforce Granular Insecticide
2g/kg Bifenthrin

A ready to use contact residual granular insecticide for external control of ants, fleas and ticks in areas such as gardens, lawns, around BBQs and other external surrounds of buildings and structures.

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Synergy Pro Ant Bait 500gm

Synergy Pro Ant Bait 500gm is registered for the control of a range of ants in domestic, commercial and agricultural situations.

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