Sugar ants are general scavengers and will eat almost anything that they can get their jaws onto. These ants get their name due to their attraction to sugar. These sneaky critters will roam your house at night and eat the sugary crumbs you left behind during the day.

Sugar ants eating sugar

Sugar Ants are native to Australia and have spread out across Australia and can be found almost anywhere in the country. They can be found in forests, rotten wooden logs, under rocks and in open soil. Some specialized species of Sugar ant will nest inside branches and twigs of trees. The tree nesting ants are Dimorphic, which mean they only have a small and large ant. The small ants will carry out most of the tasks of maintaining a colony and the large ants with there over-sized muscular heads will do the heavy lifting such as seed milling, defense and storing food. 

Do Sugar ants hurt when they bite? yes they can, especially if one of the larger ants with the over-sized muscular head that we spoke about before get a good chance to bite. The smaller ants don’t have the muscle in their jaws to do any damage. Like most ants, they can spray Formic Acid which can deliver a slight burning sensation but nonetheless the Sugar Ants is relatively harmless. 

Sugars Ants are general scavengers but are attracted to sweet substances. Sugar Ants will kidnap and look after aphids. Aphids secrete sweet substances which Sugar ants absolutely love – Its like catnip for ants. The Sugar ants will look after aphids like a farmer looks after their cattle. Feeding, bathing them and providing protection so they can continuously provide food for the ants. This is a mutual benefit as the aphids are looked after and are well guarded by the Ants. 

Common species of the Sugar Ant

The Household Sugar Ant, Camponotus humilior (length 5-8 mm) loves to nest inside homes of humans and are nocturnal foragers, meaning they only scavenge at night to chase those sweet sugary left overs that humans have left behind.  Identifiable by various levels of black and gold on their bodies. 

Household Sugar Ant, Camponotus humilior

The Banded Sugar Ant, Camponotus consobrinus (length 7-12 mm) Enjoys nesting in open forests, woodlands, grasslands and scavenges throughout the day. They are generally found in Urban South East Queensland and can be identified by their black heads and Gastors (bottoms) with a golden mid section. 

The Banded Sugar Ant - Camponotus consobrinus

The Banded Sugar Ant – Camponotus consobrinus


The Golden-tailed Sugar Ant, Camponotus aeneopilosus (length 5-9 mm), is generally in open forests and woodlands in eastern parts of mainland Australia. Preferably nesting in the soil under logs, rocks. Identifiable by a black body with golden spines on the Gastor (bottom).

Image result for camponotus aeneopilosus

Golden Tailed Sugar Ant – camponotus aeneopilosus