Ever wondered what ants eat in order to survive? This article will thoroughly discuss their diet so that you can gain a better understanding of what they eat to nourish themselves.
Ants are considered omnivorous which means that they will eat just about anything, from plants to meat. In the wild, they can feed on the sap of aphids, on the nectar of flowers, and the decaying bodies of different species.
There’s no fixed list of foods that ants can eat because there are over 12,000 discovered species and each of them has its preferences.
What Are The Different Species Of Ants?
As aforementioned, there are over 12,000 different species of ants and each one of them has its preferred foods. Here is a list of the most common house ants and their diet.
- Carpenter ants – This got its name because it is known to eat through wood. That is a wide misconception because they are unable to digest cellulose. They only eat through the wood to nest inside of it. Carpenter ants prefer eating sweets foods as well as the bodies of dead insects.
- Thief ants – Also known as grease ants, this type prefers oil, fats, and meat.
- Fire ants – These ants got their name from the burning and stinging sensation that they leave behind when they bite into human skin. They don’t exactly bite humans to eat their skin. It’s mostly for self-defense to ward off predators and to protect themselves. These ants eat fat, oil, and meat.
- Sugar ants – These are very large ants that are attracted to sugary foods. These are officially classified as omnivorous so they can eat anything around them.
- Pavement ants – Pavement ants got their name because they are typically seen on the pavement. These ants eat just about anything, from dried chewing gum to dead leaves.
How To Use This Knowledge For Baiting
Ants are considered to be pests in so many households. They plague your pantry and eat through your food’s packaging. Some of them are biters so you can also feel discomforts when you make contact with them.
It’s handy to know what their preferred diet is so that you can use the food as bait. Their food preferences depend on their species so it’s important to identify the ants in your house first. For example, pavement ants and little black ants are attracted to greasy or oily food. Argentine ants and carpenter ants are attracted to sugary foods.
The most common bait is peanut butter because it’s the perfect mix of sweetness and greasiness. Lay some peanut butter in a specific area to attract the ants. You may dose them with boric acid to effectively eliminate them.
What About The Queen’s Diet?
Colonies of ants have a queen ant that gives birth to batches of ants. When a queen settles with a new colony, she feeds her first batch of larvae her own extra eggs in order to give them extra nourishment to let them survive. The queen may also eat her own eggs and other male ants during stressful situations. It’s very common for queen ants to resort to cannibalism just to survive.
Since the queen cannot go out and get food, she is fed by the worker ants that store extra food in one of their two stomachs. Whenever you see an ant eating, just know that some of the food goes to one of its stomachs to feed itself while the rest that is packed in the storage pouch is shared with the community.
Ants are very interesting organisms due to their organization, unity, and survival skills. However, they can quickly become household problems if left unkempt. The best way to avoid ants is to ensure that all of your foods are safely packed away. Avoid leaving crumbs that may attract them. If you wish to deliberately attract them in one location so that you can get rid of them, you can do so by identifyintg the type and then setting your trap according to their diets.