What Do Ants Eat



Exactly What Do Ants Eat?

Ants are intriguing insects, hard workers, ritualistic, and determined but because they are seen in so many areas looking for food, we wanted to answer the question of what do ants eat.  Most of these insects are not particular, as long as they have something to eat, although they do prefer foods on the sweet side.

The interesting aspect of the ant is that while tiny, they are great scavengers, being able to track down food for great distances.  Ants have different levels or positions of the family with the scouts being the food hunters.  They go out to look for food, find it, and then use special chemicals known as pheromones to create a path.  After finding the food, the scouts will fill their bellies full and then notify the rest of the colony, which then heads out and follows the trail created.

This is why it is common to see a long line of ants as they follow one another along the path, making their way to the food.  The trail is easy for the ants to find by using antennae raised high in the air.  Once food has been detected, the ants have to work quickly to reach it since other ant colonies can also pick up the pheromones.

Okay, so what do ants eat?  The answer is just about anything although just like humans, they have favorite meals.  You will find ants nibbling on certain types of plants and flowers, and some eat various types of dead or living insects and dead animals, depending on the type of ant.  As an example, the Fire Ant is notorious for using its stinger to disable live insects and then eat them.  However, ants usually look for anything sweet, especially fruit or sugary foods.  They also like proteins to include oils and nuts, as well as vegetables of all kinds.

Another type of ant has a unique diet of honeydew, but not the fruit.  The honeydew that ants eat is actual waste excretion from other insects, which is sweet.  For instance, treehoppers, aphids, leafhoppers, and other insects live on sap.  As a result, when they leave behind waste excrement, ants dine on it.  Because this is a treat for certain types of ants, they will actually work with the insects that make honeydew by providing protection for them.

Because of the name, some people believe that the carpenter ant dines only on wood, which is a misconception.  Just as most ants, this species also loves sugary or sweet foods although they also eat cellulose found in wood, which is something other ants would not consume.  As far as what do ants eat, a few species love fungus.  This is not a common food item but for some, they spend time gathering leaves, which are piled up and allowed to sit so fungus grows.

To keep ants from becoming a problem, it is important to keep food in a sealed container and use a natural insecticide for outdoor gardens.  Taking a few preventative measures, you can keep ants out of the home and garden, while allowing them to live further away.  After all, ants do play certain roles in life.  Now that you understand the answer to “what do ants eat”, you also know the right steps to take so you do not end up with an ant infestation.