What Do Ants Eat in Your House?

Ants are some of the most annoying pests you can have in your house – especially in your kitchen! They are so industrious and resilient and that makes them very hard to completely get rid of. To effectively rid your home of ants, it’s important to understand them – including their diet. So, what do ants eat in your house?

Different ants eat different foods

Ants are foragers and scavengers. They will travel long distances to search for food and will eat practically anything. It’s likely that you have seen random ants in your house carrying different kinds of resources, such as dead insects, leaves, seeds, and whatever else tickles their fancy.

With that said, different ants do prefer different kinds of food. There are a lot of factors that may affect preference, such as the location and the time of year. For instance, some ants can go with whatever food they can find in their vicinity, and some can prefer a high protein diet during the spring to help boost their numbers.

But this isn’t a science class. There is no need to identify the favorite foods of every specific ant species. Here are the general food types common ants eat in your house.

Different ants have different food preferences.

What ants commonly eat in your house

1. Sweets

It’s probably not a surprise to you that ants generally love sweets. This is why you always find them in your house carrying small pieces of sugar from the countertops, tables, and floors. Ants love to eat the sweets in your house because they love them in the wild too.

Some of the most common ants you can find in houses, such as Argentine ants, carpenter ants, crazy ants, and odorous ants, like to feed on honeydew. This is a sugar-rich substance produced by aphids after consuming plant juices. Some ants also like other sugar sources, like fruits and nectar.

These ants can get their dose of sugar from the sweet and sugary foods around your home.

2. Proteins and fats

Whenever you see ants, you notice that there are almost always by the tens or even hundreds. Entire colonies can even house thousands. These pests need proteins and fats to maintain their numbers. The ingredients play important roles in the development and growth of new ants.

So, don’t be surprised if the ants in your house are attracted to foods with proteins and fats, such as eggs, meat products, and even grease. This is why it’s so important to clean up after eating. All those crumbs from your meal may be high in proteins and fats, and they will surely attract the ants bothering your property.

It’s even worse if these protein and fat sources are full of sugar, like peanut butter. These foods are basically superfoods that provide incredible value for ants.

3. Insects

Some of the ant species that highly prefer proteins are Argentine ants and fire ants. Argentine ants can be predators in the wild and have a diet that is almost exclusively protein-based. Fire ants are some of the nastiest stingers out there, making them dangerous pests.

Unfortunately for insects, they are rich in both proteins and fats, making them ideal targets. This is the reason why you often see the ants on your property carrying or eating dead insects. Fire ants are particularly notorious for hunting down insects. They will swarm their targets and bring them down. Their strategy is so effective that they can even bring down insects that are bigger than them.

However, most ants don’t actively hunt insects, especially those that are significantly bigger than them. They just wait around until the insects die, ready to be taken back into the colonies.

4. Fungi

Some ants feed on fungi too. You may be thinking that this shouldn’t concern you because you don’t have fungi around your property. But you can’t be so sure. Fungi can thrive in a lot of places, especially those that are rich in moisture. Your garden, lawn, and yard are such places.

One of the most common fungi eaters is the leafcutter ant. There is actually a misconception about this species. Many think that these ants eat leaves, as they see them take leaves back into their colonies. But leafcutter ants don’t actually eat leaves.

Leafcutter ants use the leaves to grow fungus, and this is what they feed on.

5. Moisture

Ants need water to survive, just like everybody else. Sure, ants can get their water from natural sources around your home, like plants and flowers. But man-made structures can be good sources of water for these pests too. Many homeowners seem to forget this and often disregard man-made water sources that may help ants thrive on their property.

For instance, ants thrive particularly well in bathrooms because of the moisture alone. Remember that ants are small animals. Even small droplets of water will be able to sustain them. This is why it’s very important to keep your home clean and dry, especially the areas that are often subject to running water, like bathrooms and kitchens.

Also, make sure you don’t have any plumbing issues that may be providing water to ants without you even knowing.

Ants in your house can eat proteins, fats, sweets, and even insects.

How ants find food to eat in your house

Ants are very industrious and resourceful. If there is a colony nearby, you are sure to find them in the vicinity looking for anything to eat. Ants are great at finding food because they have receptors that can detect proteins, fats, and sugars.

Once they find the sources of these ingredients, they bring them back to the colony, leaving a trail of pheromones behind. These pheromones help them, and other worker ants, go back to the sources.

Many homeowners actually use this to their advantage. For instance, some use essential oils to disrupt the scent of the pheromones and make it harder for ants to look for resources.

Ants are foragers

Ants are resilient animals, making them pests that are hard to deal with, especially if you don’t know what attracts them in your house. Different ants do have different preferences, but generally speaking, the ants in your house like proteins, fats, sweets, and moisture.

If you can find a way to stop ants from getting these on your property, your ant problem is halfway solved.

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