What Do Ants Eat – Diets of Ants
A large proportion of individuals who have come to accept ants as household pests are of the notion that ants are drawn to sweetened, sugary foods, and will become alarmed when these omnivorous insects are seen in just about any food in their homes.
We cannot argue that oftentimes we wonder what they really eat and why they eat what they eat. These questions bring us to the reason for this article as we discuss their diet inclinations.
What Do Ants Like To Eat?
Ants eat about anything. They are social insects with a highly organized life. They feed on plants and animals and they can be considered household pests.
If ants invade your home, they attack anything edible they can lay their hands on. It is one of the many qualities they possess which facilitates their survival in a range of habitats.
Ant’s diets comprise protein and carbohydrates. Some common foods eaten by them include; plants, seeds, grains, nectar, fruits, insects, milk of aphids, and honeydew secretion.
Usually, ants live together as colonies. Each colony has a queen that controls it. While she spends her life laying eggs for the continuation of their life cycle, others go about foraging for food. Foraging implies going out of their nest in search of sustenance. They are pretty much organized and calculated and it shows off during their search for food.
When an ant finds a food source, it leaves a trail of pheromones; an odorous chemical substance behind that serves as a GPS.
This is done to give information to others of the same colony to locate the source and carry their meal back to the nest. The ant can also communicate this information by brushing its antenna together with others from its clan.
READ MORE: How to Get Rid of Ants in Carpets.
Different Kinds of Ants and what they eat.
There exist a variety of ants all over the world. Any species in an environment is determined by the habitat and region. That is to say, these creatures, found in different parts of the world may differ.
Your ability to identify any ant that invades your home is determined by these factors which of course comprises the appearance of these insects and what they munch.
What do Fire Ants eat?
Fire ants of the genus Solenopsis have two nodes and can vary in color. Most of them are however light reddish-brown. They feed on worms, ticks, spiders, honey seeds, insects, and other sweetened foods.
These classes of ants form their nest in a range of open-air habitats like gardens, lawns while during cold months, can be found inside the home, in hidden areas like; under the bathtub or water heater.
One major fact about fire ants is that they are known for their painful, burning bite. They grip their prey and inject venom from the stingers located between their jaws.
What do Carpenter Ants eat?
Usually, a carpenter ant builds its nest outside, in trees but when indoors, these nests are built on roofs and woodwork.
Carpenter ants of the genus Camponotus like others exist in varying species across the globe. They rank high as structural pests because of their largeness in size. Contrary to what many would think, they do not actually eat wood, they instead destroy them. Carpenter ants would excavate the wood to create nests for themselves. They munch things like insects and honeydew secretion. In shelters, they often consume jelly, sugar, and meals for pets.
People who live in wood houses are more likely to be victims of carpenter ant damage. Some species of this pest are aggressive and can sting when bothered.
What do Weaver Ants eat?
Weaver ants of the genus Oecophylla can also be called green tree ants. The weaver or green tree ants are famous also for their amazing relationship with blue butterflies. When these blue butterflies are due to lay eggs, they search for any weaver ant nest to lay their eggs near it.
What’s more mindblowing is the fact that these ants do not eat the larvae when the eggs are hatched. They on the contrary, carefully carry them into their ant nest for protection from predators until they are completely grown, before letting them go. These larvae in turn, during this process, secrete a honeydew substance that the ants eat.
These insects of the Formicidae family make their nests in trees between leaves. Also, their unique nest-making behavior makes them stand out. The workers of this species build nests by weaving leaves together by means of larval silk.
In their feeding habit, like other ants, they prey on small insects to enhance their nutrients with carbohydrate-rich milk, excreted by insects like Hemiptera. Weaver ants are found in the northern district of Australia, can be eaten by humans, and are used as a protein and a nourishing source.
What do Queen Ants eat?
A queen ant head a colony. They are the most important members of a colony because they ensure the survival of their species.
Queen ants do not go out to forage like the major and minor workers. They live in their nests and feed on whatever their colony eats. Some ant species have workers who are responsible for feeding the queen and also removing her waste as her only responsibility is laying eggs for the survival of their species.
READ MORE: HOW TO GET RID OF ANT HILLS FROM YOUR HOUSE
What do Meat Ants eat?
Meat ants of the genus Purpureus are types of ants that usually feed on honeydew from sap-sucking insects, flower nectar, sugar, and other sweet substances. It forages on trees for food such as honeydew and nectar. It also captures insects or collects remains from animals. They are sometimes used by farmers to control other pests.
What do Harvester Ants eat?
Harvester ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex are known for their largeness. Their diet is deeply hinged on collecting seeds and dead insects to store them in their nests as food for their colony. This variety is known for taking long journeys. It travels 31 miles away from its nests in search of what to eat. One of its varieties is the red harvester ant.
A harvester ant most often is reluctant to attack intruders but when it does, gives a throbbing stinging feeling. The effect of its bite can spread along with lymph layers and can be medically serious. It however does not enter homes or invade structures which means it does not exactly become a nuisance to people.
What do Flying Ants eat?
This type of ant could easily be confused with other insects such as termites which possess four equal wings, straight bodies, and straight antennae. Before concluding that the flying insect you see is a flying ant, check properly. It could just be a termite.
Flying ants, often referred to as alates are known for their capacity to fly. These ants consume plant-based substances as well as animal protein like other ants. What differentiates them, is their feathered nature. Commonly, productive males and females of these ants often fly out to set up new colonies. This variety can be identified by their defined abdomen, bent antennae, and unequal wings. The front wings of this ant are longer than the back wings.
They are capable of entering houses through open doors or windows. Depending on the species, they could be harmful and could pose a threat to your property.
What do Yellow Crazy Ants eat?
Yellow crazy ants of genus Anoplolepis are known for creating super colonies; large interconnecting nests containing multiple queens. The name “crazy” is derived from the shaky, frenzied attitude they exhibit when troubled.
This species can efficiently outnumber if not displace other types and in the process, take over their food and nesting resources.
A yellow crazy ant does not have a stinger. It has an acidopore- a small opening at the tip of the abdomen that sprays formic acid. This acid is used as a defense or attack mechanism. When inflicted on a person, it can cause irritation. It is listed as one of the top 100 most evasive species by the IUCN and Global Invasive Species Database.
Yellow crazy ants nest and forage like classic generalist invaders. This lets them achieve high densities in a diversity of territories. They live in woody remains, stony substrates, tree heads, leaf litter, straw, strong walls, pot plants, carports, pool filters, and some electrical gadgets such as air conditioners and televisions. Things they eat, ranging from seeds and seed produce to invertebrates like worms, aphids, spiders, and smaller vertebrates like frogs, lizards, and birds when they attack in unison. See yellow crazy ant’s mutualism with aphid insects.
What do Red Ants eat?
Red ants and like fire ants have similar consumption lifestyles and patterns. When met with dead mammals covered with worms, they consume both, as it provides them with extra protein.
They are however well-known for their venomous sting. Their stinger is located on the end of their abdomen used to inject a paralyzing venom into their prey.
READ MORE: How Long Do Ants Live?
Knowing how and what ants eat can help us prevent, get rid of these pests in our homes. It also helps us identify and differentiate between these insects and termites.