We’ve all left out some scraps overnight, or forgot to wash a spill, and then woke up to a line of ants scavenging the food we left out. Ants seem to have a voracious appetite for anything that they can find in our kitchens, but what types of foods are ants attracted to exactly?
The diet of the ant
There are many species of ants, and there are diet variations between these species. However, most ants will eat three food groups – carbohydrates (such as sugars), plants, and protein that they can get from other insects, other ants and meat. The drive to eat sugary foods is why you need to make sure that you clean up all spills in the home.
When it comes to plants, certain species are completely vegan. They are mostly interested in leaves, grains, seeds and other greenery. Some can even grow their own fungus. The leaf-cutter ant for example is a well-known gardener species, that will cut pieces of grass, flowers and leaves, and then use them as compost to grow fungus.
Other species, such as the fire ants, are omnivorous, and they will eat everything from sugary foods, to plants and meat. They will eat dead animals, spiders, ticks and even birds. In the kitchen, this means that they will be drawn to roasts, steaks, and hot dogs, as well as cake and breadcrumbs. Finally, you have some species such as the army ant, which have cannibalistic tendencies. These ants will invade competing nests and eat their eggs and their workers.
Other factors that may cause an infestation
Ants, like any living creatures, will need water to survive. If you have a leak in the home, or standing water, the building will be much more attractive to ants. Ants are also drawn to salt. It appears that salt fills some void in their diet.
Dealing with an ant infestation
In terms of prevention, if you can keep food out of the reach of ants, by consistently cleaning up spills and leftovers and sealing your food in plastic containers, you will remove a lot of the incentives that ants have for entering the home. There are some species however which will infest the home because they will have better shelter indoors. In these situations, your best option is to move onto control. If you have such an infestation, contact us today for a pest control appointment.