Ant infestations usually start for one main reason – food. But what type of food is attractive to ants exactly, and do different foods attract different species?
Ants have three main staples in their diet – protein, fats and sugars. Some ant species love protein, and their diet is protein-heavy. For example, army ants are very interested in protein, to the point where they not only invade termite colonies to eat the workers, they will also consume other ants, often engaging in inter-colony warfare. So ants can be drawn to any dried meat that is not stored properly in the home.
Fats are another important macronutrient for several ant species, and they can get these fats from oils, fat-heavy meats and vegetables, and dairy. For example, if you leave out a piece of cheese overnight, ants will happily consume it. Even some naturally made soaps may contain edible fats that will attract ants.
Sugars are probably the main draw for most ant species. Sugars, or carbs, are found in a lot of the foods in the home, from sweets and sodas to bread and french fries. This is why it’s so important to clean up soda spills as quickly as possible.
Using this information
You can use this information for two purposes – prevention and control. Keeping these foods sealed and out of the reach of pests can help you prevent infestation, and using these foods in your baits can help you get infestations under control. When used in conjunction with other methods, you can ensure that your home is safe from ant infestations for a long time. For example, you can use baits and insecticides as prevention methods, on top of keeping your food out of reach.