What Do Ants Eat?

What do ants eat
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Food is essential for ants and they will go to great lengths to get it. Even if this means invading your home and settling there as permanent guests. Most of them are omnivores, which means that they are not pretentious when it comes to their source of nourishment. Sharing your diet will not be a problem if it benefits them. However, there are still exceptional ant species that can sustain themselves on one type of food alone.

But why is that important to know? Well, by gaining knowledge on ant’s dietary habits it will be easier to identify what attracts them to your home. Of course, this also means you will be able to take the necessary preventive measures to protect your house from infestation and recognise who you are dealing with by examining what the insects eat.

What exactly do ants like to eat and drink?

The majority of ants like to diversify their food sources. This helps them get all the necessary substances but also makes the hunt for nourishment a lot easier. What exactly does an ant menu consists of? Actually, quite a lot of things!

Sweets and sugar

Certain ant species are attracted particularly to sweets and sugary products, as a source of carbohydrates. What’s interesting, though, is that ants are more interested in sugar-rich liquids, rather than solid food or sugar itself, because it is easier to consume it.

Which products make a nice snack for the ants, you ask? That would be any kinds of candy, honey, juice, fruit, jam, popsicles and other sugar-filled things that comes to mind.

Fats and insects

Some ants are predators and prefer the meat diet. They can go after small or big insects, including flies, termites, moths and more. Whether they are alive or dead is not really an issue, as long as they get their nourishment.

This provides them with the necessary protein to survive. You may discover that some ants are quite attracted to greasy stains they find in houses, too.

Plants and seeds

Even ant species have their vegetarians. Plants can easily attract ants outside as well as inside, but the insects are just interested in the seeds and the leaves. The seeds make a nice food supply and they are carefully stored by the colony. The leaves, on the other hand, are sometimes cut into small pieces and carried away.


Ants need water as much as they need food to survive. Once they find it, they will make sure that other colony members come and take advantage of the water source, too.

Though, they won’t stop there and will also carry provisions to the nest. It’s not that difficult for ants to find water outdoors, however, they can also come inside your home, drawn to plants and areas with excessive moisture like the bathroom.

Ants eating habits

It’s no wonder that the most common area for ant infestations is the kitchen. It proves to be a promising place for the ants to feed, as there often are crumbs, sweets and grease-rich food to devour. Even if you see one little ant, don’t neglect its presence. This is probably an investigating worker, which will then leave a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. Pretty soon you will be seeing a whole bunch of hungry crawlers and it’s best to pest-proof your house against ants on time.

As for the specific dietary habits of the different ant species and what attracts them, you can learn below.

What do black ants eat

Black house ant
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Black ants prefer to eat honeydew and they have their own farm that supplies them with it. This is a sugary liquid that is mainly produced by aphids after they feed with plants.

The black ants take good care of their aphids farm by constantly protecting it, while the farm’s members produce the sweet honeydew that sustains the ant colony.

Aphids need plants to feed on and they usually find them in gardens but indoor plants can also make a nice snack.

In any case, you don’t want them there because they destroy the leaves and also spread the disease to more than one plant, as the black ants move them around.

What do pharaoh ants eat

Pharaoh Ants
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These types of ants love junk food, especially sweets in the form of candy or jam.

Unlike the rest of their kind, however, pharaoh ants prove to be picky eaters.

When no other food sources are in sight, they can eat the same thing, but just for a few weeks.

Then, they will certainly start looking for different food.

Except for sugary products, pharaoh ants can also eat insects and even dead animals.

They like to provide themselves with carbohydrates as well as protein.

What do sugar ants eat

Banded Sugar Ant - Featured Image
Muhammad Naaim / Shutterstock.com

As the name suggests, sugar ants love to eat sweets, but they are also omnivores.

Just like the black ants, they supply their colonies with honeydew, which is provided by hard-working aphids or caterpillars.

Even so, they would gladly take advantage of other sources of carbohydrates like the sugar-rich products we keep in our cabinets.

Sugar ants can also be great predators. This is why some species are most active during the night, while others prefer daylight to hunt for food.

What do bull ants eat

Bull ant
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Australian bulldog ants may be dangerous and quite aggressive, but you won’t get that from their diet.

The adults favour honeydew and they also like to collect nectar. The young, on the other hand, are ferocious meat-eaters. When they are big enough, the adults provide them with all the insects they need to feed and grow as quickly as possible.

There is a big variety of bull ants spread throughout Australia and their sting can trigger an immediate allergic reaction. A close encounter is something to avoid for sure, but just in case we have some tips on how to get rid of bull ants safely.

What do green ants eat

Green-head ant
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These ants can be seen in almost every part of Australia, usually in the garden and on trees. This allows them easy access to honeydew and the insects that produce it.

Green-head ants also like to eat animal tissue and a big variety of insects like termites, moths and more.

Seeds are also a big part of these ants’ diet and they take their time to find and gather them for the colony.

This way they help distribute the seeds in long distances, which helps plants thrive.

Consider the latter, you can say that these types of ants are beneficial in their own way.

What do fire ants eat

Fire ants
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The red ants are another dangerous species to look out for. You definitely don’t want to come in contact with a fire ant hunting for food, as you may easily end up in the emergency room.

The venomous sting, as well as the fact that red ants are omnivores, makes this species a destructive force.

They can eat pretty much anything, including termites, flies and various other insects, frogs and even birds.

The greasy oils that the prey’s body produces are what helps the fire ants locate and attack their prey with no mercy.

What do meat ants eat

Meat ants
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Meat ants are very beneficial for the environment, thanks to their eating habits. One of the preferred things on their menu are dead animals and insects. They can eat all of their flesh in just a few weeks, leaving behind only bones. You can say this makes them nature’s most effective “cleaners”.

Meat ants can also kill insects and feed on sugary liquids like honeydew and nectar.

Truth be told, you have to admire the ants’ dedication to the colony in their tireless efforts to find sufficient food supplies. They can go as far as 100 metres from their nest and carry food exceeding their body weight at least several times. One is for certain, though, they are relentless and won’t give up their favourite food.

Are ants taking up residence in your place?

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