Feeding Nature
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What Do Ants Eat?

Ants might be small insects but they sure are powerful.  These insects belong to the Formicidae family and there are over 22,000 species of ant living in our world.  They are easily identified by their slender wastes and elbowed antennae.

Most ant species are quite small.  The smallest ant species is the pharaoh ant with a maximum size of just 2mm long.  The biggest ant species is the Dinoponera ant which can reach a length of 3 – 4 cm in length.

While ants are quite small, their colonies can be massive.  Colonies can range from as small as a few dozen ants to massive colonies that contain millions of ants.

What Do Ants Eat and Drink?

Ants are considered opportunistic feeders and they are also omnivores.  They will eat just about any edible matter they can find.  Here is a quick look at some of the most common foods that ants enjoy eating;

Meat

Ants eat surprisingly much meat.  It is said that they eat more than all the lions, wolves and tigers combined.  They will feed on meat on the spot and will carry many of the meat to their nests where these foods are stored underground for times of need.

Ants can eat all types of meat including human meat and they are not shy about consuming certain decayed meat at all.

Insects

Ants also love to eat all sorts of insects.  They will work together as a group to carry large insects away to their nests or they will break the insects they find down into smaller pieces so these pieces can easily be carried away.

Ants will eat any type of insect including moths, spiders, grasshoppers, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, scorpions, and centipedes.

Fruits and vegetables

Ants love to eat fruits that fall fruits that fall from trees or any vegetables they find growing it he soil.  They can eat any fruits and veggies including oranges, peaches, pawpaws, bananas, berries, strawberries, melons, pumpkin, beans, cucumber, lettuce, and many others.

Grains, seeds, and nuts

Ants also love to eat grains, seeds, and nuts.  They can cause a lot of devastation to crops because they love to target these foods since grains and seeds can easily be stored away in their nests.  They will eat all types of grains and seeds including rice, barley, wheat, corn, sunflower, flower seeds, and many others.

Grass and plants

Grass and other plants they find in the wild is also a very good food source for these animals.  They will eat any type of plant they can find including grass.  Ants love to collect all parts of plants.  They eat the leaves, stems, twigs, bark, roots, and are also happy to consume decayed plant matter.

Water

Ants also drink water from puddles or drops on plants.  Some species do get all their needed water from the foods they eat.  They require moisture to survive and often prefer to stay close to a water source. If you are keeping an ant farm you should either supply them with water or lots of moist foods or they can die.

Diet Variations

Ants can consume all types of plant, animal, and insect matter.  All of these materials are foods to them which mean they don’t have any real diet variations.

How to Feed Ants?

To feed ants, you can simply place food on the ground close to their nest.  Ants will eventually locate these foods and will then break the food down into smaller pieces to carry to their nests.

What do Baby Ants Eat?

Ants will undergo several stages in their lives.  They lay eggs.  From these eggs, larvae are born.  The larvae then need to turn into pupae before they emerge as ants.

Ant larvae can be fed on a variety of foods.  They are often fed on unfertilized eggs and can sometimes accidentally consume fertilized eggs.

Worker ants usually feed larvae on liquids and some ant species are also fed on small chopped pieces of food.  Ant larvae also emit liquids and a form of feces.  Most ant species will discard the liquids but many do consume the floury feces that ant larvae produce.

How Much Do Ants Eat?

Ants usually only eat one-third of their body weight per day.  They will however collect and gather much more food than this.  They are hoarders and collect food for cold winter months when foods might be limited.  Ants will collect and store an unlimited amount of food if possible and worker ants also work hard to feed those who dwell in the colony.

Large colonies of ants can cause quite a lot of devastation.  In agriculture, they can easily consume an entire crop within days.

How Often Do Ants Eat?

Ants usually only eat one-third of their body weight in a day.  They might choose to eat whenever they find a fresh food source and will then collect the rest of the food as supplies for the rest of the colony.  Most ants only eat once per day but will collect food every day all day long.

What Scents Do Ants Hate?

Ants can cause a lot of damage to your home, garden, or crops.  It is also very annoying to struggle with an ant infestation in your home.  These insects are agile climbers and can easily get into any food you leave out.

To keep ants out of your home, you can use certain fragrances.  Ants don’t like peppermint.  This smell is a natural repellent that can help keep them out of certain areas like a vegetable garden or your home.

Are Ants Dangerous To Humans?

Ants can consume just about anything which can make them a bit dangerous.  They can cause a lot of damage to crops and timber structures in homes.

They can also be dangerous to your health.  Some ant species can spread harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses.

Some people are also allergic to ant bites and stings.  Most people will experience pain, itching, redness, and swelling in the bite area.  If you are allergic to ants, you can also experience life-threatening symptoms when an ant bites you.