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Why Does Sugar Attract Ants?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ants are attracted to sugar for the same reason we are: it’s a dense source of energy that’s relatively rare in nature. If you’ve ever watched ants running around your yard, you get the idea that ants need a lot of energy. Not as much energy as bees, to be sure, but still a lot.

But there’s a lot more to the story than that.

Ants Need a Diversity of Foods

Although ants are attracted to sugar, that’s not the only thing that attracts them. Ants are like us in many ways (they have societies, they wage wars, they farm), including the fact that they’re omnivores. Ants want to eat a variety of different foods in order to be healthy and thrive, although some ants prefer more meat and others prefer more vegetables.

Ants range out from their colony in all directions, with numerous scouts that can range for an extended distance around their homes. How far they go depends on the species of ant, just like the ant’s food preferences.

We Notice Ants around Sugar

Once ants find a source of sugar, they will take news of that find back to their nest, leaving a chemical trail that will lead its fellow ants to the site of a sugar spill. When they encounter other members of their nest, they will also swap stomach contents, which tells the other ant what kind of food can be found when they get to the end of the trail. This is why ants swarm around sugar.

But ants will also do this with other types of food, such as the carcass of a dead mouse. The main reason why we don’t tend to notice this is that we (hopefully) don’t have as many dead mouse carcasses in our home as sugar spills. But if you have other spills in the home, such as peanut butter or grease, ants will swarm around those as well.

Another reason why we tend to notice ants swarming sugar more often is that ants which are common domestic pests tend toward preferring the sweet end of the continuum, as opposed to the salty, though there are definitely ants that prefer a salty snack.

If you are having difficulty with household pest species like ants, Animal Pest Control Specialist can help, whether you live in Denver, Fort Collins, Evergreen, Aurora, and nearby areas. Please contact us today.


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