Little Ant

What Do Ants Eat?

What do ants consume, and how long can they go without eating?

Discover how ants find food and the elements that affect the kind of ant food that a colony can consume.

ant workers

What Do Ants Eat?

Have you ever seen a cartoon where ants raiding a picnic and carrying an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich, roll of salami, or even the whole picnic basket away?

Do you think they can do that?  In any case, if you leave your sandwich out, there’s a good probability that some hungry ants will see it and eat it all up as they probably can’t carry a large chunk of food all at once.

ants feeding

Ants will consume nearly anything. That implies that they will consume the same foods as you do, including juice, soda, fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts.

However, not all ants enjoy every type of food, just like you might not like bananas, but you might love pizza

ants tearing prey

There are more than 10,000 different types of ants in the world, and each type prefers to eat particular foods. Now let’s look a few of these things.

Sweet Foods and Liquids

Do you enjoy sweets? Many ants eat sugary nectar, or the liquid that plants produce.

Mango orange juice smoothie

Additionally, they eat the aphids’ tasty “honeydew” juice (aphids are another kind of insect). Ants can be seen eating oranges, mangoes, and other sweet fruits.

Seeds and Plants

Other ants enjoy eating plants like grasses and leaves as well as vegetables like corn. Additionally, they eat seeds, grains, and any plant that bears fruit.

Ants on Plants

Not only do some ants like to eat food from gardens, but some ants are gardeners themselves.  The leaf-cutter ant, for example, uses chewed-up leaves to grow fungus, which it will later eat.

Animals and Insects

Because they enjoy eating flesh, some ants eat insects and even small animals. Other ants eat one another!

Army ants will break into the nests of other ant species and eat their eggs or young. In fact, if a queen ant has no other food to keep her alive, she may even eat her own young!

Driver ants and army ants also eat other animals. They are big ants with sharp jaws that live the jungle. They can kill and consume even large animals since they live in colonies of thousands ants.

Ant Diet Facts

Ants can experience thirst. When they do, they ingest water in the form of tiny drops of morning dew or water that has accumulated overnight on plants and other surfaces. 

Ants will sip water from rains and puddles. They get other types of liquid  from the foods they eat, such as nectar and plants.

Ants marching in a line

Ants marching in a line

Have you ever seen a long trail of ants going from one place to another? Well, usually, ants are collecting food for their colonies.

Sometimes they bring food to their nests to feed the queen ant and the young ants and to store for a future meal.

In fact, when an ant has found a large source of food, like your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it leaves a chemical trail for other ants to be able to find it.  Pretty soon, a long row of hungry ants is lining up for their share


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