Considering that ants can find food sources in your home very quickly, this raises questions to most of us “how do ants find food so fast in my house?”.
Ants probably small in size, but they are quite persistent when it comes to foraging for food. They get inside your house through small cracks in walls, drains, and grout between tiles while looking for food.
They even don’t hesitate to travel a long distance from their nest to your house in search of food and water. It’s also almost impossible to see ants searching for food alone, because ants are highly social insects. In most cases, what you’ll probably see at home is a line of worker ants marching to and in the tiniest foods they can find.
Without wasting more time, let’s read the full article below to reveal the mystery of how do ants find food so fast in your house.
How do ants find food?
As social insects, ants have highly organized societies in a colony; especially when it comes to finding food sources. They have long been known for their ability to effectively find, store and distribute their foods to their colonies.
Food crumbs and a spill of sweet drink on the floor are enough to immediately summon marching ants into your house. But how do ants find food still remains a mystery for most of us. Here’s the answer!
Ants live in a caste system, which is where each caste has a different responsibility in preserving their colonies. The worker ants or scouts are the ones responsible for forage for food to feed the colony; besides caring for the queen and cleaning the nest.
When the ant colony sends worker ants to foraging for food, they are able to walk quite a distance out of the nest in search of food sources. During their journey, they will leave behind a pheromone that help them to find a way back to the nest.
Once a food source has been found, they will release more chemicals as a signal to the rest of the colony to locate the food sources. Then the rest of the ants come out and follow the existing pheromone trail to start carrying food back to the nest.
What do ants do with the food they collect?
In most cases, ants find food objects much larger than their body size. They even can lift an object 5,000 times heavier than the ratio between their body size.
When worker ants find food sources they will release more pheromone to those food sources. The pheromones act as a prominent message to other ants in the nest when the food has been found; and a signal to ask them to come and provide backup help.
Some initial worker ants will head back to the nest and engage other ants to deal with the workload required for harvesting food sources. The messages spread very quickly throughout the nestmates inside the colony. And, in a short time, the other ants will come out of the nest and begin a march toward the food sources.
How do ants process food?
Ants will feed on the liquid or semi-solids of the foods they found outside. Then they will transport those foods and distribute them to the rest of the colonies through their social stomach. So, this social stomach can be likened to their ‘internal lunch box’ for ants.
Once it’s full to the capacity, ants will head back to the nest by also releasing the pheromones trail along the way for other ants to follow. Soon after they back inside the nest, the workers with full social stomachs begin to feed other ants and larvae little by little with their mouths. The process of feeding other ants and their young in ant colonies is known as trophallaxis.
Adult ants can’t eat solid food. Thus if there’s the food sources can be broken down into pieces outside, they will carry it to the nest for further working. Although it’s possible to carry a big chunk of food back to the nest, the process of trophallaxis is the most efficient and cleanest way for the ants to execute the food.
Because bringing the collected food back to the nest, means they will leave food sitting too long inside the nest; which may cause the breeds of unwanted bacteria and fungus.
What food attracts ants?
In general, most types of ants are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters. This means they will eat both plants and other animals that they can find to survive.
As an example, black house ants and fire ants are attracted to sugary foods and meat. While other types of ants such as carpenter ants prefer to eat honeydew and dead insects.
Although each types of ants or species has a different diet; most of them are at least attracted to these foods including but not limited to:
- Sugary foods
- Protein foods
Read more about the things ants like to eat here
How to prevent ants from finding food in my house?
Like it or not, but the main reason for ant infestation in your house is because they are looking for food. The best way to prevent ants from accessing your food is by keep your house as clean as possible.
Follow these 5 simple tips you can do to stop ants find food in your house
- Regularly clean countertops and other surfaces clean from any spilled sweet drinks or food crumbs
- Mop and sweep your floor on a daily basis, especially in the areas where you usually enjoy your foods
- Avoid leaving the food left open in the kitchen, and store your food in airtight containers
- Keep your pet bowls clean all the time
- Seal cracks and crevices with caulk that ants may use to enter your home
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by ant infestation, don’t waste your time contacting the nearest pest control services to get rid of ants and prevent them from returning in the future.
How to get rid of ants?
Keep finding ants in house can be very annoying and stressful for everyone. Unfortunately, an ant colony never sleeps and they keep foraging for food 24 hours to keep the colony alive and growing. Because the bigger the colony, the higher chance for them to survive.
With their strong survival instincts, ant colonies can be very difficult to control once inside your house. This is the reason why it is important to act fast at the first signs of an infestation.
Rentokil offer the best ant control treatment options you can rely on to get rid of ants in your house. We also will make sure that no more ants come back.