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How Ants Find Food?

Ants are very interesting animals to learn about in both their behaviour and their lives, especially in how they find food.

Ants are small, common pests that are known to be quite persistent when they find food. They generally nest outside the home, but don’t exclude the possibility of getting inside, especially for food sources.

This tiny pest is known to walk a long distance (about 100 meters) out of its nest towards your home just to find food.

As one of the social insects, ants way of finding food is dependent on each other. This is why it is almost impossible to see ants walking alone when they are finding food in the house. So, what is most common is that ants line up at food sources and take them together to their nests.

Without wasting any further time, let’s find out together how ants find food quickly in the house through this article.

How ants find food?

Image of sugar-eating ants

When compared to other social insects such as termites or bees, the colony of an ant is much more organised, especially when it comes to how ants find food.

An ant is known to be a social insect that has the ability to effectively find, store, and distribute its food to all members of its colony.

Ants live in caste systems, where each caste has a different task of keeping their colonies intact. The worker ant is an ant caste in charge of locating and feeding its colonies, as well as caring for the ant queen and cleaning the nest.

How ants find food?

When colonies send worker ants for feeding, they can walk far enough out of the nest.

Unlike what we’ve been imagining, workers’ ants don’t have a ‘pattern’ while walking for food sources. Instead, ants find food by walking randomly or without patterns (random).

During their journey, they will leave traces of pheromones or chemical liquids that help them find their way back into the nest.

Once a food source is discovered, workers’ ants will release more pheromones that serve as a signal or message to the entire colony that the food source has been found.

Then, the other ants will come out of the nest and begin to follow the pheromone trail by using the antenna to head to the food source, and together, they will bring the food back to the nest.

What do ants do when they find food?

Do you know? Ants generally find food objects that are larger than their body weight. They can even lift an object 5,000 times heavier than their body weight.

When workers’ ants find a food source, they release more pheromones toward the food source. Pheromone serves as an important message that food sources have been discovered by worker ants, as well as a signal to seek help from other ants in the nest.

Some workers’ ants will return to the nest and ask for the help needed to bring food sources home. The message spreads very quickly to all the other adult ants in the nest. In a short period of time, the current adult ants will come out of the nest and start lining up at food sources.

How ants eat?

Image of ants performing the trophallactic process using their mouths

Ants feed on food in liquid or semi-solid form from food sources they find. They will then transport the food and distribute it to the entire colony through their social stomach, which acts like an internal supply box on their body.

Once the social stomach is full, the ants will return to the nest while releasing traces of pheromone so that the other ants can follow. When they returned to the nest, workers with full social stomachs began feeding larvae and other ants little by little using their mouths.

The process of ant feeding between individuals in a colony is known as trophallaxis.

Adult ants cannot consume solid food. So, if any solids remain from the food source, they will carry the remaining food into the nest for further processing.

While it is possible for an ant to bring most of its remaining food back to the nest, as an animal that is hygienic enough to process its food, an ant prefers to execute food through the trophallaxis process because it is much more efficient and clean.

Because by bringing the remaining food of collected whole and solid food back to the nest, they are dealing with the emergence of bacteria from the remaining food in the nest for too long.

What is ant food?

In general, each ant type is an omnivore and includes opportunistic eaters. This means that ants eat the plants and meat available around them to survive. From remaining food and spills of sugary drinks on the floor to dead insects found around your home.
Each type of ant has an interest in different types of food. For example, home black ants are attracted to sweet foods and meat. While other types or species of ants, such as carpenter ants, are more interested in dead insects and honey or honeydew left by other insects in the wild.

Although each type of ant has a different favourite food, most of them are attracted to at least three types of food, including:

  • Sweet foods
  • Proteinic foods
  • Mould

Read more about what ant food is here

How to prevent an ant from finding food in the home


Like it or dislike it, but the main cause of the problem with many ants at home is that they are looking for a more attractive food source than they find in the wild.

The small size of an ant makes it easy for them to get inside your home through small crevices or holes in walls, waterways, and grout between tiles.

Thus, the best way to prevent an ant from finding food in your home is to limit their access.

Here are six simple tips you can do to prevent ants from finding food at home:

  • Clean kitchen tables and other surfaces immediately from spills of sugary drinks or food crumbs
  • Mop and sweep the floor every day, especially in areas where you consume and process food
  • Avoid leaving food open without lids on dining tables
  • Store ready-to-eat food or groceries in airtight containers
  • Clean pet bowls regularly and areas where pets usually eat
  • Close any gaps and cracks in existing walls

If you feel overwhelmed by dealing with many ant problems at home, don’t waste your time immediately contacting a professional pest control service to address any ant problems.

How to remove ants from the home?

We understand that having a house full of ants can be very disturbing for every homeowner. But unfortunately, ants never sleep and will continue to feed for 24 non-stop hours to allow their colonies to survive and thrive. As an ant colony grows, so do their chances of survival.

With a strong sense of survival, ant colonies can be very difficult to control once inside the home. This is why it is so important to act quickly on the early signs of an ant infestation you see inside the home.

Because ants can be difficult to control, especially when they have started to spread and build their nests inside your home.
Rentokil offers the best long-term service you can rely on to remove ants from your home and ensure no more ants return later.

Contact us today at 150808 or fill out the online form to consult with the experts immediately on Rentokil anti-ant solutions.

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