February 28, 2023

What Do Ants Eat? Understanding An Ant's Diet

Like roaches, ants aren't too picky when it comes to a good meal, typically flocking toward most items in your pantry. Your yard and pantry are an oasis for these small, foraging insects.

But what do ants eat indoors and outdoors? What on your property keeps them coming back time and time again for more? 

Keep reading to understand what an ant may enjoy consuming inside your home and what may appeal to them in your yard.

Ants in Washington: Pests You May See

In Washington state, a few common ants may pop up around your property. Pavement ants and thatching ants are species common on concrete fixtures and lawns, with the latter creating vast and large colonies.

Check out our blog “Thatching Ants Control in Washington State” for more information about thatching ants and how you can recognize their large mounds. 

Odorous house ants are often unwanted guests in many Washington homes. As their name suggests, these pests have a pungent and undesirable odor once squashed, akin to rotting cheese or fruit.

Carpenter ants are another pest you may find indoors, although their presence may signal more problems inside. Because carpenter ants regularly tunnel through waterlogged wood to create colonies, they can destroy wooden items inside and even point to previously unknown water damage.

Since ants are scavengers, they’re attracted to your most concentrated sources of food – your kitchen and pantry. If any of these pests find their way indoors, they’ll likely head toward any source of nutrition they can find. 

Pest control technicians can help you identify the ant species visiting your property. Once they locate the source of your ant infestation, they can help you understand the species’ behavior, diet, and where they’re likely to forage. 

What Do Ants Eat Outdoors?

Outside, most ant species are attracted to plant nectar, fruits, vegetables, and berries. Ants commonly head toward sweet items and may be problematic for budding gardens or fruit trees

However, ants will eat almost anything they can find outside. While they prefer sugary substances, these pests will also turn toward decomposing matter like deceased insects and animals to find their next meal. 

They also consume other insects like termites, aphids, and flies. Plus, ants may even turn on their own species if they're hungry enough! Neighboring ant colonies could fall victim to larger or more populous ant colonies.

Ever seen ants gathered around a trash can? Ants are crafty insects and will forage for food, no matter the location. If they smell something tasty in an unusual place, they’re not afraid of a little hard work to reach their goal. 

Ant Diet Inside Your Home

What do ants eat inside your house?

Our homes are often filled to the brim with sugary sweets, delectable grains, and rich proteins that ants are dying to taste. Once they find a way inside, they’ll begin shuffling toward your pantry to claim their prize. 

Indoors, ants turn toward your uncovered fruits and vegetables, with soft peaches and strawberries being a staple for the tiny pests. Loaves of bread also have sugars that may entice an ant to take a bite. Any bread, bagel, or cake not secruly covered on your countertops could become an ant’s next meal. 

However, ants don’t solely head for the food you have ready to eat; they’ll also consume any unswept crumbs or food left behind. Many homeowners notice the start of an ant infestation once these pests begin foraging through dishes left in their sinks.

Dog and cat food are also popular picks for ants. Because these hard pellets are packed with different nutrients and flavors to keep your furry friend healthy and full, ants will also turn toward your pet’s food to supplement their nutritional needs.

How to Keep Ants Away From Your Pantry

Frequent cleaning is one of the best ways to prevent an ant infestation in your home. Start by wiping your counters after a meal and never leaving your dishes in the sink for more than a few hours. 

Sweeping is also an excellent way to discourage ants from overstaying their welcome. The key to disrupting a growing infestation lies in removing potential food sources before they can find them. 

Always remember to store your pantry items in secure containers with tightly closing lids. Ants are small and can climb through incredibly tiny spaces, so an air-tight container is necessary. 

Ants are also attracted to warm, damp locations, especially carpenter ants. You'll need to keep these areas relatively dry to keep them away from your kitchen and bathroom. Wipe up any spills as they happen and look into repairs for any significant leaks. 

You can also purchase ant bait to eliminate the already present pests. However, we caution you against using products that may contaminate food or make you ill. Some pesticides aren’t formulated to work near or around food items. 

Similarly, carefully choose your desired ingredients if you create a DIY solution. Don’t use sugar, honey, or other high-sugar solutions, as they may encourage ants to stick around if your bait or trap doesn’t work. 

Ants, like roaches, feed on various foods you may have in your yard or kitchen. Because of their small size, they can fit into almost any crack or crevice on your home’s exterior, giving them full access to your kitchen and pantry. 

To fight back against ants and prevent them from causing more trouble indoors, trust Zunex pest control to remove their ranks. 

We cover four types of ants that regularly infest homes and lawns. From destructive carpenter ants to expansive thatching ant colonies, we can care for the pests that take over your property. 

Contact us today to find out more about our services and schedule an appointment with one of our trained pest control technicians!

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