What Do Ants Eat? 

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Ants have a variety of diets, depending on their location. What do ants eat when they are indoors and in the wild? Ants are omnivorous, which means they eat everything. Ants are attracted to high-sugar foods, such as flour and sweets.

If you have a problem with ants in your home, fixing holes in window seals will stop them from coming into your home.

In the wild, they eat the milk of aphids and other small Hemiptera, insects, living or dead invertebrates, plant sap, and various fruits. They also consume insect eggs. For example, ants that live in the rainforest will eat different things than ants that live in the desert.

How do Ants Find and Eat Food?

Group of ants feeding on bugs

Ants use their sense of smell and taste to find food. They are able to detect chemical substances in their environment and follow them to their source. This allows them to locate food quickly and efficiently.

They are able to detect sugar and other chemicals in the air, which allows them to find food sources. Their chemoreception also helps them determine whether or not food is safe to eat.

The Diet of Ants

Ants are omnivorous creatures, and their diet can vary depending on the species, the time of year, and their location. They eat various things, including insects, other arthropods, nectar, seeds, and fruit.

Sugary food

Ants can get sugar from various sources, both plants, and animals. Sugar is important for ants because it helps them survive and function. They can also sense sugar from a long distance, which helps them find food quickly.

Plants, seeds, grains

Leaf-cutter ants are a type of ant known for their gardening skills. They can cut leaves and bring them back to their nests, where they will then grow fungus on them to break down the organic material.

Leaf-cutters are vegans, meaning they don’t eat meat or animal products. Instead, they rely on the fungus they grow in their nests to provide them with the nutrients they need.

Other Insects

Ants have a varied diet which includes other insects and plants. Fire ants are omnivorous and can feed on various things, including meat, plants, and sugary foods. They love greasy food, and insects or worms can provide it.

Ants eating ants

Cannibalism is the deed of consuming members of the same species. This behavior is most commonly seen in animals but can also occur in humans. In ants, cannibalism is a way for the queen to survive while her nest is invaded.

Army ants are known for their cannibalistic tendencies and will often eat other ants when they are hungry.

Black Ants crawling on the empty dish in the kitchen

What Do ants Eat?

Ants are attracted to food sources that are easily accessible. If they come across spilled juice or an open cereal box, they will start to feast. And since ants are opportunistic pests, they will take whatever is easiest to get, even if it’s your food.

Though you may think that ants are only interested in sweets, they’re also attracted to moisture. This means that ants can invade your home through places like the kitchen and bathroom.

However, there are different ways to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. You can seal cracks or holes in your walls and keep food sealed tightly in containers.

What do Ants Eat in the Wild?

Ants primarily eat live or dead insects and parts of dead animals, but they will also consume other organic matter, such as nectar and sap. In addition, ants and aphids often co-exist harmoniously due to their mutual benefits.

Ant eating aphids in the wild

Ants protect aphids from predators and parasites in exchange for the honeydew that aphids produce when they feed on plants. Honeydew is a liquid produced by ants and aphids when they feed on plants, which provides both ants and aphids with an unlimited food supply.

What Attracts Ants to Your House Besides Food?

Ants need water to survive, just like any other living creature, and they will search for it to build their nests. They get water from rivers, condensation, and rain from various sources.

If your garden is experiencing a drought, the colony of ants will head to your property in search of water. They can find it in various places, including puddles, pet bowls, and leaky faucets.

What foods are ants attracted to?

Ants are attracted to various foods, but they have a few preferences. They are especially drawn to foods that are high in sugar content. Additionally, ants prefer food that has a pungent odor. This makes them more likely to find food sources from a long distance.

Food crumbs and spills can also be very attractive to ants and sugary substances like honey or syrup. If you have any ant problems in your house, it is best to clean up any spilled food and keep your kitchen tidy.

What Do Ants Eat?

How Many Types of Ants Are There?

There are thousands of species of ants, but only a small percentage of them are pests.

The ten most common types of ants in the United States include the red imported fire ant, carpenter ants, crazy ants, acrobat ants, pharaoh ants, odorous house ants, leaf-cutting ants, rover ants, and pavement ants. Each type of ant has its own unique diet and habits.

Types of Ants and their Diet

There are many different types of ants, each with its own specific diet and habits. Common ants include the acrobat ant, carpenter ant, thief ant, and sugar ant.

Acrobat ants

get their name from how the workers curve their abdomens to carry food back to the nest. A common food source for acrobat ants is honeydew, a sugary waste excreted by aphids and mealybugs. They also consume both live and dead insects, such as termite swarmers.

Carpenter ants

Live in colonies and form large nests in homes and other buildings. They can be very destructive as they tunnel through wood to create their nests. Carpenter ants eat protein and sugar sources. They eat both living and dead insects outside.

Thief ants

They raid other ant nests for food. They eat proteins and fatty foods like nuts, meats, cheese, peanut butter, and sweets. Worker thief ants can become a nuisance in the kitchen because they are small enough to enter food packaging.

Sugar ants

They are so named because they feed on sweet substances like honeydew and nectar.

Cornfield ants and little black ants

These are found around cornfields and can invade homes looking for sugar. They are also known as common house ants. These pests live in most environments, including houses.

Group of ants that are attracted to a sweet dish

How do we eliminate ants from the house?

When ants invade a home, homeowners often want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. To get rid of ants in your house, you need to identify their food source. Once you know what they are feeding on, you can use different extermination methods.

For example, you can bait them with the food they will take back to the colony, place traps near their entry points, or spray an insecticide around their nests.

  • Essential oils act as a deterrent to ants. However, the oils can not kill the ants.
  • Another way is to remove any food sources that may attract them, such as sugar and other sweet-tasting substances.
  • Maintain high hygiene standards and regularly clean with a hoover.
  • Don’t leave food unpacked on the table or countertop.
  • Trim trees and bushes.
  • Remove the dead insects.
  • Repair any leakages
  • Avoid leaving tempting scents around, and seal off entry points.
  • Finally, one can seal up any cracks or crevices where ants might be entering the home.
Vacuum cleaner used on carpet to get rid of ants

Ants will leave an ant trail if they move around the house in large numbers. If you follow this trail, you can find the main colony and take steps to kill them off. You can use various methods.

  • Use boric acid, which will kill the ants. You can also use white vinegar to repel the ants and deter them from coming back. 
  • Using bait stations or poison sprayers
  • Using traps that catch them as they enter or exit the home
  • Pour boiling water over them.


Different ants have different diets. They all generally eat various things. Some ants are scavengers and will eat anything they can find, while other ants are more selective in their diet. No matter what the diet is, you can be sure that ants will invade you at some point.

Ants are a common sight in houses all across the world. While they may be annoying, they can also be a sign of an unhealthy home. If you have a lot of ants in your house, it is important to find out why and take steps to address the issue.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.