Do Ants Like Sugar? The Major Reasons Why Sugar Attracts Ants

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Sometimes, we drop the occasional sugary cereal on the floor and find out that ants have already gotten to it. Do ants like sugar? Or is it just another food for them?

In a couple of years, there have been a lot of explanations for ants’ special affinity for the sweet stuff. Info on this may not mean much right now, but it’s a great place to start when thinking of the perfect ant bait.

So without further ado, here are the most important things we picked up when it comes to ants and their alleged love for sugar.

Do Ants Like Sugar? The Major Reasons Why Sugar Attracts Ants

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Ants have been associated with sugar for a very long time.

Ants actually eat all kinds of things

Sugar isn’t their only food. Ants will eat almost anything.

Like us and practically every living thing in the planet, ants need to eat to survive. But their diet isn’t for sugar alone. They can feast on anything as long as it will give them energy to work for the colony.

Different species eat many things, and some species eat something that others won’t. Some eat normal human food, and some resort to less appetizing dinners.

But all in all, ants can eat human food, plants, fungi, dead animals, injured insects, dead insects, stuff secreted by other insects, basically, all other insects that they can bring down with sheer numbers. They are so non-picky about their food that they’ll even eat their own kind.

Why are ants attracted to sugar?

ants on a cupcake

So do ants like sugar? Judging by a lot of ideas in the scientific, homeowners and pest control community, we really can’t deny that maybe, ants do have a sweet tooth.

Ants identify their food through their eyes and their antennae. Their antennae touch the food to determine if it’s is edible or not. They also tell them what chemical compositions are there in a particular food.

There’s an idea that since a lot of ants are exposed to honeydew, a sugary secretion from aphids and some caterpillars, they’d have registered its scent and chemicals through their antennae. So they’re attracted to something similarly sugary.

There’s also a theory from Arizona State University School of Life Sciences that says that ants are attracted to sugar and other sweet things because they provide them with energy. Accordingly, ants have adapted to break down sugar molecules easily, so they can seek it out more to get more energy to work for their nest.

Another explanation from tells us that instead of carbs, ants are actually looking for protein to help feed their eggs and larvae.

What kind of sugar do ants prefer?

When ants encounter solid food, they’ll carry it back to their nest to feed to the rest of the colony. However, when they see liquid food, they’ll store that food in their gasters. Once back safely in their nests, they regurgitate the food directly into the mouths of other ants.

According to the Western Exterminator Company, adult ants, mostly worker ants, are more interested in sugary solutions than an actual sugar. That’s because they have difficulty swallowing anything that’s not in liquid form. So they’ll prefer a fallen melting popsicle than a bag of sugar.

It’s important to note the answer to the questions “Do ants like sugar?” and “What kind of sugar do they prefer?”. That’s because you can use the answers for ant baiting.

And now that you know that they prefer liquid sweet things, you can bet that they’ll definitely eat your borax and sugar bait and be eradicated once and for all.

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