Just like other animals, ants need water to survive. Therefore, they are drawn to places where water is available.
They get thirsty when it is too hot and require water to cool their little bodies down.
Not only do they drink water, but they also carry it back into their colonies for storage. That is why you will find ants in damp places, small puddles, or a place that is always wet, like the bathroom and the kitchen.
Compared to other animals, though, ants are more suited to survive without water.
They get most of the water they need from the food they eat. Even so, most ant infestations occur during summer when there is drought. As the ground dries up, places with water become more attractive to the insects.
That is why during summer, you will tend to find more ants in your house. They will be in spots with water, such as the sinks, faucets, tubs, and wherever there are leaks. As aforementioned, the bathroom and the kitchen are the most likely places to find ants.
Why Are Ants Attracted To Water?
Ants can go for days without food but will die if they go 7 to 10 days without water. Usually, they get most of the water they need from food. However, when the water is scarce and the food is too dry to provide the water they need, they move in search of water.
This means that they will be attracted to places that harbor any form of moisture. After all, they do not need a lot of water to survive.
The following are more specific reasons why ants are attracted to water:
- When the water has sugar in it– Ants love sweet things. They are naturally drawn to sweet foods and drinks. If you dropped a piece of cotton candy somewhere, it would not take long before a group of ants infests it. Thus, if water has something sugary in it, ants will automatically be drawn to it.
- When the water is salty– Ants are attracted to saline solutions if they have low access to salt in their daily diets. Scientists have determined that the distance between an ant and the ocean determines how much it is attracted to salty water. The further away an ant is from the ocean, the higher its affinity to salty water.
- When the ant is thirsty– Ants get thirsty just like humans do. And when they are thirsty, their desire for water heightens. They, therefore, get attracted to water, if at all, to quench the thirst.
- When it is hot– Hot weather means there is a scarcity of water. Consequently, ants become more thirsty than usual. It is common for ants to infest homesteads during this time because there is more water indoors than in the outdoors.
Does A Wet Floor Attract Ants?
Wet surfaces attract ants. Therefore, a wet floor would definitely attract ants. If you have wet floors in your house, the chances are high that you will find a trail of ants. That is why you often find ants in the kitchen and the bathroom, which are usually wet.
To get rid of the ants, you need to dry your house as much as possible. If you have pipes or any leaking water sources in the house, make a point of fixing them. More importantly, keep your house clean, more specifically the kitchen, where all the cooking takes place.
Does Mopping Attract Ants?
Mopping only attracts ants if you do it haphazardly, leaving the floor wet for a long time. If anything, mopping is good for keeping ants at bay. This is because by mopping, you get to dry a place up as well as clean it.
What’s more, if you use lemon solution/cleaner with the water you are mopping with, ants will be anything but attracted to the mopped area. Therefore, mopping is a suitable method for repelling ants.
Some chemical agents in the water may also repel the ants. For example, there is some evidence ants can smell and know to avoid window cleaning products like Windex.
Which Species Of Ants Is Most Attracted To Water?
While all ant species are attracted to water, the Many Lasius species is the one that is drawn the most. Because of their affinity to water, these ants are more commonly known as moisture ants. These ants are the most attracted to water because, unlike the other species, they need water for more than just staying hydrated: they live in moist places.
Moisture ants need a constant water supply to provide a habitat where they can build their nests and colonies. Therefore, they are attracted to moist places, be it the indoors or the outdoors. That is why you are likely to find their nests next to leaky taps, moist ceilings, and moisture-damaged walls. In the great outdoors, moisture ants live under logs or infest rotten logs.
Fortunately, moisture ants are not as destructive- they only feed on the rotten bits of wood or ceiling and do not dig through them as carpenter ants do. In the United States, moisture ants are common in Oregon and Washington because of the abundance of moisture in these places.
What Sources Do Ants Use To Get Water?
Ants source water from a variety of sources. Most of the time, ants get the water they need from the food they consume. When there is a scarcity of water, like, during summertime, ants move around searching for places that have moisture. Thus, they end up under logs, in moist woods, and in homesteads.
Ants also get water from plants: weaver ants and leafcutter ants obtain water from plant sap. Extrafloral nectarines on plants also attract ants as they are a source of sweet liquid. These small insects are also known for taking care and tending to aphids which are a source of honeydew- a fluid that is full of water.
What Else Attracts Ants?
Ants are constantly looking for food to feed their colonies. Therefore, anywhere there is food, ants will definitely appear there. Besides, ants are omnivorous and eat almost everything that humans eat.
Plants also attract ants, especially those that produce sweet nectar. Lastly, ants love their safety and comfortability and are always looking for better places to upgrade their nests. If that happens to be your home, then that is where they will settle.
Ants are attracted to water because they need it to survive. While they can go long without food, the deficiency of water is life-threatening. The attraction of ants to water increases when they are thirsty and during hot weather. They also like consuming special liquids, so they are more attracted to sugary and salty water more than regular water.
Joe is a freelance writer for FaunaFacts. Joe has written extensively about snakes for the site, but also contributes content about a range of animals.