Ants eat insects as well as the eggs of other insects. They also eat milk from aphids, small livings, plant sap, other small Hemiptera, dead invertebrates, and various fruits in the wild.
Ants bring a wide variety of sweets, meat, animal feed and fats to our homes and add them to their food menu. They eat almost everything that humans eat. But since ants need protein in their diet, the best option for them is to eat other insects and animals.
In addition, ants are scavengers that do not miss the opportunity to eat insects and dead animal carcasses. As a result, ants are more likely to be found next to a dead insect or animal.
What Insects do Ants Eat?
All insects contain fats and proteins that ants can consume for energy and sustenance. Insects that ants eat include termites, cockroaches, and flies.
Ants usually get most of their food from opportunistic feeding, for example, when insects are injured and unable to move or defend themselves. Or when ants approach insects that have recently been killed by other means.
a) Do Ants Eat Cockroaches?
Yes, ants do eat cockroaches. They will usually eat a roach that is dead or injured. The worker ants will swarm the insect and tear pieces off its body.
The ants will then run the meat back to the nest where the food is shared with the other ants inside the colony. This includes the queen ant, who is fed by her workers.
b) Do Ants Eat Flies?
Yes, ants will eat flies. They won’t hunt a fly because it’s too fast and can fly away. But if they find the fresh carcass of a fly, they will swarm it and take meat back to the colony.
They often won’t wait for the fly to die before eating it. If a fly is caught on its back and can’t flip over, ants will take advantage of that and attack. This is shown in this video:
c) Do Ants Eat Mosquitoes?
Yes, ants will eat mosquitoes. Like flies, mosquitoes can usually evade ants by flying away, but a dead mosquito will certainly be consumed by ants if they find it dying or freshly dead.
Despite the fact mosquitoes have less meat on their bodies, ants will still take what they can and then move on to find more food.
d) Do Ants Eat Butterflies?
Yes, ants do eat butterflies. They will usually eat a butterfly whose wing has been broken, leaving it helpless on the ground for ants to swarm and consume.
The footage below shows a HD timelapse of ants swarming a butterfly. They will take small pieces of the meat back to the colony rather than consuming it on the spot.
e) Do Ants Eat Moths?
Yes, ants do eat moths. If there is a freshly dead or dying moth on your windowsill, you may find ants coming in through the window to consume the animal. They will prefer it alive so the meat is fresh, and the ants as a swarm will complete the kill.
Read Also: Do Ants Eat Worms?
Why do Ants Eat Insects?
Ants eat insects because they are rich in protein and fats.
Carpenter ants love to eat bugs such as termites in their own nests. Fire ants are another example of ant species that love to feed on insects.
To eat their prey, fire ants bite and cut it into tiny pieces, which are then transported back to their colony, where they consume the rest of the colony’s food.
Read More: Do Flying Ants Bite?
Fire ants feed on insects at various stages of life, including flea larvae and cockroach eggs. Fire ants are attracted to insects and worms because of the oils they contain. This is the leading cause why oil is frequently used as bait to control fire ants and other ant species.
Read Also: Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?
How do ants Eat Insects?
Ants kill insects in a variety of ways.
One of the most exciting aspects of what ants eat is how they “raise” other insects for mutual benefit. Aphids are an example of this association.
Honeydew, a tasty liquid produced by aphids or green flies, is a favorite of ants. Aphids damage the stems of roses, which is well known to most gardeners. However, ants love the honeydew that this aphid produces.
For example, Lasius niger breeds aphids by placing them on the desired items and protecting them from predators such as ladybugs.
In response, the aphid will create sweet honeydew that the ant will eat.
Aphids also enter the nests of some ant species, such as Lasius flavus, to feed on living roots that are exposed during the construction of their nests.
Related: Do Ants Eat Worms?
Carnivorous ants have evolved systems that allow them to attack and eat larger organisms such as insects.
Predatory ants inject a toxic substance into the victim’s body, freezing and paralyzing the prey. Predators cannot transfer the entire insect back to the colony since it is several times larger than ants.
As a result, the ants chop the insects into pieces, and all the worker ants help bring food back to their nests.
Cannibalism is also a trait of several ant species. An army of ants, for example, might attack the nests of other colonies and eat their eggs or even the young ones.
There are times when things are quite difficult. Some of these circumstances are linked to hunger or a lack of food. The queen ant will feed on her offspring if these scenarios exist.
Scavenging is the primary way ants get food. Worker ants are sent out to find food scraps that can be brought back to the colony.
When an ant finds a good source of food, the ants will send out an army to collect that food and bring it back to the colony.
You can see those lines of ants heading out to a known food source and coming back to the nest. They’re very industrious and send ants out in large numbers to take that food and bring it back to the colony as fast as possible.
Related: Do Ants Eat Grass?
What do Ants do with Dead Insects?
Ants will eat dead insects that they may come across in your yard. They usually helped each other in transporting the deceased animal to the colony, where it could be shared.
This food can also be stored for later consumption.
Ants’ ability to carry objects fifty times their own size aids them tremendously in relocating the food.
Everyone knows that almost everything attracts ants! Their favorite meal is sugary and sweet. But ants also eat insects, small animals, plants and other dead animals.
They eat by lifting food with their lower jaws and then squeezing it out with saliva. In other cases, they love to bring food for other ants to eat. In addition to sugar, ants need fats and protein to survive, so they eat other animals and insects.
Common insects that ants eat are termites, cockroaches and spiders. When something gets out of hands, such as hunger or lack of food, they even eat other ants. Ants are adorable creatures, especially when looking for food.
Ants don’t hesitate to loot your pantry or cupboards, so keep foods like cereal boxes and sugar bowls well-packed (assuming you don’t want to share).