Ants are attracted to honey. These small animals like to consume sweet things like sugar because of the energy these foods can provide.
Thus, being one of the sweetest natural food substances in the world, honey is definitely attractive to ants.
In most instances an open honey jar in the kitchen will be infested with ants. This is because once worker ants find it, they release pheromones that attract more ants to the location.
Why Are Ants Attracted to Honey?
Just like humans, ants are big fans of sugary foods. This is because sugary foods provide the body with energy, and also, they digest easily. Honey contains carbohydrates and proteins, which is exactly what ants desire in the foods that they consume.
70% of honey is a mixture of fructose and glucose, and the remaining 30% is made up of water, pollen, and minerals. The presence of water in honey is ideal for ants as the insects acquire most of their drinking water from the foods they eat. Generally, honey is nutritious to ants, insects that rarely bother with foods that do not add any value to them.
How Do Ants Find Honey?
Ants have worker ants whose tasks include scouting for food and water for the colony. While honey has a scent, these ants do not ‘sense’ or smell the honey. Instead, they find it by chance during their random search for food.
When the worker ants find the honey, they then carry it back to their colonies to feed the rest of the nest. All this while, the ants will leave pheromone behind to mark the trail. Pheromone is a hormone through which ants communicate with each other. Once the other ants follow the trail, they are able to find the source of the honey.
When these ants carry some more of it back to their nests, they leave more pheromone, which in turn guides more ants to the honey. Thus, the number of bees swarming the source of honey will keep increasing as time goes by.
Why Are Ants Not Attracted by Certain Types of Honey?
There is a common misconception that ants are not attracted to pure honey. However, truth is ants are more attracted to pure honey than one which contains additives.
This is because honey has more fructose than sugar, which makes it sweeter.
Nowadays, processed honey contain high amounts of artificial additives. This additives reduce the sweetness of the honey. Companies add additives to honey to reduce the cost of production and, as a result, increase the profit margin. This kind of honey is known as adulterated honey.
Adulterated honey contains additives such as inverted sugar, dextrose, molasses, corn syrup, and substances other than what is made and processed by honey bees. Honey laced with additives has reduced nutritious value as they provide no additional benefits to the honey itself.
It merely bulks it up for the purpose of making a profit. Therefore, ants tend to stay away from this type of honey in favor of the natural kind. This phenomenon is common with other insects as well. Flies and bees do not swarm stalls where the fruit is artificially processed. They keep off foods with preservatives.
How To Keep Ants Away from Honey
If you have had troubles with ants infesting your honey, you would want to take measures to ensure that it does not happen again. There are numerous ways to keep these pests away from your honey.
Hygiene is one of the ways to keep ants away. When you wipe away any honey spillages from your kitchen, the ants will not know there is honey in the room. You should also wipe clean the outside of your honey container.
Additionally, you could place the honey jar on top of a surface laced with cinnamon. Ants do not go anywhere near cinnamon and, therefore, they will not walk across it to reach the honey- it will be safe. Also, you could store the honey jar in a Ziploc bag, and no ant will come remotely close to it.
Ants are poor at swimming. While they can survive in water for long hours, they eventually die out. Therefore, keeping the honey jar in a bowl of water is a sure way to keep ants away. Alternatively, you can completely wrap up the honey jar in foil, covering all the spaces that ants could penetrate through.
How Do You Know That Honey Is 100% Pure?
It can be difficult to tell whether honey is totally pure because they all look the same- you can’t discern using the power of sight.
Natural honey is that which contains no added preservatives. It is wild, unprocessed, and 100% fully unadulterated. So how can you tell whether honey is pure?
The flame test: Pure honey is inflammable. For this method, dip a dry matchstick in honey, Then strike the same matchstick against a matchbox. If it lights, then your honey is pure. Adulterated honey will not light as it contains different additives and is contaminated with moisture.
The thumb test: This method requires you to put a small amount of honey on your thumb and see if it spills or stays put. Pure honey has a very high viscosity, so it does not drip away. If it spills, then it is likely to be impure.
Use of vinegar: Mix your honey with a few drops of vinegar essence and observe what happens. If the mixture produces foam, then the honey is adulterated. Pure honey does not react with vinegar.
The water test: When put in water, fake honey will dissolve. Pure honey, on the other hand, will sink to the bottom because of its high density compared to water.
The heat test: Pure honey caramelizes real fast when heated. As for adulterated honey, it will become foamy and bubbly when exposed to heat.
Ants are attracted to sweet things, and honey happens to be about the sweetest naturally occurring food substances. It contains fructose and glucose, which ants require for energy in their bodies. Honey also contains some water which is something that ants also look for in the foods they consume.
Ants are less attracted to honey that has added preservatives as it has less nutritional content. Generally, the purer the honey is, the more likely it will attract ants.
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.