Ants are interesting creatures. They are ubiquitous and irritating. But do they really like sugar because it appears that they are eating almost anything?
To learn why ants like sugar, some enterprising individuals conducted their own science experiments. They also wanted to see the types of sweets that ants will prefer and why do ants like sugar vs. artificial sweeteners.
Do Ants prefer Sugar or Artificial sweeteners: Ants and Sugar experiment
In one such experiment, a mother conducted a science experiment with her children since they would like to know the type of sweeteners that are the favorite of most ants. They tested various types of sugar to determine which one of them the ants will prefer. The results surprised those who conducted the experiments.
These Are The Materials Used In The Experiment
The mother and her children prepared the following materials before they conducted the science experiment.
- A pile of ants in their yard
- A few bottle caps
- An assortment of sugar types including white sugar, candy sprinkles, blue sugar and aspartame
The Steps Involved In The Experiment
Here are the steps that the mother and her kids took in conducting the science experiment.
Step 1 – Each of the bottle caps were filled separately with the different types of sugar.
Step 2 – The caps were taken outside the house and placed near the ant pile
Step 3 – They waited for three hours to see which of the bottle caps were frequented most by the ants. The ants near or lingering around each bottle cap were counted.
The Results Are Out
The experimenters found out that there are more ants lingering around the blue sugar and liquid sugar. They noticed that the ants were carrying the blue sugar from the ant pile back to their nest. The mother and her children were also surprised that a week later, they discovered more ant piles around the area of their original experiment. It appears that word of mouth spread among the ants and they are eager to scavenge for more food for their colonies.
Here Is The Lesson Learned
The mother previously has the notion that most ants will prefer natural sugar more than artificial sugar. But the science experiment she did with her kids proved otherwise. Her experiment revealed that fake sugar and liquid sugar are the most popular with her ant pile. The blue sugar has more ant visitors than regular sugar.
Her children also noticed that the candy sprinkles were largely ignored by the ants. They surmised that since they are covered with coatings that are hard to crack, the ants started getting the easily accessible sugar before going to the more difficult ones.
Here is a video of another experiment which aims to discover the same things that this science experiment was able to uncover. It is a long video but you should watch it if you want to see if it will produce the same results as the first experiment.
Why do Ants like Sweets and Sugar?
By observing ants, you can readily deduce that they really like sugar. Even scientific studies lend credence to this concept.
Ants scavenge for their food using their antennas and their eyes. They touch the food with their antennas to see if they can eat it or not. Their antennas also enable them to check the chemical composition of a particular food.
The Arizona State University School of Life Sciences has forwarded the theory that proposes that ants like sugar and sweet things because of the energy that they can get from them. As such, these little creatures have developed the ability to easily break down the sugar molecules, so that they can search for more to acquire more energy in building their nests.
Ants prefer sugar than carbs because they are looking for a protein that can best feed their eggs and their larvae. As is common to them, ants encountering food in their regular hunts carry them back to their colonies to feed the rest of their ilk.
Ants also scavenge liquid foods which they can store in their gasters. When they return to their nests, they will regurgitate these liquid foods and let the other ants take them directly into their mouths.
Worker ants prefer sugary solutions than actual or solid sugar. The reason is that they have difficulty in swallowing solid foods. Therefore they will prefer sugar in liquid form than regular sugar in solid form.
What type of Sugar do ants like best: Do Ants Prefer Honey Or Sugar?
Now you know the answer as to which type of sweets ants prefer. Many people are wondering whether ants will choose honey over sugar if they are given a choice. If given a choice, ants will prefer honey over solid sugar because it is easier for them to process.
Ants are generally attracted to sugar and sweets. To ants, sugar means energy. Sugar is valuable food for ants because it is packed with calories. Ants are well-known as hard workers. Therefore, they need high-energy foods compared to other insects which do not spend so much energy during their short lifetimes.
Ants are always hunting for food, not just for themselves but for whole colonies day in and day out. They seldom rest during their normal working day. Ants possess the instinct to know that sugar is the edible version of energy. So they will hunt far and wide for this valuable food source.
Sugar is also easier to carry because compared to other foods, it is lighter in weight. Even if ants are able to carry foods more than twice their weights, if they find food that are lighter, they would choose it over the heavier one. That’s only practical and logical.
What Is The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter?
Now that you know that ants would prefer liquid sugar over solid sugar, you are in a better position to control them if your house is infested with ants.
It is very clear that the best way to eliminate them is to use bait that contains honey or any liquid sugar instead of just plain household sugar. If you mix liquid sugar with borax, you will have a more effective ant exterminator.