Ants usually swarm around sugar or sweets, but rarely crowd around salty food. Ants are very fond of sweets, and have a keen sense of smell of honeydew and sugar. However, they do not eat sweets exclusively. |
While sweets supply energy for various activities of ants, food materials such as dead insects and plant seeds are also essential for ants as the nutritional sources of the components of their body structures.
When workers find pieces of solid food, they carry them back to the nest. On the other hand, when they find sweet liquid food such as honeydew, they store the liquid in the crop in their abdomen and walk back to the nest. When they reach the nest, they feed the liquid food in drops directly from their mouth to the mouth of other members of the nest.
Ants serve as living storage tanks
In the nests of honey pot ants, which live in Central America, there are special workers whose crops have turned into living storage tanks for honeydew.
Normal workers of the species collect honeydew and pump it into the living storage tanks until their abdomens are distended to many times the normal diameter. The tanks hang from the ceiling of the nest, and by the time they have distended to the maximum size possible, each has become a strange potbellied creature, which looks like a grape with a head and legs.
Did you ever wonder why ants seem to have a one-track mind for sweets? Leave a cookie on the counter in a kitchen that has become residence to some ants, and it's guaranteed that they'll find it—quickly.
So what is it with ants and their collective sweet tooth? Do ants even have teeth? No, they don't have teeth. They do, however, have a chemical sensory aid that directs them to the foods they love the most. It would be like you having a built-in radar device that beeps whenever you get within 50 yards of an ice cream shop.
Most ants eat a wide variety of foods, although some have specialized tastes. Fire ants feed on honeydew, sugars, proteins, oils, seeds, plants and insects.Ants use scouts to locate food. When a scouting ant finds promising food, she carries it or a piece of it back to the nest. Some ants leave scent trails that others can follow to the food source. Ants require water and will travel some distance for it if necessary. Workers are able to bring water to the colony in their stomachs.
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