What Carpenter Ants Actually Do With Food

What Carpenter Ants Actually Do With Food

An infestation of carpenter ants can damage your property, but Four Seasons pest control can resolve it or potentially even prevent it. Carpenter ants infest homes because the wood they need to make nests is often soft and pliable. The home gives ready access to the food that carpenter ants need to survive.

What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?

Carpenter ants eat different things at different ages. Adults primarily consume sugars from which they derive energy. In fact, ants do not so much eat their food as drink it in the form of nectar, fruit juice, or spilled soft drinks. As they chew food, the moisture is released and they sustain themselves with that. Ant larvae are different. They require protein to mature into adults and rely on food that the adults bring home to them.

Which Ants Are Responsible for Finding Food and Bringing It Back to the Nest?

In every ant colony, there are several different roles that various members of the colony fulfill. The role of finding food is the responsibility of the scout ants, which venture out from the nest in search of food. The scout ants just find the food, they don’t bring it back to the nest. Instead, they call the worker ants to collect the food and bring it back to the colony.

How Do the Worker Ants Collect and Store Food?

When worker ants find solid food, such as the carcass of a deceased insect, they work together to break it apart and carry it back to the nest for the larvae to feed on. However, because the sugary liquids on which the adults feed cannot be carried in this fashion, the worker ants store it in a special stomach.

Ants actually have two stomachs. The food it eats for itself goes to its personal stomach, reserved for its own use. Food for the colony goes to a social stomach, stored until the ant gets back to the colony. Worker ants can then feed others in the colony with the food stored in their social stomachs through mouth-to-mouth contact. In other words, the worker ants regurgitate the food stored in their social stomachs to feed to the other ants. The other ants may also feed through mouth-to-anus contact. The food stored in the worker ant’s social stomach passes through the abdomen rather than being regurgitated.

How Do Adult Ants Feed Their Larvae and Vice Versa?

Adult ants do not eat solid food, and if you take a good look at their bodies, you can see why. Their waists are very thin, so even if they could swallow solid food, it wouldn’t be able to pass to their abdomens for digestion. Therefore, if you see ants bringing solid food back to the nest, it is for the benefit of their young. The diet of the larvae consists primarily of solid proteins.

The larvae are confined to the nest and cannot go out and find their own food. Therefore, the adult workers of the colony are responsible for feeding them. At the same time, the responsibility is also reciprocal. The larvae have the same ability for mouth-to-mouth feeding that adults have.  Hence, they eat the solid food and predigest it, then they can regurgitate the liquid back into their mouths in a form that adults can eat. This is a way that adult ants can receive protein.

How Does Four Seasons Pest Control Help With Carpenter Ants?

Certain pests are more active at particular times of the year and may engage in predictable behaviour during each season. Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons pest control can help with carpenter ant removal in PEI with techniques designed for each season. Find out more about our approach.