Many species of ants are annoying intruders that can reach indoor areas for sweet or greasy food, depending on their dietary habits.
Are Ants Attracted To Grease? Ants are attracted to grease as it provides high energy content, a variety of nutrients, and moisture. It can also become attractive due to seasonal changes in diet or chemical signals. Thief ants and sugar ants can detect the attractive scent of grease and reach the food or other products.
Some ants prefer to consume protein or fat-rich foods and converge around the grease stains on the surfaces. These stains allure their receptors and catch the attention of nearby navigating insects.
Why are ants attracted to grease?
They are attracted to greasy foods and stains on the floor because they obtain nutrients and energy from them. It is a primary food source for a few species, as their diet relies on it.
Greases are usually a rich source of nutrients, providing energy to tiny insects. They can efficiently perform tasks if their bodies produce plenty of energy.
Its high energy content makes it a desirable food source for some species of ants that consider it a primary food source and get attracted to it.
I found a large number of thief ants crawling on the wrappers of fast food in the trash bin, as they consume grease stains from wrappers.
It can also become a source of moisture for small insects due to oils containing traces of water. Almost 1500 to 3000ppm of water is present in free, dissolved, and emulsified greases.
So, these insects can fulfill their fats, oils, and water requirements by consuming greasy food items. Some of these insects are often seen attacking foods like fries, butter, and cheese.
They are also attracted to such foods due to chemical signals or pheromone trails in the nearby areas. Probably, other ants pass through the same spot before some time and leave secretions.
Accordingly, other fellow ants detect the signal of secretions and make long trails to reach there. Commonly, it is not an incidental exposure, as they detect the odor of food and reach the spot.
Furthermore, seasonal changes occur in their dietary habits during summer and winter, as they avoid greasy food in winter and consume it in the summer.
So, they are attracted to greasy food due to seasonal changes in their diet, when these insects switch from carbohydrate-rich food to protein-rich foods.
Can ants smell grease?
Ants can detect the odor of grease using sensitive olfactory receptors that can capture odor molecules and differentiate them. The oils and additives give a defined aroma to it.
Bacon grease has a meaty smell that turns into a fishy or sour smell after spoiling. In addition, other types have putrid odors depending on the type of additives added to them.
Its scent acts as a signal for insects and directs them to a food source. A large number of insects begin to follow the direction of odor molecules and converge on the food source.
Moreover, their primary goal is to locate food sources to sustain their lives for long and avoid death due to starvation. They break greasy food into small pieces and take them back to their nests.
It is not possible for these smaller insects to reach it without the sensitivity of smell receptors to this type of food.
In addition, the smell of food helps them choose the right type of food for them and determines the direction of movement.
What type of ants are attracted to grease?
Most commonly, thief ants like to eat grease and they are attracted to it because they primarily obtain nutrition from this food source and are named grease ants for their dietary behavior.
These insects are native to Iowa and are present indoors and navigate kitchen areas and trash bins for food sources. These yellowish or brown insects infest indoors and make nests in wall cracks.
They also get inside the small gaps in floors, walls, and cabinets and hide behind the baseboards. They prefer to eat grease, meat, and fat-rich foods.
In addition, some of their species can also reach oily food items when they have no other option available in their surrounding areas.
One of my friends found a large number of tiny black ants converging on a stain of grease present on the countertop. It shows their interest in eating and getting nutrition from it.
Shortage of desired food can lead to an attack on the secondary sources to fulfill their body requirements for nutrition that are considered essential for survival.
Accordingly, you can see pavement ants, pharaoh ants, argentine ants, odorous house ants, and many other indoor or outdoor species of ants on greasy stains.
Furthermore, sugar ants also eat grease and get attracted to it when they do not have access to sugary food items. It can be a sudden switch of diet or a seasonal change to get nutrition.
How do I get rid of ants that like grease?
It is challenging to control the population of thief ants that are persistent in their actions and reach small spaces due to their tiny body size.
You can get rid of these ants by using it as an attractant in the baits. These baits are pretty effective at controlling the population of thief ants.
Mix boric acid in peanut butter to attract ants, as their odor receptors are sensitive to the smell of grease. Mix them well to create a homogenous paste that can allure nearby insects.
You can also replace peanut butter with vegetable oil, as both have a greasy nature and are equally attractive to insects. Vegetable oil baits are more attractive to insects due to their liquid nature.
Take a small piece of wax paper or masking tape and put a small amount of boric acid on it. Add a few drops of oil onto it and mix them well with a small spatula.
After that, put the wax papers in areas of high activity to do their magical killing actions. Baits take some time to work and kill the insects but remove them permanently.
Furthermore, you can put some repelling substances in infestation areas to deter insects from the house. Hire an exterminator to control the insect’s population without interfering with their mounds.
Are grease ants dangerous for humans?
Grease ants are not considered dangerous for humans because they cannot sting or bite them hard after injecting stinger or dipping teeth into the skin.
Their small bodies possess tiny stingers that cannot inject a large content of venom into the body after piercing the layer of skin.
In addition, they cannot inject stingers deeper into the body tissues and cannot puncture the skin layer. In the same way, their teeth cannot bite with a strong force to cause pain.
They are only responsible for causing a nuisance inside the home, as they reach greasy foods like cheese, butter, peanut butter, and other fried foods.
Severe infestations can lead to structural damage because they hide behind baseboards and infest small cracks or gaps in the walls, affecting the stability of walls.
Accordingly, they can cause damage to the foundation of the house and affect its stability.
So, it is essential to remove the grease ants’ population from the house and protect the property from damage using insecticidal sprays or natural baits.