Are Ants Attracted To Magnets?

Nature enthusiasts explore the remarkable behaviors of ants toward different objects. These insects have captivating responses towards magnets and the fields they created that play a crucial role in their life functions.

Are Ants Attracted To Magnets? Ants are attracted to magnets because they are sensitive to magnetic fields, which help them decide a direction for navigation and find a nest location. Moreover, they can also reach there during random exploration and due to chemical contamination, or it can be due to the presence of food and water sources near it.

A few people know about ants’ attraction to a magnet, which seems to be a weird thing because it cannot provide any food or nutrition to these insects, but they still reach it.

Metal-coated magnets also invite insects for the coating material but not for the internal part because they are rarely attracted to it.

Why are ants attracted to magnets?

Many things in nature have the potential to attract ants because these tiny creatures explore every corner of the planet for nutrition and hydration.

Different reasons account for such behavior and their sensitivity towards a magnetic field because they naturally rely on this force of attraction to make their lives easier.

Sensitive to magnetic fields

Ants follow Earth’s magnetic field to find their food as changes in the field alter their foraging behaviors.

Moreover, their bodies are sensitive to electric and magnetic fields, so they are attracted to electrical appliances.

These affect their foraging behavior and bring changes in their pattern of trails and even change the time for the formation of foraging trails by considering the intensity of these fields.

Some of these insect species begin to move in a direction opposite to the high-intensity field and avoid it, like those belonging to the Acromyrmex group.

However, Formica species relate this field with food sources and follow the directions to reach specific areas with food.

Find nest locations

Insects have to travel long distances away from the nests during foraging, which increases the risk of being lost, but astonishingly, they can remember the route.

It happens because they use visual cues, the sun’s direction, vibrations, and magnetic fields to return to their nests. Commonly, desert ants use these fields to navigate and find their nests.

Moreover, it can be a cue for orientation to reach their colonies after carrying food particles. So, this special attraction toward magnets can be their ability to sense and follow the field.

Random exploration

Commonly, they consider magnetic force as a force of attraction from a colony or a food source and try to reach it according to their natural behavior.

I saw ants in my handbag with a magnetic lock as they were crawling on this part, which made me think that they were attracted to it, but biscuits in bags were alluring. 

So there can be other things that attract ants.

Chemical contamination

They can get closer to magnets for their chemical coatings or the presence of contaminants that appeal to insects.

Sometimes, they get covered with sweet food residues and oily material that seems nutritious to tiny insects and invites them to get their food.

The food particles leave a lingering scent in the environment and entice ants from nearby colonies to eat the sweet residues and get nutrition.

In addition, metallic coatings on metals, like iron, zinc, and cadmium, can also allure them to a magnet because these ants can chew metal coating.


The presence of ants on magnetic hooks and clasps used for hanging art pieces and bag locks can also invite ants, but it can be a coincidence.

It means that they can reach it without intending to get close to it and are allured by other attractants in close proximity.

You can relate it to my experience of getting ants in my cupboard having magnetic latches, but the actual source of attraction was a box of chocolates and candies on a shelf.

So, you should check the presence of attractants close to it because insects’ presence can be a coincidence, and any other thing is inviting them.

How do you keep ants away from magnets?

You can keep ants away from the magnets by keeping the nearby areas clean because these insects are usually not attracted to them but to the dirt, debris, and food particles around them.

Accordingly, remove the food particles in areas close to it and clean the sweet residue coating to make them less attractive to insects.

In addition, some children’s toys have magnets in them that can also get contaminants and food particles because children have no idea about it and touch them while eating snacks.

So, you have to clean the toys before packing them back into cabinets, as food crumbs and the sweetness of the contaminants can allure the ants that can enter the cabinets.

In the same way, the door latches also have magnets, and dirty knobs can be inviting for insects when you open and close the door with dirty hands and do not clean them.

They can also get inside the pet cages if there is water or a food source inside it, so you have to keep their cages clean to avoid their entries.

Moreover, you can use repelling scents to keep them away, as vinegar spray and peppermint sprays are good at repelling insects.

Furthermore, you should find a permanent solution to remove these insects from a house and follow the preventive measures to deter them.

What type of ants get attracted to magnets?

Different species of ants have varying extents of attraction toward magnets, and a few of these insects also avoid contact with high magnetic field intensity.

It depends on their level of exposure and habitat because insects living in open areas like forests, woodlands, and deserts usually rely on nature for survival.

Similarly, the Saharan silver ant lives in the desert and cannot rely on visual cues to find their nests and return home due to the absence of plants and other landscapes.

They use its fields as cues for navigation and returning home and help avoid the risk of getting lost in the desert.

However, these also affect Solenopsis invicta species (red imported ants) as they change the pattern and time for creating a foraging trail according to the magnetic field.

In addition, the European redwood ant uses geomagnetic fields to locate a food source and follow specific directions to reach the food.

Leafcutter ants are also sensitive toward it but avoid exploring areas of high field intensity and turn their heads in opposite directions.

Moreover, they serve as an orientation cue for weavers, hairy panthers, and desert ants that can help them find nests in case their visual cues do not support them.

Related Articles:

What attracts ants to a humidifier?

Can You Use Cornmeal To Get Rid Of Ants?