Many people find it easy to kill ants in an airtight plastic bag to get rid of them. However, it is a little bit tricky to bring ants inside a bag.
Can You Suffocate Ants in Plastic Bag? You can suffocate ants in a plastic bag having a zip-lock made of thick plastic material by keeping them inside for a long time. You have to add cornstarch inside a bag as they cannot digest it and die immediately. Baby powder can also block the spiracles and suffocate them. In addition, they can die after 22 to 24 hours due to suffocation as their bodies tolerate a deficiency of oxygen for a short time.
It is possible to suffocate insects like ants that breathe from spiracles by clogging the pores in their exoskeletons. Moreover, they cannot survive without oxygen for long and die after some time.
Do ants need oxygen to breathe?
Ants need oxygen like most of the other living organisms on this planet that need to survive. However, higher animals need more oxygen for survival than ants due to their fast metabolic rate.
Their bodies are small and need a small amount of oxygen to enter through spiracles. These spiracles are small openings on the exoskeleton that provide a route for air to pass.
Moreover, they do not have a complex respiratory system, as there is no space to accommodate the lungs.
Therefore, they have developed a different mechanism for transporting oxygen to internal organs.
The number of spiracles varies in each species of ants, as some have nine pairs of spiracles on the sides of exoskeletons, while a few have ten pairs.
Accordingly, these are connected to fine tubes called trachea that help transport oxygen to their bodies. In addition, their cells allow internal respiration and generate energy through an oxidative process.
Furthermore, they are not dependent on the lungs and breathe through a diffusion process in which oxygen gets diffused into the spiracle and transferred to internal organs through the trachea.
So, these insects need oxygen to survive, but a small amount of oxygen is sufficient, and they can even live without oxygen for some time.
Why would you suffocate ants in a plastic bag?
Many people keep finding alternate methods to get rid of the ants that can destroy the house and consume eatables. It can ruin the stored food and wiring in addition to window seals.
The wooden furniture can be at risk of being chewed by the carpenter ants, while some species are good at destroying the garden by living inside pots.
Therefore, it is essential to remove these insects using sprays or natural repellants. However, some people try to suffocate them in a plastic bag, so the whole colony dies.
It is not good to squish them using your hand as their dead bodies release a particular smell that can attract more ants in the garden or inside the building.
The pesticide sprays and dusting of natural repelling powders are not so effective choices for managing a large population.
This destructive nature of insects can make you think about suffocating these insects using plastic bags, as they cannot live without oxygen.
It is an excellent decision to make them deficient of oxygen, but you have to understand their chewing abilities, which allow them to make a hole in a bag.
So, you can use only a thick plastic bag that is zip-locked so that these tiny creatures do not find a way to get out of it.
How do you suffocate ants in a plastic bag?
You have to devise a few other strategies when you want to suffocate ants in a plastic bag. A thin plastic bag is insufficient to get rid of these tiny insects as they are known to be excellent chewers and make holes in them.
A thick bag having attractive food for these insects can become their death spot. Moreover, you can put an ant bait inside it that can be a mixture of boric acid and sugar.
In addition, baby powder is also suitable for causing suffocation as it clogs their spiracles, blocks the air route, and restricts the entry of oxygen.
You can also use corn starch to suffocate the ants by adding it to the bag, as they cannot digest starch and die immediately.
It is better to seal the opening and dispose of the bag out of the house before they try to get out of it or begin to release chemical signals for help.
Furthermore, adding water to cornstarch works well as this mixture turns into a cement-like material that can kill ants immediately.
What happens when you suffocate ants in a plastic bag?
You can see ants thriving for survival when you bring them inside the plastic bag and lock it completely. However, these insects can get disturbed when they find no way to get out of it.
Moreover, they can survive for hours without getting oxygen as they have air sacs that can store oxygen for later use.
These air sacs are present at the end of the tracheal tube and slowly transport oxygen to internal organs. Their metabolic system is not complex and works slowly, requiring less oxygen.
They usually close their spiracles when air is not passing inside their body and store the oxygen, which is consumed slowly.
Furthermore, they try to chew the material using sharp mandibles and make holes to find their way to get out of it.
However, they cannot survive for a long time in a plastic bag and die when there is no spot for entry of air.
How long can ants survive in a plastic bag?
Ants can survive in a plastic bag for a few hours. For example, when you add cornstarch to the bag, it takes almost 2 to 3 hours for these insects to die.
Moreover, you have to keep ants inside the bag for almost 22 to 24 hours to suffocate them; that is only possible when you use airtight containers or thick bags.
These bags do not allow air to pass through them, which can cause their death, as it is not possible for them to survive without oxygen for more than a day.
Furthermore, they can live without moisture and food but only for a short duration.
They can die within 5 to 10 days when you do not provide the required nutrition to them, as their bodies demand healthy nutrients for proper functioning.