Bed bugs are reddish-brown colored parasitic insects, and they live inside mattresses or box springs.
Do Ants Eat Bed Bugs? Ants eat bed bugs to get nutrition from their dead bodies to fulfill their protein requirements. Moreover, fire ants, argentine ants, and pharaoh ants act as scavengers and prefer to consume only dead ones. Furthermore, it is not an effective method to use ants to control the bed bug population.
There are many ways to control the bed bugs population; you have to apply heat on the mattress cover and wash the bed sheets frequently to avoid their entry.
Ants are predators of bed bugs and can help control their population, but it is not an ideal solution to choose to remove them as they can create chaos inside the house.
Why do ants eat bed bugs?
Ants can consume almost everything that is easy to capture, break down, and digest and never leave a chance to eat and store food in their stomach.
Moreover, they usually search for sweet food items like sugar syrup, honey, and candies to fulfill their body’s carbohydrate requirements.
However, they have to attack insects to get proteins; otherwise, their bodies lack protein, which directly affects their growth rate.
It is challenging for these tiny insects to search and locate the worms and bugs as they live in hiding spots and are a good nutrition source.
Their bodies are rich in protein and have a low percentage of carbohydrates and other minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium.
In addition, proteins are essential for the expansion of the colony and help improve the growth rate of larvae. A group of these tiny insects attacks them after detecting the smell of the dead ones.
They will break their bodies apart, eat them for nutrition, and store the food in their stomach or crops.
Furthermore, some of the workers can manage to drag their bodies to their nests to use them as a long-term food source.
How do ants eat bed bugs?
Ants cannot kill bed bugs as it is challenging to locate these smaller insects, and they only like to eat them when they are dead.
It is challenging to find them as they remain inside their hiding spots and come out only when they need food. It is observed that they can survive without food for almost a year.
Moreover, they are active at night when few of the ants’ species prefer to remain inside their tunnels, which reduces the chances of their contact.
Ants can scavenge in areas where they can freely move without any hindrance, and bed bugs mostly remain in their hiding spots, which means they are at less risk of attack.
In addition, these insects usually surround bed bugs’ dead bodies or any other food source from all sides; that is a typical behavior, as you have probably seen them eating a chunk of fruit.
The tiny spaces within mattresses, seams, and box springs do not provide enough space for these insects they can attack even after reaching them.
So, a group of these insects can act as scavengers when they find a dead bed bug on the floor and attack collectively to fulfill their nutrient requirements.
What type of ants can eat bed bugs?
Many ant species feed on dead bugs, including pharaoh ants, that have varying diets and can easily switch from carbohydrates to protein-rich diets.
This switching helps them maintain a balance of nutrients in their bodies, as excess carbohydrates and proteins can reduce their lifespan and affect energy levels.
Pharaoh ants are not good hunters and eat bugs only when they are readily available, as they have many other options to be used as a source of nutrition.
Moreover, red imported and European fire ants are found to be interested in scavenging bed bugs, which are the deadliest household ants due to their stings, leading to a burning sensation.
Additionally, this species is known for its scavenging capabilities as they are omnivorous, feeds on plants and living or dead animals, and consumes dead organic matter.
So, they can attack bed bugs when they are found to be roaming on the bed during the day or night or if their dead bodies are present on the floor.
In addition, the argentine ants also need proteins and break down their bodies into simpler compounds to extract nutritive elements from prey.
It seems like a feast when they find a dead bug on the floor and attack immediately to meet the deficiency of proteins in their bodies, as it rarely happens that they find a dead insect.
Most commonly, they have to struggle to hunt and capture the prey as it needs a group effort to get a better grip on the insects.
So, these three types of ants are found to be the common predators of bed bugs, but it is better to consider them scavengers as they attack dead bugs.
Can you use ants to control the bed bugs population?
It is not recommended to use ants to control the population of bed bugs instead of knowing that they can help get rid of these bloodsuckers.
Moreover, it is challenging for them to reach these insects because bugs prefer to live in hidden places and do not come out of the mattresses or wall spaces until they need food.
They are usually present in the tight cracks of walls and furniture that make it difficult for predators to access and fight to kill them, so ants cannot locate them quickly.
In addition, they are challenging to control when you introduce them as predators. Bed bugs are more dangerous, but it does not mean you need to introduce any other pest to control them.
They can cause disturbance by entering the trash bin, dirty dishes, food items, and laundry, and most importantly, they are responsible for structural damage.
Furthermore, ants can enter deep inside the wooden structures to build tunnels and go deep into the ground to form underground nests.
It is easy for these nuisance pests to reach the area under the baseboard, damage drywall, and create a hole in the walls to live inside the crack.
They can be responsible for a short circuit as they are attracted to electrical wires and electronic appliances and chew the rubber coat over wires.
Some of their species are invasive and harm humans by attacking their kitchens and bathrooms as food and water attract them.
Likewise, you have to hire a professional exterminator for ants, and even this chemical treatment does not ensure that they will not come back again.
So, it is better not to introduce them in your homes to get rid of bugs because it is not an effective solution to your problem, and even these can cause much annoyance.