Many people prefer to add carrots to their diet, but ants have different food requirements.
Do Ants Eat Carrots? Ants avoid eating carrots because they are difficult to digest. It has low nutritional value, but these insects can reach the plant for aphids and build tunnels in it. In addition, its juice can attract these insects as it contains natural sugars.
You can check ants to know whether they are eating or just sitting on the carrot by blowing air close to them. They will be displaced from their location if their mandibles do not hold them.
Why do ants not eat carrots?
Carrots are considered a good source of nutrition for rabbits, but ants have different choices as they prefer foods with high energy value.
Accordingly, it happens rarely that you find these insects eating the chewed pieces of this vegetable as they prefer to carbohydrate-rich foods.
Difficult to digest
Ants prefer food material that can be easily consumed and digested without posing any stress on their simpler stomachs. Therefore, they avoid fiber-rich food that can create problems in digestion.
In addition, carrots are heavily loaded with fiber, take time to get digested, and absorb nutrients from ingested food at a rate lower than moderate levels.
These insects have to suffer from a slower digestion process as their stomach has to make more effort to absorb essential elements.
They need food that can get readily metabolized and provide them with energy. Accordingly, you cannot find them chewing fibers with high fiber content.
Low nutritional value
Carrots contain a high amount of fiber and water in addition to carbohydrates, which are in the form of natural sugars. As a result, their juices have a high amount of sugar and attract insects.
You can probably see these insects crawling in a long trail if they find a spilled drop of their juice on the floor. However, the fiber material obtained after extracting juice is of no value to them.
It contains almost 85 to 90% water, which can help overcome these insects’ thirst when they suck moisture from it. In addition, it has small quantities of minerals like magnesium and iron.
Not a primary choice
Ants have multiple food choices as they are omnivores that can consume both plant and animal food and quickly shift their diets to animal sources when plant-based foods are scarce.
They can get nutrients from the stem sap and leaves in addition to fruits loaded with natural sugars like fructose and glucose. Moreover, they can also consume artificial products after fermentation.
Additionally, you can find a few of these insects enjoying the dead bodies of cockroaches, lizards, frogs, termites, caterpillars, spiders, etc.
It does not make sense for these insects to choose carrots over these nutritional food sources, so they avoid pieces of these vegetables even when left openly in the kitchen.
Why are some ants attracted to carrots?
Many people see ants on carrots due to the following reasons.
Suitable for hydration
These vegetables are only considered suitable to overcome thirst as they have high water content. These insects can hydrate their bodies with juice when they bite using mandibles and get juice.
You can find some insects chewing the carrots without intending to eat the shredded pieces. Instead, they chew it only to suck the juice and reach the inside area while sucking the juice.
Many people wonder to see these insects on a dry carrot, but it contains moisture that is considered enough to hydrate their tiny bodies.
Get honeydew from aphids
Carrots are prone to aphid attacks that can affect the vegetable’s nutritional value by causing leaf discoloration. In addition, these crop pests can cause structural damage and reduce crop quality.
They are symbiotically associated with ants and attract them to the plant even if they have nothing to eat from the plant. These plant pests are beneficial for each other but harmful to the plant.
So, these tiny insects can reach the plant due to aphids as they need honeydew, which is sugary secretion, to keep themselves active.
Better for tunneling
It is interesting to know the reasons for the presence of ants on the carrots if they are not interested in eating them. You can get to know the reasons for these insects after careful observation.
Get closer to these insects moving on this vegetable, see whether they are only chewing the material, and observe their movement patterns.
Most commonly, these can make deep tunnels-like structures within it as they naturally create in their underground nests. This tunneling behavior can be for the protection of aphids.
They have to protect aphids from foreign attacks, so they build tunnels within it to secure their eggs from attack.
Some people think they can prepare a nesting for themselves, but it is not the case because they build permanent nests at safe locations.
How do you keep ants away from carrots?
It is essential to keep ants away from the carrots if you do not want them to cause destruction. This is because they can make it hollow from the inside by chewing the material and throwing it out.
These insects can reach there when there is no water in the soil and the ground is dry. Therefore, they have the risk of flooding and prefer to stay away from watery areas having excessive moisture.
You can get rid of these tiny creatures or nuisance pests by increasing the humidity level and keeping the soil wet, creating an uncomfortable environment for them.
Moreover, it is better to deal with the root cause and remove aphids to stop other insects from getting attracted to these honeydew-producing insects.
Keep the vegetables in the fridge when not in use and clean the spills of juice to keep these indoor pests at a distance.
Furthermore, you can use toxic and unpleasant substances around the plant, like diatomaceous earth and chalk, to create a repelling boundary for them.
Do ants eat carrot seedlings or seeds?
Ants have no interest in eating the carrot plant directly as these garden pests prefer to live close to the roots to get nutrition from the soil.
They do not directly damage plants but protect aphids or crop-damaging pests and ensure their survival. Moreover, they do not attack fresh seedlings or even mature plants for food.
However, freshly sown seeds can gain their attention as they prefer to store seeds in their nests for winter use. They steal seeds from the soil and carry them inside the nest.
Accordingly, the seeds are broken apart, and the elaiosome part gets separated while the remaining part of the seed is thrown out of the nest by these insects.
You can find western harvester ants close to the roots as these suck moisture from this vegetable and are of no use when there is no water left inside.