Many ant species get attracted to pet food and reach inside the cage or get closer to the aquarium.
Do Ants Eat Fish Food? Ants can eat fish food because it has a pleasant aroma that can bring these insects closer to these flakes or pellets. You can secure it by covering it with ant repellents or keeping them inside an airtight container.
It is easy to bring your favorite pet inside the home, but you have to make more effort to keep it safe from predators and infections.
Ants are common indoor pests that can cause food contamination, so you have to protect them from their attack.
Why do ants eat fish food?
You can see a long trail of ants moving toward the source, having pleasing aromas as they consider sweet things suitable to eat. In addition, they can also get attracted to salty stuff.
A can of fish food in the cabinet can capture these insects’ attention as they search for nutrition and rarely choose salty substances to add to their diet.
These flakes or pellets taste salty and fishy, but the texture is similar to rice paper. The scent of fish meat is so strong that you can smell an uncooked piece of meat in any part of the house.
Moreover, the flakes are prepared with the same taste and odor that can excite the receptors of insects and make them reach the can, particularly when it is opened.
They do not take more than a few minutes or hours to detect and locate a reliable source in their territory. Additionally, they are a rich source of protein and allow larvae to grow well.
The pellets have no fiber, but they are loaded with a high concentration of other nutrients.
For example, almost 20 to 50% of commercial fish foods contain proteins and 10 to 20% carbohydrates.
In addition, the lipids and phosphorous are almost 12 to 25% and 7 to 8% in addition to traces of other essential elements, including minerals ad healthy vitamins.
So, it provides a good source of nutrition to these insects as they do not have to get each nutrient from a different source and consume the pellet to absorb various nutrients.
How do ants eat fish food?
Ants have to carry the fish food back to the nest as they cannot consume the whole pellet on the spot. However, it can be stored within nest chambers to be used in unfavorable weather.
They prefer to consume the liquid stuff and store it in their abdomen, while solid particles are usually carried back to the nest.
The workers have sharp mandibles to break bigger pellets having a diameter of around 1.5 to 4.5 mm. It is not easy to open up the mouth large enough to fit the whole pellet inside.
So, they will break the pellet into multiple parts for easier consumption and convenient hauling. They chew flakes and convert them into fine particles by reducing their surface area.
They can easily carry each pellet as 100 pellets have 5.5g weight, meaning each pellet has 5500mg weight. It means each insect has 55mg weight if carrying a single pellet.
It is not challenging to load a single pellet on their back or fix them inside their mouth. They can carry 50 times their body weight without any serious damage.
The average weight of an ant is 2 to 5mg, which means every insect can carry almost 100mg to 250mg weight by locking the particle within its jaws.
Accordingly, the pellets of 55mg weight are not considered heavier to haul and carry to fill their nests. Instead, other non-foraging workers break the particle into smaller parts and feed the colony.
What type of fish food attracts ants?
You can find different types of fish food in the market available in different forms; some are liquid, but most are in solid form.
Flakes are commonly used to feed the pet fishes as they allow fish to reach the top surface for the consumption of floating flakes.
In addition, the pellets are suitable for pets at the bottom of the aquarium, and their components release slowly.
The tablets are used to feed the fish as you can attach them to aquarium walls. Fish sticks, wafers, and chips can also be used for pet ants in addition to those that are freeze-dried.
These insects choose a food type that is easier to carry and requires less effort to break the particles. In addition, it can help reduce effort and time as they can spend time finding another source.
Moreover, their nutritional quality also matters in the selection of eating stuff, as pellets provide more nutrition than flakes, even when both are of high quality.
Furthermore, these insects get attracted to the food source with a strong odor and pleasing aroma because they will consider it a healthier and more nutritious option for their diet.
Which ants prefer to eat fish food?
The preference for food depends on the requirement of ants, as they need protein-based stuff in the summer when the colony contains a large number of new larvae.
Larvae need a protein-rich diet for better development as their muscles are at the growing stage that has to manage all the activities in the future.
Their muscular bodies cannot work well if they do not consume enough protein in their growth stages.
The queen ant needs a high protein and low fiber diet during reproduction time when they have to produce many eggs and fertilize them.
So, you can find foragers looking for protein-rich stuff which can have a lower percentage of fats and other nutrients.
Black garden, harvester, and mourning tree ants are found to be carrying the flakes back to their nests. In addition, the argentine ants also prefer pet food to meet their body requirements.
However, other insects like fire, pharaoh, odorous and pavements ants, etc., prefer sugary materials, but they do not hesitate to eat these stored flakes in your kitchen.
How to stop ants from eating fish food?
It is essential to prevent ants from eating the food of pet fish as they can contaminate the flakes by leaving poison or formic acid within the container.
Moreover, they can steal a large number of flakes from the opened can present close to an aquarium and amaze you in the morning when the can is half or completely empty.
Do not leave the remaining pellets in the thin plastic bag; shift the stuff inside a sealable container or zipper bag that can be sealed again and keep a strong aroma inside.
You can seal the container properly to block the entryways of these insects because they cannot sneak through a hard plastic or steel jar even after chewing.
Furthermore, you have to break the scent trail of these insects after finding a few insects on the container or inside the cabinet, as it can release a signal to invite others.
Wipe out the surface using a vinegar and water solution prepared by mixing the two ingredients in equal quantities, as its dominating odor can help remove their trail.