Many people prefer to keep honey in airtight jars and close the lid tightly as its aroma has the potential to grab the attention of many insects like ants.
Does Honey Attract Ants? Pure honey does not attract ants as they can get stuck in a highly viscous fluid with low water activity. Moreover, these insects get attracted to less viscous or processed honey as it is difficult to digest a thick material quickly. Therefore, they prefer to eat honey with added sugar that improves fluidity and is easier to consume and digest. Furthermore, its sweet aroma and taste attract ants to fulfill their energy requirements from a nutrient-rich food source.
They can smell sweet food from a distance of several feet and reach there quickly by assessing the odor molecules and forming a pheromone trail to inform fellows about food.
Why does pure honey not attract ants?
Ants never miss a chance to get nutrition from the food that is readily available to them. However, it is astonishing to know these insects avoid eating pure honey.
Original honey is a highly viscous fluid due to the small amount of water, as it contains only 15 to 18% water. As a result, the particles are bonded together with a strong force.
It is difficult for them to navigate through thick fluid and consume it. Their tiny bodies cannot handle thick solutions due to low water activity and get stuck within the fluid.
In addition, dead ants give signals or release chemicals to warn others about the unsafe food source after an accidental fall into the fluid. So, other nest fellows avoid reaching the same food source.
These tiny insects have to lose their lives to get nutrition from a thick fluid, so they do not prefer to move toward it.
Moreover, it is challenging for these tiny creatures to extract nutrients from a thick fluid and digest it quickly.
Raw honey smells like aged cheese or fresh grass that does not attract insects, as they like to eat food with a sweet aroma.
Why are ants attracted to honey?
Ants have different preferences for raw and processed honey as they only get attracted to the latter. It has decreased thickness due to the addition of artificial sugar additives.
Moreover, these have high amounts of fructose, which gives an attractive aroma and gets detected by the olfactory receptors on their antennae.
Their strong sense of smell helps detect a sweet odor in their surroundings, and workers begin to form foraging trails and move toward the spilled drop.
In addition, it has a sweet taste due to the increased amount of fructose which makes them feel satisfied and happy after eating.
It is a rich source of carbohydrates like glucose and fructose and contains almost 70 to 80% sugar content providing a good source of nutrition that can be stored for later use.
Small quantities of protein and other essential nutrients are also present, which makes it a potent food source. In addition, it provides instant energy to perform heavy-duty tasks like food foraging and defense.
Almost 280 to 300 kcal of energy is released from 100g of honey, which keeps them active. Furthermore, it is easier to digest carbohydrates compared to table sugar as it is in fluid form.
They can easily consume liquid food as they do not have to chew and break the complex solid food particles, but it does not mean they are not good at chewing.
Additionally, their stomach is simple in structure and digests less viscous and simpler food particles quickly to provide sufficient energy in a short time.
It has lesser viscosity than pure one and avoids the risk of falling and dying as they can quickly move through it.
How do you keep ants away from honey?
It is challenging to keep ants away from their favorite food source as they can smell honey’s sweet flavor and aroma and run toward it.
Store it in glass jars having tight lids to keep its smell inside, and better packaging prevents entry of insects inside jars.
You can also add a barrier in the form of a Ziploc or sealable bags by placing these jars inside it. Finally, clean the countertop using a vinegar solution to keep them away.
You can keep the jars clean to get rid of these tiny insects that try to reach the fluid drops on the outside surface of the jars.
In addition, keep the jar in a bowl of water as these are not good swimmers and drown in water after floating for a few minutes.
Moreover, keep a small stick of cinnamon in the jar as its strong smell is not considered suitable for these insects and repels them away.
Wrapping a jar in aluminum foil can also help prevent these opportunistic feeders as they cannot climb on slippery surfaces and fall when trying to move to the top.
Furthermore, ant deterrents like black pepper and red pepper flakes can also help keep ants away from this sweet fluid.
So, you can follow some precautionary measures by adding barriers to the entry of insects or using deterrents to get rid of these small, ugly, and annoying home pests.
What type of ants are attracted to honey?
Every species of ants has different nutritional requirements and preferences for food accordingly.
It depends on their habitat and diet, as some of them like to consume salt if their bodies are deficient in this nutrient. Sometimes, you can see them munching on potato chips and roasted peanuts.
Most commonly, these insects are attracted to sweet food items like a piece of cake, candies, fruits, chocolates, and honey or table sugar.
You can find black household ants, carpenter ants, sugar ants, fire ants, etc., close to the jars or eating nutrients from spilled honey as they like to eat sweet food compared to dead insects.
It is easy for these insects to locate it on the countertop, cabinets, and jars; that’s why they prefer to eat readily available food.
Moreover, small honey ants are known for their preference to eat and store honeydew in their abdomens and become replete.
The stored fluid is fed to other workers when they stimulate swollen abdomens of replete to show that they are hungry.
So, the common household ants like to eat sugar syrup, processed honey, and other sweet foods, providing an instant energy source.