How Do Ants Get In Sealed Food?

Sometimes ants can break into sealed food containers. Ant colonies seem frustrating to many people when they find these insects marching slowly toward a food supply in the form of a long chain.

How Do Ants Get In Sealed Food? Ants can get into sealed food through invisible holes that provide a route to these tiny insects through seals. In addition, improper sealing and scratches can also provide an entry route. The ants can detect the chemical signals of food through their strong receptors and can reach even sealed food with a leaking aroma. Moreover, ants can chew thin plastic packaging, silicon, paper, and even cardboard with strong mandibles. Furthermore, there are chances of ants infestation in the food before packaging that becomes visible later on. You can prevent ants’ infestation in sealed food by using natural repellants, airtight packaging, and refrigerating. 

The ants are small and do not require a large hole or opening to reach the food supply.

How do ants get into sealed food containers?

Ants use many ways to access eatables by using their strong mandibles and sense of smell. It is easy for ants to invade the sealed food by creating small holes in the packaging.

Improper sealing

Different packs have different requirements of temperature for sealing that is according to their thickness.

Therefore, sealing failures due to improper temperature can lead to shrinkage at the sealing point.

The seals can break from the edges, or scratches can occur. Due to improper sealing, the ants can get an entry into the food quickly. In addition, the gaps at the sealing point can provide an entry point for the ants.

Chew the plastic seal

Many people store the food in a plastic bag and seal it properly using a vacuum. However, it is better to preserve the food for a longer time in a sealed container.

You can use thin plastic packs to store food in the fridge or cabinets. However, the ants can eat these thin seals of plastic efficiently.

Plastic and paper bags, foil, and cardboard packings are also at risk of eating by these insects. The sugar ants can eat the plastic seals and create entry holes to access the eatables.

These ants use their mandibles to make complex channels connecting their nest to the food source.

A thin covering of plastic cannot stop these eaters, so you can secure these bags by keeping them in the refrigerator.


The receptors of ants are powerful and can smell food many times better than other insects. In addition, they use chemo-sensing to detect the presence of food sources.

They detect the chemicals present in food, and the sugars attract these insects towards them. The sensory receptors can locate even small quantities of chemicals or food efficiently.

When the containers have small openings, the smell of food can leak through them. The ants can smell the aroma of food, detect these chemical signals, and reach the target area.

All of the ants follow each other and can attack the food packaging. They can create holes in the seal by eating it vigorously.

Invisible holes

An intact and airtight packing does not ensure the absence of holes inside it. The nitrogen gas is present inside the plastic containers that preserve the food for longer.

You cannot hear the sound of leaking gas from the small holes in the food packaging. However, these invisible holes are enough for these tiny ants to break into the sealed packages.

Create ways through seals

The ants can eat most of the packaging materials and create their way through the sealing. Therefore, it is easy for them to chew the silicon packets through their strong mandibles.

In addition, they can also eat chips bags, wood, and concrete, so there is no packaging except airtight glass containers that can remain safe from their mandibles.

Infestation before sealing

There are chances that you overlook the presence of a few ants in the food during packaging. For example, a few days back, I saw a few ants in sealed meat when I opened it the next day.

So, it can sometimes happen that insects can remain in the food when you are sealing the food.

Similarly, you can have some insects in the sugar packs due to the negligence of the person who packed them.

How do I keep ants out of my sealed food? 

The ants can damage food quality, so removing them by restricting their access to the packets is better.

However, there are various methods to protect and preserve your closed food from ant infestation.

Refrigerate eatables

It is better to refrigerate the eatables after sealing them properly within plastic bags.

This is because the ants cannot attack them in the refrigerator, and if they come incidentally into the packet, they will die within a day.

Their activity slows down at low temperatures, and sudden death occurs. So, you can keep your sealed food in the refrigerator to get rid of these insects.

Use natural ant-repellants

Some natural ant-repellants are present in your kitchen, so you can easily access them to cut off the pheromone trail.

For example, use peppermint powder or a coffee ground and sprinkle it near the containers.

Furthermore, you can also use lemon juice and cinnamon powder to keep them away from the food source.

Home-made solutions

In addition, you can clean the surface of the countertop and cabinets where the packed foods are present by using a vinegar solution. Mix the vinegar in equal parts of water and spread it on the surface.

Then use a cloth and cover the whole surface with this solution. It works very well to keep ants away from the food.

Airtight packaging

Sealed containers are the only best possible solution to keep ants away from the food supply.

Put the food into thick plastic or glass jars that will not allow these insects to reach inside. It is challenging for the ants to eat the thick plastic and glass.

What happens when ants get into your sealed food?

It is common for ants to attack the sealed packages by breaking the sealing.

Therefore, the food with a heavy infestation is not suitable for eating as it can infect the food leading to illness after consumption.

It is better to avoid infected food because it can cause foodborne illness. Ants are not dangerous; instead, they are sterile due to antimicrobial agents in their bodies.

However, ants move both indoors and outdoors and can pass through garbage and food. So, they can transfer the germs of garbage to the food.

Some people can consume sealed food with small holes on the packaging that show ants’ invasion.

However, you should not eat the food that shows the invasion of these insects, and it is better to throw it out of your house.

Related Articles:

Why Are There Ants In My Room If There Is No Food?

Why Do Ants Drown Themselves?