What Do Dark Rover Ants Eat?

Dark rover ants build small to moderate size colonies and infest plants or trees, and their colonies can become problematic to manage when they build new nests at a close distance.

What Do Dark Rover Ants Eat? Dark rover ants eat sweet secretions or honeydew produced by aphids or scale insects and consume dead insects, tree sap, meat, and plant nectar for nutrition. They forage at night and collect the food particles to store and feed. They scavenge dead insects and animals to get meat but can live without food for 10 to 14 days.

They are indoor pests that are usually seen close to plants because their primary source of nutrition is plants and their parts.

Moreover, dark rover ants are common in many states of America, including Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Missouri, etc., and cause indirect damage to plants by tending pests.

What do dark rover ants prefer to eat?

Most commonly, ants get attracted to sweet food items that are rich in carbohydrates and provide plenty of energy to their bodies to work for a long.


One of the most common food sources for the dark rover ants is the sweet secretions produced by soft-bodies plant pests. They build a mutualistic relationship to get honeydew from them.

Aphids are sucking insects that suck plant sap using their mouth and excrete honeydew. Ants find their excreta nutritious and get attracted to plants loaded with sap-sucking insects.

In addition, these insects are also known to interact positively with coccids or mealybugs, common pests of fruit trees, maple, oak, and some herbaceous plants.

It is rich in sugar, particularly fructose and glucose, which can become a good energy source for insects as they have to perform hectic tasks.

So, they get honeydew secretions from aphids; otherwise, these soft-bodied insects can get eaten by other pests like wasps, ladybirds, and beetles.


They are not dangerous for larger animals and vertebrates, but they can attack smaller invertebrates and devour their bodies after killing them.

Dark rover ants get nutrition from living and dead insects commonly present in their habitat. They can attack a spider, small scorpions, cockroaches, termites, etc., to fulfill their nutritional needs.

These insects do not possess a sting but attack insects with their tiny sharp teeth. A group of these insects can kill an arthropod when they attack collectively.

However, they usually prefer to enjoy a feast on dead insects that do not require effort for killing to extract the locked nutrients in their muscles.


They also like to eat the meat of dead vertebrates occasionally when they get a chance to strip off meat from their bones. It can provide good content of protein to their diet.

Most commonly, ant colonies need protein as food when they are in a growing phase and reproducing. They get attracted to meats when the females lay eggs in summer and spring.

This protein-rich diet helps provide energy to the queen for laying a large number of eggs and allows eggs to become healthy mature adults by developing a good muscle mass.

Sap and nectar

Dark rover ants get attracted to plants to get their food because the tree sap is rich in essential elements, including magnesium, zinc, and copper.

The content of minerals and other elements varies in plans, as silver birch is a valuable source of zinc and magnesium. Accordingly, they make tiny cuts in the stem with their sharp teeth.

It allows them to suck the nutrients from liquid sap and enrich their bodies. In the same way, they are known to attack extrafloral nectaries to consume sweet, sticky nectar.

Nectar is a sucrose-rich liquid juice excreted by flowers that attract insects due to its high nutritional value. It can keep insect bodies energetic for long, making them more productive.

How do dark rover ants get their food?

Rover ants have omnivorous diets and follow seasonal diets as they switch from carbohydrate-rich food to protein-based food during late fall and summer.

Commonly, they have to climb stems to reach plants and get food from the nectaries or stems. Their tiny teeth are used to puncture stems and get access to liquid sap moving from root to leaves.

In the same way, they suck sticky secretion from the nectaries, particularly extrafloral ones. They are not good pollinators because they do not get inside the flower for nectar.

They store juices in their abdomen and get back to their nests to feed their colony members. These juices are regurgitated back to their mouth and transferred to the mouth of queens and larvae.

This way, they transfer nutrients to inactive members of the colony. In addition, they can devour the bodies of dead insects into smaller pieces that can be easily carried back to nests.

Sometimes, dark rover ants carry dead insects on their backs to bring them inside the nest. It can be stored for later use and consumed slowly for a long.

When do dark rover ants eat and collect food?

Dark rover ants are nocturnal insects known to be active at night time when other diurnal species are taking rest or busy in activities within their mounds.

They leave nests in the darkness and navigate the territories, searching for food like living or dead insects. They are also seen climbing the fruit plants in the garden at night to get nectar.

Accordingly, this species prefers to eat and collect food in the dark as their eyes support vision in the dark. However, it does not mean that they remain inactive in the daytime.

These insects usually schedule their tasks according to the time, as they go out for foraging at night and remain busy tending larvae for growth in the daytime.

Furthermore, they have many more things to do in the daytime, like egg production, nest cleaning, breaking food particles, and building tunnels.

How often do dark rover ants eat?

A dark rover ant’s dietary habits depend on food availability, as they can eat when their bellies are empty or have space in crops to store them.

Their eating patterns only get affected when they have no access to a food source or are not hungry; otherwise, they do not miss a chance to eat the available food.

These creatures are mostly seen roaming around food and moisture, so it is not possible to estimate the exact frequency because they seem to be eating all day.

However, they can resist hunger for many days, as ants can remain without food for almost 10 to 14 days. Their urge to eat remains constant, but it also depends on the availability of resources.

Furthermore, these scavenging insects can obtain nutrients from dead animal carcasses and become efficient decomposers. They chew bodies and cut tiny pieces of meat to eat and load.

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