Ants are opportunistic feeders as they can feed on almost everything, including food items, paper, and thick cardboard.
Why Do Ants Like Cardboard Boxes? Ants like cardboard boxes because it is a better hiding spot and provides a safe and dark area. They do not need a direct light source, but moisture is essential for their survival. The cardboard boxes can absorb and retain moisture for a long time, providing an ideal breeding ground for them. In addition, storage cartons can also provide a source of nutrition to these insects. Furthermore, you can get rid of these creatures by storing these in a dry place or cleaning it frequently, and it is better to store food in plastic containers.
It is challenging to manage the old boxes in the storage rooms frequently as it requires effort to handle all such stuff after a hectic day.
Ants take advantage of your busy routine and begin to live in areas that have not been cleaned for a long time.
Furthermore, a messy place attracts these insects, and a pile of newspapers and dusty cardboard can be a good option for them.
Can ants eat cardboard boxes?
They have strong jaws, particularly the carpenter ants that can efficiently chew paper or even cardboard of suitable thickness.
They can gnaw through plastic containers of lesser thickness and cardboard material. You can think about the presence of a colony inside a carton in the storehouse for a long time.
Moreover, the cellulose material attracts these insects as it provides a source of nutrition. However, it is challenging to digest cellulose, so they can only chew and break it into smaller parts.
When these small pieces get enough moisture, mold growth starts that can break the complex cellulose molecule into simpler ones that are easily digestible for them.
What are the reasons that ants like cardboard boxes?
Many reasons account for the attractiveness of cardboard boxes to ants as these small insects search for safe, moist, and dark areas to live in.
It gives off a strong unpleasant smell when they are wet. It has a drastically intense smell that remains for longer until they get dried completely.
You probably have a wet parcel anytime that can give off an unpleasant odor. This is because their odor-active compounds release extensively when they get wet.
Many people prefer to pack their storage items like spices, frozen products, or flour on paper.
Moreover, they can absorb the smells of products, retain them for a long time, and become attractive to these insects.
Better hiding spot
You offer a better spot for the insects to hide if you have placed an open cardboard package in the garage or store room.
They prefer safe areas to live where there is no fear of invaders or predators. They do not need direct sunlight and live in a dark or shady environment where only an indirect light can reach them.
Moreover, it is free of human interference if present in the side room for many months. They can easily hide inside an empty carton or one having stored food for them to eat.
Furthermore, it protects them from external environmental stress like fluctuating temperature or rainy weather that can affect their colonies due to flooding.
Susceptible to humidity
These cartons are susceptible to humid conditions and get soggy when there is a high environmental moisture level.
It is better to store them at a safe place or far from a water source like a pipeline so they cannot get wet quickly due to leakage.
They are highly porous and have a high absorbance rate for water molecules but lose their integrity due to moisture.
You have to deal with the junk better as they can produce a lingering smell in the house when you do not clean them, and they absorb water.
It can also promote the growth of fungus or mold and spread infectious agents in the environment.
Therefore, it is better to throw a moist box or dry it immediately before it aggravates other problems.
Furthermore, the higher humidity in the air can destroy or deform a packaging carton as its structure begins to collapse due to moisture. Therefore, it is better to throw these out and use alternatives.
Attracted to stored food
The presence of food in a box can be a reason for their attractiveness to ants.
A swarm of these creatures keeps navigating the whole house, including the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage areas.
They prefer to remain in a place with a continuous food source, so a carton of stored sugar can be an attractive place for them to live.
When one ant finds food, it releases a pheromone signal to call other fellows in the same location to grab food.
This way, a packaging carton gets full of these annoying insects that can not only make sugar or any other food poisonous but create holes within the box.
How to keep ants away from cardboard boxes?
You can keep ants away from cardboard boxes by discarding the old ones that are damaged and cannot be used further for packaging purposes.
It is not a good decision to keep these in a store when you do not need them often.
Moreover, you have to avoid the practice of keeping the extra grocery in it as it is a primary reason for the presence of ants.
You have to check the cartons thoroughly before packing any item in them, as a single ant can make way for hundreds of their fellows to get inside.
Clean it carefully to remove dust and insect if present to make it secure for storage. In addition, this practice of prevention can keep your house safe from these annoying insects.
You can clean these frequently to get rid of any new population on the spot before it aggravates the situation and becomes out of control.
Furthermore, one of the main things to avoid is placing these cartons in a moist place because it attracts more pests when wet.
Airtight containers are a good solution or alternative to these storage boxes as ants cannot chew thick plastic or the item remains safe inside it.
In addition to these preventive measures, you have to know about the proper storage methods to keep the cartons in a storage room.
After that, flatten them and place all the same size boxes together.
Tie them together using a strong thread, make a pile, and place them side by side.
Keep a strict check on them and occasionally clean their surface to keep insects like cockroaches and ants away from them.
Do ants prefer to live inside cardboard boxes?
Ants need a dark and secure place to build a colony when there is a lesser risk of attacks from invaders.
A packaging box is a covered item that can keep them safe from predators’ attacks and improve their lifespan. In addition, they can enjoy living in a shady place because no direct light can reach inside it.
You can find many insects close to the packaging carton because they are interested in living inside as they can digest its material and create holes.
Furthermore, a few species like odorous ants prefer to live in a moist and shady environment.
These appear black or brownish and usually build a nest around the lumber or cardboard. The corrugated cartons are an attractive platform for them, and they can choose them as their habitat.
Is it bad to keep junk cardboard boxes in the garage?
It is considered bad to keep junk cardboard boxes in a garage or even store rooms when they are of no use.
When you choose these cartons for storing food, you are inviting the insects to have a feast, as only a properly sealed container can become a barrier to these opportunistic ants.
They have more than 350 to 400 receptors of odor that can help them detect the food at any place. The unsealed and damaged cartons allow them to attack the stored food easily.
It is better to discard these immediately as they are consuming space in your garage and inviting insects to live inside it and multiply on this breeding ground.
The presence of insects in a garage is not safe as they can easily get entered inside a house and pollute the contents of your kitchen spices and ingredients.
It is better to flatten all the junk boxes, tie them together, and dump them in a dustbin as it is the place where it deserves to be.
What do people say about this?
I surveyed 894 ant keepers to know whether ants like boxes or prefer to live inside them. Out of 894 people, 653 people (73%) said ants like cardboard boxes because they provide a moist and shady place to hide.
However, 169 people (19%) said they are attracted only due to the presence of a food source if present as they are continuously streaming into a house to locate a source of nutrition.
While the remaining 72 people (8%) said, the susceptibility of cartons to humidity could be a reason for these insects to live inside them.
There is a great possibility of insect growth in a closed carton for many months.
“I found hundreds of ants in a cardboard carton present in my store when I opened it to get my old books stored in it.”
Sweet food items attract more insects as they have a strong sense of smell and like sweet food.
“A box in my storehouse got many ants because sugar was stored in the carton.”
It is susceptible to humid conditions and gives off a particular smell that attracts these insects.
“I found insects and ants in a wet cardboard as it attracts more bugs that need a moist place to live.”