What Attracts Ants?


Last night, I found a massive army of ants in one room. Well, by now, I have got rid of the ants. However, the ordeal made up for a crucial lesson; it helped me in understanding why made the ants came to my room. Read this guide to learn what attracts ants.

So what attracts ants? When an ant forages for food, there are no limits to its quests. It scavenges for all types of food, especially if there is a hint of sugar in it. Whether it is a cake slice, or a spilled juice, your home is always vulnerable to the conquering force of an ant colony.

What’s worse is that even if it does not find sugar item, an ant can latch onto other types of food too. Thus, if you think that you can repel them by removing sugary things, you cannot be more wrong.

Things that attract ants to your home

While reviewing their attractions, you realize ants are methodical. During foraging, an ant produces a scent trail, so it can quickly go back and forth to its nest and the food destination. And this scent also guides other ants to mark their routes. This is why even if one ant is attracted to your home; it is a red flag that worse is yet to come.

If water is not wiped off properly in your home, it can entice ants to come over. Ants like excessive moisture, whether it is in your bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes, blazing heat and raging icy conditions also force ants to seek shelter in residential properties.

Cracks and holes in your home, such as windows, doors, walls, and other areas are other causes of ant attractions. So which areas do they love the most? According to an NPMA survey, they have the following likelihood of being present in your home.

  • HVAC units (37%)
  • Basements (54%)
  • Living rooms (60%)
  • Bedrooms (61%)
  • Inside walls (73%)

Now let’s go into detail on why ants keep coming to your home as an uninvited guest. Here are some of the most common causes of ant attractions. 

1. Food

Food is perhaps the most prominent attractions for ants. Since humans learned how to store food safely, ants have chased them persistently.

Often, they seek out your kitchen counters for food. Even some tiny crumbs are enough for an ant to notice and forward the report to its nest. Afterward, which you can see them all efficiently coordinating so they can transport all the crumbs to their destinations.

Other than counters, crumbs in food appliances (such as a refrigerator), cabinets, and floors also tempts an ant colony. Since ants have no reservations over eating spoilt, rotten food, therefore, they can even pick out your food stuck in a cabinet since the last year!

Usually, ants love to have a go at foods, which contain sugar. However, there is a common misconception that ants only like sugar, not its identical cousin – salt. A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that ants love salt too. Scientists believe this is because salt is integral in powering the bodily functions of all animals, including ants. The study also discovered that if ants are over 60 miles away from an ocean, they require more salt to satiate their cravings. Hence, if you don’t live in a coastal area, keep an eye on your salty snacks.

If you don’t store food reliably, expect ants to penalize you for laziness. For instance, they can be attracted to an open bag of chocolates. Even, if there is some honey on the cap of your honey jar, it is enough to captivate a swarm of ants.

2. Moisture

Ants are not averse to moisture. If your kitchen has damp floors, expect an ant to visit.

This is also why bathrooms are one of their favorite spots for a get-together. Some ants such as carpenter ants, especially seek for bathroom sinks, tiles, and any similar damp location so that they can build their nests.

If you think that you can keep moisture away to prevent ants, you are in for a rude awakening: ants attack not only visible water sources. If there is a water leak in your home areas like kitchen or bathroom pipes, ants can detect them and walk around it.

The love of ants can be ascertained by there being even ant species called moisture ant, which is fond of water sources. These ants build their entire colonies near water.

3. Extreme temperatures

Sometimes, it is just not in your hands. Ants are sensitive to variations in temperature. Extreme heat or cold can force ants to become refugees in your home. This primarily occurs in cozy homes with dependable appliances, where the temperature is maintained regularly, resulting in a comfortable home.  

Similarly, rainstorms can also force the migration of ant armies. The worrying aspect is that the more comforting a home is, the more attractive it appears to the ants.

4. Access points

Considering the tiny head of an ant, one can be forgiven to think of them as mindless creatures with no brain. However, these little devils can be more devious and craftier than your expectations. Ants are rightly called as one of the most hardworking living things in the world. They attempt to survive by striving hard and finding the right places to build their living spaces. For this purpose, they actively seek access points – any opening in your home.

Older homes have a lot of walls with seams and cracks. Seams are prone to widen over extended periods, while there are several reasons, which can create a crack. As a consequence, one-by-one, ants slowly come into your home. It takes only a single, little crack to tempt a scout ant and make it notify its colony for a full-on invasion.

Open windows are open invitations for ants. On a similar note, open doors play the same role. Even if you shut them, there is still a possibility. Ants can also get via tiny holes in windows and doors.

Types of ants and their attractions

There are over 10,000 ant species in the world. Here is where some are usually found.

Formica

Common name: Field ants

Their name stems from their ability to spray formic acid. These ants make nests in rural areas and fields.

Brachymyrmex patagonicus

Common name: Dark rovers

They are identifiable by their medium size and can be found in floorboards, and the walls of your bathrooms and kitchens. They are mainly on the lookout for sweet liquids, so remember that.

Crematogaster

Common name: Acrobat ants

These ants have been compared with scorpions; they also lift their abdomens when in danger. They are aggressive and carry a mean sting, but fortunately, they don’t invade homes a lot.

Carpenter ants

Common name: Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants are known for their extensive damages in homes. What makes them an intimidating proposition is that they frequently dig through wooden structures.

Linepithema humile

Common name: Argentine ants

These giant ants look for empty spaces and wall insulations to build their nest. Luckily, they are not among those who sting.

Paratrechina longicornis

Common name: Crazy ants

These ants seem to love plants; they nest in vegetation-based areas. However, you may also discover them in your walls and under carpets.

Pachycondyla chinensis

Common name: Asian needle ants

These ants are narrow and thin but don’t get fooled by their appearances, because they do sting. While they don’t look for in-door nests, you can find them close to the external areas of homes, such as near trash bins.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can light attract ants? So far, no credible evidence can show any relationship between ants and light. Some species such as army ants are blind, so light has no impact on them. Some anecdotal evidence establishes that flying ants have some kind affinity towards light sources.

Do artificial sweeteners attract ants? Ants need fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in their systems – much like humans. As sugar is a significant source of carbohydrates, thus, ants desire sugary items. But artificial sweeteners are devoid of these carbohydrates, so ants don’t like them as much.

Some believe that artificial sweeteners like aspartame can act as a poison against ants. But ants are not tempted by them in the first place, and therefore it is a weak trap.

Do spices attract ants? Ants are not very fond of spices, and they rarely make a pass at any spicy food, which has been left exposed. For instance, spicy cinnamon is a daily staple, but it is used as an ant repellent in windows and doorways. Some homeowners also use it in their gardens.

Miles Perrine

Miles Perrine is the guy behind Pest Control Zone. He's owned several pest control businesses over the last few years and has become obsessed with managing them. Nearly every weekend you'll find him up in the mountains, in a neighborhood, or somewhere else helping someone get rid of their pesky pests. But when he's not, I'm here writing about pest control tactics to help you.