Ants are the superfamily of ants, the order of hymenoptera, the most numerous species of living creatures on Earth. Unique adaptability to different temperature regimes and territorial conditions, allows ant families to settle in all sorts of places.
Ant representatives of insects are omnivorous and perform many functions in nature:
- enrich the soil with micronutrients,
- pollinating plants, spreading seeds,
- recycle garbage
- eat pests of forests and gardens.
Natural enemies of ants
Ant families are huge in number; there can be from a hundred to a thousand insects in a colony. And yet they are very vulnerable.
In nature, insects have a lot of internal and external enemies, which feed on adults and their larvae, parasitize them, use their bodies for various purposes.
Ant's internal enemies
Some species of fungi, insects and helminths can be attributed to the internal enemies of the ant population:
- Mushrooms of the genus Cordyceps infect, kill an insect, and the fungal bodies of fungi germinate from its body.
- Velekrylye - parasites of insects, use ant individuals to attract partners in mating.
- Humpback flies - lay eggs in the body of a living individual. The developed larva decapitates the insect with a special enzyme.
- The larvae of the bluebird butterfly develop in ant nests. Caterpillars emit the same odorous substances as ant larvae. Therefore, the ants take care of them, and the caterpillars feed on their pupae.
- Lomekhaus beetle - with the help of a secreted drug, this parasite makes insects feed and take care of him more than about his offspring and the anthill degenerates.
- Parasitic wasp afillinytops - feeds the larvae wings of insects.
Who eats ants
In addition to internal enemies, there is a large detachment of representatives of the fauna with the pleasure of eating these hymenoptera. In the tropics armadillos and anteaters feed on anthill.
Brown bears, lizards, moles, shrews, hedgehogs, toads, frogs, some species of fish love to eat insects and their pupae. There are also birds that hunt representatives of the ant family, for example, an anthill, vertikishek, woodpeckers.
There are insect-like creatures that prey on anthills. The most dangerous species is the ant-lion (myrmidont).
What ants eat, especially rational
The diet of ants directly depends on the habitat. The supplies delivered to the anthill are distributed among family members:
- ant larvae require proteinaceous food of animal origin: eggs of various parasites, trophic eggs (eggs laid by the uterus and not developed in the larvae), the remains of other animals, birds, insects, partially digested in the stomachs of adults,
- adults eat lighter food: the pulp of fruits and berries, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, roots and sap of plants, honey,
- the uterus is fed exclusively with protein. The workers ants chew food, and then deliver it to the queen.
In the fall, ant families, which do not hibernate, make food stocks, and in the famine months they feed on trophic eggs.
What do domestic ants eat?
Most often, home red ants (Pharaoh) lodge in houses and apartments. To build a nest chooses warm, dark, wet places. They feed on the most varied food that they can only find: bread crumbs, sugar, cereals, dairy products, meat products, sausage and fish waste, spices, fruits and boiled vegetables. With a lack of food or a large number of individuals in the nest, red ants attack people and animals, eating their skin and fur.
Ant on the garden plot
Black garden ants eat caterpillars, flies, beetles, slugs, ticks, flies. Experimentally, it was estimated that a garden ant family could gather up to two thousand different insects, their eggs and larvae, in one day.
Adult individuals love the pad. In their diet there are berries, vegetables, roots with a high sugar content: strawberries, raspberries, currants, ripe fruit, carrots, pumpkin.
In the garden, it is also possible to find sod ant that feeds on nectar and rose petals.
What ants eat in nature
Forms can be predators and scavengers, and consumers of plant foods. Food of almost all varieties of this order of insects consists of protein and carbohydrate components. The source of protein food is insects, on which adult individuals hunt or collect their corpses. The source of carbohydrate food is:
- Padj is a sweet substance secreted by aphids and other insect insects,
- Honey dew - sticky sweet liquid, is released by the leaves as a result of a sharp temperature drop.
Many species of ants have food specialization. For example:
- ponerins - eat a certain kind of invertebrates,
- Centromyrmex (ants with a sting) - eat termites,
- red fiery - prey on other ants and insects: weevils, ignitus,
- Bulldogs - hunt bees,
- borers - collect gum (frozen juice from the bark of trees),
- Miramycine, ants-reapers - almost 97% of their diet are seeds,
- dracules feed on the juices of their larvae, and the larvae are fed by insects: centipedes, spiders,
- stray or prickly - eat animal food: all kinds of insects and larvae, attack frogs, chicks, small lizards, collect carrion,
- Mexican honey - working individuals store in their swollen abdomens a liquid sweet substance resembling honey. If necessary, they regurgitate it and feed the tribesmen with this food.
About 190 species of ant bred and consumed mushrooms, for example:
- Atta and Acromyrmex leaf cutters feed only on hyphae of fungi growing near their nest. For the cultivation of mushrooms used pieces of leaves, which are crushed by insects and are located in the mushroom gardens,
- Attini mushroom growers and leaf cutters - breed mushrooms in the nest, growing them on the sheet mass they have processed,
Often in the anthill, except the owners, other tenants live: beetles, caterpillars, moths. Ants feed them, and in return feed on the sweet syrup that they secrete. For example, the diet of red forest ants is 60% of honeydews, so they breed aphids, protect them, and in the winter period they take them to the anthill. In nature, there is no waste, no harmful or beneficial organisms. Plants - food for mammals, insects, birds, returning to the soil the substances necessary for the growth of new plants.
What do ants eat in nature?
The most numerous insect family in the world are ants. In addition, many species in which they are divided. Currently, there are about 6 thousand species of this insect. However, it is likely that not all species have been studied in the world. They belong to the family Hymenoptera. The peculiarity is the presence of a stalk of one or two segments, located between the abdomen and the breast. What do ants eat? Like almost all insects of Hymenoptera, they feed on protein and carbohydrate foods. Proteins are designed for larvae and fertile females, and carbohydrates - for the life of adults.
So what do ants eat? As a protein food, various insects are used that are harvested by working individuals. It is also taken from plant seeds or mushrooms. Some proteins are eaten by adult ants, as the females feed on the secretions of the salivary glands of working insects. The larvae also feed. Sometimes they get the pieces of insects brought by working males.
And what do ants eat to get carbohydrates? The source of these substances may be sugar on flowers, sap of trees and so on. However, the most favorite treat that ants so adore in nature is aphid. The milky juices are excreted by insects, which adults eat. Therefore, ants protect the aphids, which is a harmful insect. That is why many gardeners remove ants from their plots.
It should be noted that what ants eat depends on their species. One of the most common are dairy farmers. Their distinctive feature is that they, like people, contain pets (aphids, plant lice), from which they collect milk. In this case, the ants protect their flock from the invasion of other insects.
There is also a reaper species that feeds on plant seeds, cereals, dry fruits and berries. All this is stored in the anthill for the winter. This type of insect is found mainly in the steppes.
There is also a species of ants, which is used by their relatives for certain purposes. So, there are ants millers, or chews. Their purpose is that they grind various seeds, grains, etc., brought by other insect species. Thereafter, individuals are killed by ants, which eliminate the extra feeders.
There are ants that cultivate (cultivate) the land for the growth of mushrooms. This is due to the fact that this type of insect uses mushrooms as its food.
There are also leaf cutter ants who collect the sheets, carry them away to their home, where they roll into lumps. On the surface of such balls grow special fungi that ants feed on. And there are some species that store stocks of food that feed other individuals.
In general, ants are the secret force of nature, which has not yet been fully studied. These amazing insects bring both benefits and harm to nature. But still ants are an important link in the life of the fauna and flora.
What ants eat: what they eat in nature, in the forest, as well as in the garden, in the garden or in the apartment
We are all familiar with ants since childhood. Many in memory still have a picture of the primer: a tiny insect drags a giant blade of grass on itself. And then some of us had to meet ants in our own garden, and even in the house, and, cursing, looking for ways to get them out of there. But first I would like to understand - what attracts these insects in the human garden and the house?
Those who have been to the forest have certainly seen giant anthills, like mounds, swarming with large black ants.
Anthills in the forest can reach very impressive sizes.
What do these forest laborers eat? The diet of ants, unlike the human, goes without fats: only proteins and carbohydrates. At the same time, protein food is needed more by the larvae, for full growth and development, and carbohydrate food - which gives energy immediately - is consumed by adults. The main source of protein is other invertebrates, for example, caterpillars, butterflies, bugs, cicadas and other insects. In addition to insects, however, ants can attack wounded small animals. At the same time, the freshness of the “meat” does not matter - ants can both hunt for food and pick up carrion. Carbohydrates they get mainly from honeydew and honeydew. Honeydew is a sweet juice that is secreted by some plants when temperature changes. But the honeydew, as sugary and sticky, is distinguished by worms, aphids and other small trunk insects.
The fact that many ants hunt other insects has already been mentioned above, but there are those that feed exclusively in this way. Stray ants are predators and eat only protein food, which they also feed their offspring. For the sake of food, they kill other insects and can eat small animals alive, which are injured so badly that they cannot fight back their tormentors. These can be lizards, snakes, birds, mice or frogs. However, stray ants will not pass by the corpses of larger animals. In addition, some species of ants have been seen even in cannibalism.
Carnivorous ants attack the caterpillar
Despite its name, leaf cutter ants do not feed directly on plants. Everything is much more complicated: the leaves are chewed into a uniform nutrient mass, on which mushrooms are grown. But, again, the ant mushrooms themselves are not interested - they eat only the mycelium. And so that it grows wider, the fungal body of the fungus is promptly removed.
Leaf cutter ants carry pieces of leaves for further processing.
A special group of ants - woodwinders - prefers to choose old rotten stumps or fallen trees in the forest. In them insects make their homes, gnawing whole labyrinths in them. Wood becomes not only their home, but also food - a special intestinal bacterium helps to digest such hard food. A person can meet with tree borers not only in the forest: often these ants run over wooden houses and build their nests right inside the logs.
This is how the work of the wood ants looks like.
The most probably peaceful species of ants are the ants reapers. These insects are strict vegetarians, they eat seeds and dried fruits of plants, as well as grains. The nourishing fruit is chewed into a homogeneous mass, which then feeds the offspring.
If the interests of forest ants practically do not overlap with human ones, then it is already more complicated with those species that inhabit our gardens and vegetable gardens. Garden ants are not just considered one of the most annoying pests. Their nests are not so large and are located partly underground, so that they can be found in the most unexpected corners of their garden.
Ants arranged their home in a gourd garden
What attracts them there? Yes, everything is the same: plenty of food. A person grows a variety of vegetables and fruits, and even flowers, ideal for feeding the ant family.
Gathering and hunting
From garden and garden delicacies, ants prefer especially sweet fruits, berries, vegetables and root vegetables. So often ant nests can be found in the beds of strawberries, melons and carrots.
Strawberry - one of the favorite berries of garden ants
They do not disdain and damaged fruit and fallen so that the anthills can be found under the fruit trees. Often, quite young seedlings also suffer from these insects - tender shoots also go into food. In addition, ants are easy to find in a flower garden: they often attack the buds of roses, wild rose and peonies, gnawing delicate petals and sepals in pursuit of sugary juice.
Sweet juice on peony bud is very attractive to ants.
True, in addition to sweets, ants also attract pests that are found in the garden. Caterpillars, butterflies, some bugs - all of them can also be caught and eaten by garden ants.
And animal husbandry!
Peculiar "pets" of ants is the common garden aphid. As in the wild, on the plot it highlights the honeydew, which ants so much like to feast on. Moreover, they invented a way to get more sweet liquid: for this, the ant tickles the aphids with its antennae, irritating it and forcing it to release the desired substance.
Ants in the process of "milking" garden aphids
And so that the influx of the paddy does not dry up, the ants also protect their “flock” from other insects.
Even more difficult is the situation with domestic ants. These insects seek to occupy human apartments. As a rule, there come red, so-called Pharaoh, ants.
In the apartment, red ants usually move in whole flocks.
These guys are not shy to compete with the owners of the apartments for their food and are ready to eat almost everything that does not lie well. But red ants have their own preferences. The most tasty for ants is sweet, flour and meat, especially a little stale. Therefore, if there are ants in your house, you can meet them in any part of the kitchen: on the shelves with flour and cereals, in the sugar bowl, in the breadbasket, in carelessly left packages of chocolates and chocolate.
A piece of sugar is literally covered with hungry ants
Jam, honey, syrups - any sweet liquids are also at risk. But first of all, ants attack open surfaces - table, floor, plate, work surfaces, on which food crumbs remain or traces of sweet liquids. The garbage bin will certainly suffer - the ants do not dislike scraps and rotten cooking waste.
As we see, in nature there are many species of ants with their taste preferences - sometimes very specific. A person can coexist with them as long as his interests do not conflict with the ants: so, in the summer cottage, these hardworking kids can not only harm by digging up the beds, but also benefit by loosening the ground and destroying pests. However, we cannot live with those ants to whom human food seems especially tasty, and we try to fight.
What ants eat depending on habitat and breed
Ants are the most common insect species. They are everywhere except in areas with eternal ice. Even in the north, they are awake for 3 months and 9 are asleep, but they still live, multiply. What ants eat in different areas and due to what they exist.
Муравьи социальные насекомые. Они живут большой семьей, в которой каждый имеет свои обязанности. Получает он их до рождения, поскольку по-разному закладывают и выращивают яйца и личинки рабочих особей и придворной свиты. От будущего назначения зависит и питание муравьев.
The uniqueness of a family with several thousand of its members lies in the fact that there are 3 sexes in the nest: he, she, it.
The ant nest has 3 sexes: he, she, it
The queen never leaves her nest, lays eggs. In some families there may be several. They live the longest if they do not die from the clutches of their relatives. The name of the queen by the queen is not true, since she does not direct anyone. On the contrary, its fate depends on the decision of the working ants. For the fertilization of the queen there are several males who also live in the burrow under the queen. The bulk of them are hard workers, warriors and people who feed everyone and solve everything, asexual insects, the very ones.
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The reproductive organs of working ants have been reborn into a sting, with which they protect themselves from enemies and kill small prey.
What ants eat and what it depends on. Insects eat protein foods - giving strength and fast growth, and easily digestible carbohydrate foods:
- carbohydrate adults,
- protein queen and larvae.
Ants eat protein foods - giving strength and fast growth, and easily digestible carbohydrate foods
Work ants live 1 - 3 years. The males die under the queen a few days after mating. When the queen begins to perform her duties poorly, the laborers lay down a series of female larvae and kill the only woman in the family, and then the inhabitants of the nest eat it.
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Asexual individuals make up the bulk of the anthill. They get food and drag it to the nest to feed the future ants. They keep the queen and her retinue and feed them for breeding.
Enough to walk through the woods or the garden, even in a square in the city center, and you can see what the ant eats. They pull absolutely everything to treat the products of people and animals. But it turns out that they also become prey and food of many animals, birds and even insects.
Everyone knows the anteater, with a long nose, it licks insects in the surface of a dug-up anthill and eats. In the middle zone, the arthropods toil and their larvae feed on:
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The bear and the mole ruin the anthills, the woodpecker and the little bird catch them in the folds of the bark in the trees, on the leaves and branches.
Other parasites and insects that feed on ants are not visible. The wasp of Afilantops gathers ant wings during the departure of young females and males. Then she kills - sting the ants and slaughters their bodies with their burrows.
Osa Afilanytops clogs the bodies of ants mink with his laying
The Lomekhuza beetle and the larvae of the bluebird emanate odorous substances the same as the larvae of ants. They force the workers to feed themselves, plus the larvae eat them. As a result, the arthropod family dies.
The Gorbatka fly lays in the body of ants its eggs and the mature larva gets out cutting off its head.
Insects die infected with the pores of the fungus Konditseps, which sprout from their bodies and feed them.
Outside the middle band, the ants have more enemies.
What ants eat in nature, including garden and garden arthropods. Many gardeners faced the problem of aphids on plants. To deal with it is difficult. In the place of the poisoned and depressed, a new one soon appears. For a long time it was believed that ants and ladybugs destroy aphids. After all, they actively climbed among her. in fact, it is worthwhile to poison the ants a little, as the number of aphids decreases by itself.
If you poison the ants a little, the number of aphids decreases by itself.
Ants bred aphids for the sake of honeydews - the sweet juice that it produces. They care for aphids and cherish, take them to their nest, underground for the winter, and there they continue to take care of it, in order to bring it to the pasture in the spring and propagate it. Ladybirds simply steal a pad on foreign pastures.
When the air temperature changes, the juice on the leaves is honey dew. It is also eaten and collected by arthropods, dragged into its storerooms. Family-eaten remains are stored in tank ants. These individuals do not leave the nest, do not do the work, they only accumulate stocks of sweet nectar. In one "tank" fits 3 times its own weight.
Surplus of honeydews found in honey bees, flower nectar and other liquid products, mostly sweet, are stored in the same living tanks. Running past such a cistern, the ant touches it with its antennae and receives a portion of nectar.
Ants also feed on nectar.
Scientists investigated the evolution of the ant and came to the conclusion that in antiquity their ancestors were bees that were mutated. The way of life, flying around young females and males, eating sweet carbohydrate foods confirm this hypothesis.
What ants eat in nature and how often they feed. Working individuals eat several times a day. Pad and honeydew make up 60% of their diet. The rest is a variety of products:
- carrion of insects and small animals
- other insect larvae,
- small invertebrates,
- plant sap,
Ants can attack a live caterpillar, biting to paralyze it with its poison and drag it into the hole. Also, a nestling that has fallen from the nest can be killed by insects and in parts transferred to the storerooms.
Ants can attack a live caterpillar and drag it into a hole
Collecting food, ants feed on the juice of berries, fruits of trees and vegetables. They lure rough food home and put it in storerooms. In winter, working individuals chew on it with their strong jaws and feed the rest.
When their eggs appear larva, working ants take care of it. Some of the larvae can eat on their own and they simply get the protein food in the form of bodies of dead insects, larvae, caterpillars. The rest do not have a mouth or even an outlet for waste products. However, they grow and develop. Working individuals process food and easily digestible composition is introduced to the larvae.
During the growth period, the larva changes its cover 4 times. It is soft, without chitin. All dumped is stored in the storerooms until winter.
The larva changes its coverage 4 times over the growth period
In the summer of food a lot. During this period, the female lays eggs in stock. Some of the larvae do not develop, remain in such a state permanently and do not turn into an imago and an adult. They become the food supply of the family.
In winter, only in the northern regions ants hibernate. The rest close tight entrance and continue their activities. During this period, breeding does not occur. When the stock decreases in the storerooms, they eat the undeveloped larvae and the remaining eggs, the discarded larvae of the larvae.
In the garden and in the garden ants, just as their wild relatives breed aphids. In addition, they spoil the fruit and suck the juice from the plants. They do not even run past the vegetables planted in the beds, or rather the seeds laid in the ground. Often without waiting for shoots, you have to sow carrots and onions again.
In the garden and garden, ants spoil the fruit and suck the juice from the plants
A large number of ant families in the garden leads to acidification of the soil and only sorrel grows well in the garden if the pests do not take the seeds to them.
The main damage from arthropod parasites in the garden:
- spoil the berries, drinking juice,
- eat fruits and vegetables
- spread diseases of plants, ticks,
- destroy the beds,
- destroy flowers and buds,
- bred aphid
- increase soil acidity,
- destroy trees, bite bark and trunks inside,
- bite and infect domestic animals.
Ants spread diseases of plants, ticks
Eating everything in the garden and in the garden, the ants spoil the plants and flowers. In an effort to get to perga, they gnaw on the petals, disfiguring them. Additionally, I put aphids on young shoots of roses and other ornamental shrubs. Strawberries do not have time to ripen, but already eaten by insects.
Domestic ants Pharaohs prefer sweet high-calorie food. It replaces them with a drop. In the first place insects pick up sugar, honey, jam. At the same time they drag everything that they find in the kitchen and not only into the nest:
They will climb into the garbage can and clean the egg shells from the protein on the walls. Animals in the bowl will pick up crumbs and even grab a drop of its saliva. Ants can attack a cockroach, kill it and turn it into food supplies. They drag the larvae to themselves and make their stocks.
Home ants prefer sweet, high-calorie foods.
Arthropod predators help people get rid of the moth by eating pupae and adult butterflies. Masonry flies for just a find. Insects can attack the nest of bedbugs. But this is if everything in the kitchen is washed to shine, not a single crumb has fallen on the floor, and there are no greasy drops on the tile. Additionally disinfected animal bowls and trash can.
Ants can bite people and animals, pinching off pieces of the epidermis and blowing poison. For adults, it's just an unpleasant feeling. Children can suffer greatly.
Among omnivores there are species of ants who prefer certain foods.
The reapers feed mainly on grass and plant seeds. For the season they can drag them into their pantries to a kilogram of grain. Additionally, eat the stems, leaves.
The presence of leaf cutters is immediately noticeable. They gnaw leaves, cutting off strips one by one, starting from the tender side opposite to the tail. In the nest, they process everything into a mushy mass and grow mushrooms on it, which feeds the entire colony.
Ponerins are separated into a separate subspecies. Their colonies feed on insects, each with one specific species. Some attack bees, others attack wasps or beetles, caterpillars, but only of one species.
In the southern regions, the centerirmexes feed exclusively on termites. And in our forests, wood borer ants spoil the bark in the trees to get a gum - a protruding resin.
The food of ants is so diverse that it is impossible to name that they do not eat. Insect is suitable for all that has a protein and vegetable origin.
What ants eat in the apartment
Regarding these insects, it is impossible to give an unequivocal answer about what ants eat in nature or in the winter in the house. Small pests can at one time feed on dry leaves, tree sap, bread crumbs, or dead flies. In the apartment this insect can find any kind of food, because even bread crumbs, drops of butter and spilled sugar attract them. The pest is able to live even for the smallest crumbs of food, so a person should carefully clean his house and do the cleaning, especially in winter.
What ants eat at home
The diet of this pest in nature and in the apartment is somewhat different. In the forest, they eat leaves, insects, juices, dew and various products that get into nature from man. If black or other parasites have entered the house, they will enjoy even spices and synthetic products. This means that in winter and summer, the contents of containers with any food and food should be tightly closed.
Also, the diet of small parasites can be called similar to a human, because even a wild black ant eats ordinary foods that can be found on the table in humans. In winter, from the usual forest environment in nature, these pests can go into an apartment if it gets in their way. Both in nature and in the house, a large family of insects eats various products, depending on their position in the anthill. The best food in nature or home conditions goes to the older ants, while others eat other foods.
What feeds the uterus of the ant
Small black and other pests eat food in winter and at any time of the year, depending on their position in the anthill. The uterus in nature and in the house prefers protein food. Often, this is food of animal origin, for example, the remains of insects or large animals, small flies that live even in winter, dairy derivatives, human food and eggs of animals. So eat black and red womb, in winter and all year round.
What feed ant larvae
Small larvae eat mostly light carbohydrate foods. This may be a plant, a mushroom, juices of herbs and trees, small insects. In the apartment black and other small larvae of ants eat sugar dishes and ingredients, jam and honey. In some cases, they even eat the larvae from other anthills.
How to get rid of ants in the apartment forever?
Dirty dishes and the presence of food residues leads to the fact that in winter or summer small black ants can start in an apartment. To get rid of them, you need to apply special tools - purchased chemical or folk.
Ant products in the apartment
Among the chemicals from black red and red ants, there are several options. Often, in winter or summer, they call for a brigade for disinsection, which allows you to quickly forget about pests. Insecticidal aerosols are also sold, for example, Raptor, Reid, Combat, Armol, Dichlorvos and others. Also in the house where parasites feed, you can use special gels: Raptor, Sturm, Clean House and others. Pests eat these gels, after which comes the destructive effect. Perhaps the use of a pencil, which killed black and other parasites, even insect-reaper. This may be chalk "Masha" and other products.
Folk remedies for ants in the apartment
Getting rid of parasites is also available using folk remedies and recipes. Often use of boric acid, which is diluted with water, and put on the paths of pests and baseboards. You can also scatter cornmeal along these paths or apply a solution of water and yeast. The key to effectively combating folk or chemical products is cleanliness in the home and inaccessibility of kitchen products.
Standard diet of the most common species of ants
Food for ants of most species is a wide range of simple products of both animal and vegetable origin. Pharaoh ants, and in the tropics - other species that live in residential buildings, actively and with pleasure eat synthetic foodstuffs used for preparing semi-finished products or as seasonings.
It is noteworthy that the ants are dragging into the anthill all the products that they come across, after which the whole food ration is divided in a certain order between the colony members:
- the larvae eat mostly protein foods of animal origin. In nature, these are the remains of other insects or larger animals, eggs of various pests, and in the house or apartment, in addition, dairy products, gelatin, and remnants of egg dishes. Protein food is essential for the larvae - they need to grow and develop.
It is difficult for ants to isolate some product prevailing in the diet. If only because each species occupies its own ecological niche and specializes in extracting certain feeds.
Some ants are obligate predators. For example, stray ants or cerapahis ants feed almost exclusively on insects at all stages of their development.
The uterus also eats mainly protein food, and in many species, ants caring for the uterus specially chew food for it and provide the most convenient “dessert” for use.
The basis of carbohydrate diets in many species of ants are honeydew and pad. The first is the sweet juices secreted by the leaves of trees with sharp fluctuations in temperature. The second is the sugary excreta of some insects, among which the most known aphid.
According to scientists, in ordinary red forest ants, the fall makes up about 60% of the diet! It is not surprising that these forest workers are so attached to the herds of their milk aphids.
And dwarf ants as a source of carbohydrates collect gums - the well-known wood resin released in places of damage to the bark of the tree. However, they are also very tied to the colonies of aphids - all ants should be eaten frequently, and the gum is released on the bark non-permanently.
In reaper ants, the basis of the carbohydrate diet is dry grass seed - a rather coarse and solid food. The soldiers' work of these ants in their free time from the defense of the nest is grinding the powerful jaws of such seeds to produce a kind of soft gruel, which other members of the colony can feed on.
How often do ants eat?
Ants eat frequently - several times a day. As a rule, forager ants (those whose task is to find and transport food) combine the pleasant with the useful, feeding on a part of the forage relative to the ant hill. Ants in the anthill are constantly fed from the collected stocks.
In many anthills live insects that have adapted to the neighborhood of ants - some beetles and their larvae, some species of moth. Usually they protect themselves with the ability to secrete a pad, thanks to which ants not only do not offend them, but also allow them to feed on their own eggs. Each ant, running past such a tenant, will not miss the opportunity to tickle a beetle or a caterpillar with antennae and get a portion of sweet syrup in return.
Долго голодать муравьи могут только в период зимовки, и то — только при зимовке при переохлаждении. Большинство отечественных муравьев, зимующих под землей, в спячку не впадают, а зимой продолжают активно бодрствовать в закупоренном муравейнике. Для питания в этот период они используют ранее собранные обильные запасы.
In the southern regions of our country, common ants-reapers can gather up to a kilogram of seeds in an anthill for a warm period of the year - this is enough for a normal colony in the winter. During wintering time, the larvae do not have an anthill, and the colony does not need protein food. By the way, seeds make up about 97% of the diet of the ants reapers.
During the winter, ants may go hungry, especially when the temperature drops. Ants living in the northern part of Russia can stay in a state of hibernation for up to 9 months a year without eating anything.
Fans of keeping ant colonies at home know that the main rule of successful ant breeding is the constant availability of food in insect free access. Even during wintering, when an artificial anthill is placed in a refrigerator, food is constantly placed in the feeder: at temperatures above zero, some foragers can run out of the nest in search of food.
The type of food that is important for all ants is the so-called trophic eggs - eggs laid by the uterus during a period of excess food and not developing into larvae. Their ants eat with the deficiencies of other feed in the "hungry" months.
Ants gourmets, or examples of narrow food specialization
Among ants, there are a large number of species that prefer to use only one or two products instead of a wide variety of feeds. Among these species are the following:
- Leaf cutter ants are one of the few living beings in general who have learned how to farm. They collect in the anthill pieces of leaves, bitten by foragers, chew these leaves into a mushy mass, put in special chambers in the nest, act as greenhouses and feed on the mushrooms developing in the leaf mass. At the same time, the leaves themselves are not suitable for food by ants, since they are too rough and poorly nourished.
At the same time, the feeding of the larvae of ants is so specific that it is necessary to tell about it separately.
Larvae get animal squirrels. These are zoological remains, insect eggs. From the house, the ants draw gelatin, scrambled eggs and dairy dishes. For growth and development of the larvae require proteins.
Adults consume carbohydrates. It is easily absorbed by the body, seeds, nuts, nectar of flowers and sap of trees, the pulp of fruits and roots of plants. Insects pull honey, sugar, and jam from the human's home.
Each ant species produces a specific feed.
- Only insects and their larvae serve as food for stray ants and ants cerapahis.
- Uterine ants are fed with ground food, which they chew themselves. She eats such a dessert.
- Some species of insects are used pad and honeydew. Such dew is formed on the leaves of trees after temperature drops. Padju is called sugary excretions of aphids and some other insects.
The food of the ant reapers are dry plant seeds. It is a hard food, but it contains carbohydrates. Slaves of this species of insects, except for the protection of the nest, are obliged to grind hard seeds with strong jaws before the formation of soft gruel. She is then eaten by other insects, occupying a higher status.
Ant feeding frequency
Insects eat more than once a day. Forager ants do not miss the chance to have lunch on the way. Insects remaining at home also feed on stored reserves.
In the anthill, in addition to the owners themselves, other insects live, such as beetles, caterpillars, moths and their larvae. The owners do not chase them, even allocate their eggs to their share. Instead, they eat their syrup. To do this, touch the tenant and he will allocate a little tasty syrup.
Ants in winter - how ants winter
In winter, the ant family is forced to starve. Ants living in Russia do not fall into anabiosis, but are active in a closed anthill. Their scarce nutrition consists of former stocks.
In the south of Russia, reaper ants are able to harvest about one kilogram of seeds of various herbs during the summer months. Then they will calmly transfer all the winter months, there will be no hunger in the anthill. In winter, there are no larvae in the ant heap. Without the protein food that the larvae need, ants can do without.
Reaper ants mostly eat seeds, they make up to 97% of their diet. Northern ants sleep all 9 winter months. During hibernation, they do not need food.
Gourmets among ants
Some species of ants, with all the variety of food balance, choose only 1-2 types of food. These gourmets include the following insects:
- Ants leaf cutters. They are engaged in harvesting hay.
Ants leaf cutters
Forager ants drag leaves into an anthill. They grind them themselves to sticky gruel. It is placed in a special chamber in the anthill. Like greenhouses. Mushrooms sprout on the leaf porridge. Ants do not feed on hard grass.
Ants larvae feeding
The larvae feed in two ways: they are able to feed themselves and those who cannot eat food themselves. Last more. Adults are forced to saturate them with trofollaxis. Ants feed the larvae with food that has already been partially digested in their stomach.
Self-feeding larvae are able to consume non-living insects. They are eaten by larvae from another anthill, trophic eggs, or other protein foods.
Larvae of leaf-cutting ants eat mushrooms grown in an anthill.
From what the larvae feed on, their further fate depends. Will they after pupation slaves, or womb. Thus, the anthill can be considered a democratic society. There, the working ants themselves decide who to be private and who to the ant queen.