Do Ants Like Honey? The Sweet Truth

Ants are one of the most common household pests, often invading our homes in search of food. Many of us have likely seen ants swarming around sources of sweetness like sugar and syrup, but what about honey?

Do ants like honey? In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about ants and their relationship with honey.

We’ll also uncover whether or not pure honey attracts ants, the types of ants that are attracted to honey, and whether ants prefer honey or sugar.

Additionally, we’ll look at whether honey can be harmful to ants and how to remove ants from honey.

So, let’s get started and find out if ants are as big a fan of honey as we are!

Do Ants Like Honey?

Do Ants Like Honey?

Ants are known for their attraction to sweet substances, and honey is no exception. Honey contains natural sugars that provide ants with a valuable source of energy, making it a desirable food source.

When a scout ant discovers a source of honey, it quickly alerts the rest of the colony, triggering a coordinated effort to gather and transport the honey back to the nest.

This behavior is driven by the ants’ insatiable attraction to the sweet taste and aroma of honey.

Do Ants Eat Honey?

Do Ants Eat Honey?

Absolutely! Ants consume honey with great enthusiasm. Once they locate a honey source, they use their specialized mouthparts to lap up the thick, gooey liquid.

Honey provides ants with a rich source of energy, fueling their daily activities such as foraging for food, maintaining their nests, and caring for their young. It’s a vital component of their diet that keeps their colonies thriving.

However, not all ants consume honey in the same way. Some species of ants, such as leafcutter ants, may not be able to consume honey directly due to their specialized diets.

Ants Eating Honey Time Lapse (eLapse)

Instead, they may use honey as a nutrient source for the fungus they cultivate for food. In this case, the ants feed the honey to their fungus, which then breaks it down into simpler sugars that the ants can consume.

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Does Honey Attract Ants?

Honey is a well-known attractant for ants due to its high sugar content, which provides the ants with a rich source of energy.

Ants have a remarkable sense of smell that allows them to detect the sweet aroma of honey from far away. They can assess odor molecules and form a pheromone trail to guide their fellow ants to the source of the food.

This coordinated effort helps to ensure that the entire colony can share in the bounty of the honey.

Does Pure Honey Attract Ants?

Pure honey is not as attractive to ants as diluted honey due to its highly viscous nature and low water activity. The stickiness of pure honey can make it difficult for ants to extract and consume the sugar molecules, leading to less interest from the pests.

However, certain types of pure honey can still attract ants depending on their moisture content and location.

Are Ants Attracted to Pure Honey? (

Moisture contents can vary among different types of honey, and honey that is less sticky and more watery has more air and scent molecules that are released through evaporation.

This can make it more appealing to ants as they can detect its sweet aroma from further away.

In some cases, raw honey that has a unique smell like aged cheese or fresh grass may not attract insects as they tend to prefer food with a sweeter taste.

Therefore, while pure honey may not be as attractive to ants as diluted honey, it can still attract them depending on its moisture content and location.

The type of honey and the preferences of the particular species of ants will also play a role in determining whether ants are drawn to pure honey or not.

Are All Ants Attracted to Honey?

While ants, in general, have a fondness for sugary substances, not all ant species are equally attracted to honey. The level of attraction can vary depending on the species and their dietary preferences.

Here are the types of ants that are particularly drawn to the sweet temptation of honey.

Types of Ants Attracted to Honey

Types of Ants Attracted to Honey

Sugar-loving Ants

  • Ants that have a strong affinity for sweet substances are typically the ones most attracted to honey.
  • These ants have specialized taste receptors that allow them to detect and seek out sugary food.

Opportunistic Ants

  • Some ants, known as opportunistic feeders, are attracted to a wide range of food sources, including honey.
  • These species are adaptable and will seize the opportunity to exploit any available food resource.

Forager Ants

  • Ants with extensive foraging habits are more likely to encounter and be attracted to honey sources.
  • Forager ants, like the black garden ant (Lasius niger) and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), actively search their surroundings for food.
  • If honey is present, they will eagerly partake in its sweet goodness.
While many species of ants are attracted to honey, individual ants within a colony may vary in their interest in this sweet substance.
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Does Honey Kill Ants?

Honey is not directly toxic to ants and is not typically lethal to them but its sticky nature can pose challenges and inconveniences for these tiny creatures.

Honey itself does not possess toxic properties that are specifically harmful to ants. In fact, ants can consume honey without suffering any adverse effects.

However, the stickiness of honey can become a hindrance for ants. When ants come into contact with honey, they can get trapped in its viscous texture, making movement difficult and impeding their ability to navigate effectively.

Weaver ant is stuck in honey (Awe Nature!)

The sticky nature of honey can also interfere with ants’ ability to communicate using pheromone trails.

Ants rely heavily on chemical signals to establish paths between food sources and their nests. When honey obstructs these trails, it can disrupt their communication network and potentially lead to confusion within the colony.

Additionally, if an ant accidentally falls into a larger quantity of honey, it may struggle to free itself and may ultimately succumb to exhaustion or drowning.

This scenario is more likely to occur when ants encounter large pools or spills of honey rather than small droplets.

It's worth noting that the impact of honey on ants can vary depending on the ant species and the specific circumstances. 

Some ants may exhibit adaptations or behaviors that allow them to deal with honey more effectively, while others may find it more challenging to navigate through sticky substances.

How to Remove Ants from Honey

If you found ants in your jar of honey, it can be frustrating but there are ways to remove them and save your sweet treat.

Here are some methods you can try.

How to Remove Ants from Honey

Isolate the Infested Honey

  • If you spot ants in your jar of honey, it’s important to act swiftly to prevent further contamination.
  • Remove the jar from areas accessible to ants and place it in a location where ants cannot reach it.

Clean the Jar

  • Thoroughly clean the outside of the honey jar to remove any ant trails or residual honey.
  • Use warm soapy water and a sponge or cloth to wipe away any traces of ants.
  • Rinse the jar well to ensure it is free from any soapy residue.

Strain the Honey

  • If ants have gotten into the honey itself, straining it can help remove any unwanted intruders.
  • Place a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth over a clean container and carefully pour the honey through it.
  • This will catch any ants or debris, allowing you to collect the clean honey below.

Try Water Bath

  • Another method is to place the jar of honey in a warm water bath.
  • Make sure the water is not too hot to avoid damaging the honey.
  • The heat will cause the ants to float to the top of the honey, where they can be skimmed off with a spoon or a fine mesh strainer.

Try Freezing the Honey

  • You can also try freezing the honey for a few hours.
  • The ants will freeze and become easier to remove.
  • Once frozen, you can use a spoon or a knife to scoop out the ants.
Once you have successfully removed the ants from the honey, store it in a sealed container or jar with airtight lids. 

This will prevent future ant infestations and ensure the honey remains fresh and uncontaminated.
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How to Get Rid of Ants With Honey

Did you know that you can use honey to get rid of ants in your home? It may sound surprising but ants are naturally attracted to sweet smells, making honey a perfect bait to lure them away from your living space.

Here are some practical ways to use honey as an ant killer that is safe and effective.

How to Get Rid of Ants With Honey

Honey and Boric Acid Solution

  • In a small container, mix 1 teaspoon of boric acid with 1/2 cup of honey.
  • Heat the mixture gently until the boric acid dissolves.
  • Combine 1/2 cup of water with the honey and boric acid mixture.
  • Place the solution in a shallow dish or container near the ant trail.
  • The sweet honey will attract the ants, and as they consume the mixture, the boric acid will kill them.

Decoy Honey Trap

  • Set up a small dish with a spoonful of honey or sugar water outside near your house, away from the areas you want to protect.
  • Ants will be drawn to this alternative food source and consume the contents of the dish.
  • Periodically refill the dish and gradually move it farther away from your house to divert the ants’ attention.

Use Honey as Bait for Ant Traps

  • Create an ant trap by mixing honey with peanut butter.
  • The sweet honey will attract the ants, while the sticky peanut butter will trap them.
  • Place the bait in strategic locations where ants are frequently seen, such as along ant trails or near entry points.

Construct a Moat

  • Additionally, you can construct a moat to deter ants from reaching the honey.
  • Surround the container holding the honey with a moat made of water.
  • The moat acts as a barrier, preventing ants from reaching the honey.
  • Ensure the water is deep enough to deter the ants from crossing.
By using honey in these ways, you can effectively get rid of ants in your home without the use of harmful chemicals.
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Can I Feed Honey to My Ants?

If you’re keeping ants as pets or simply want to provide them with a treat, feeding them honey can be an enticing option.

However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind to ensure the well-being of your ant colony.

  • If you have a dedicated ant colony in an ant farm or formicarium, offering honey as a food source can be a great way to supplement their diet.
  • Many ant species enjoy the sweet taste of honey and will readily consume it.
How to Safely Feed Honey to Your Ants (AntsCanada)
  • Before feeding honey to your ants, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s pure and free from any additives or preservatives.
  • When offering honey to your ants, it’s essential to do so in moderation.
  • Excessive amounts of honey can lead to a buildup of stickiness, making it difficult for ants to move around or causing entrapment.
  • To prevent such issues, place small droplets or dabs of honey on a feeding platform or within the ant habitat.
  • This allows the ants to access the honey without creating a messy environment.
  • While honey can be a delightful treat for ants, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet overall.
Feeding my queen ants honey (Ants Anatomy)
If you notice that your ants are not particularly attracted to honey, you can experiment with other sugary alternatives. 

For example, sugar water or diluted honey solutions can be offered to see if they are more appealing to your ant colony.
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Final Thoughts

To sum it up, honey is indeed attractive to ants due to its sweet smell. However, this does not mean that you need to give up your love for honey or put up with ant invasions in your home.

With the right techniques and approaches, honey can be used as an effective tool to eliminate ants and keep them away from your living space.

Whether you choose to use honey and boric acid solution, a decoy honey trap, or a combination of honey and peanut butter as bait for ant traps, you can enjoy your honey without any unwanted guests.

So, With these practical tips, you can enjoy your honey without the unwelcome presence of ants.

FAQs

Do all ants like honey?

While most ants are attracted to sweet smells, not all ants like honey specifically. Some ants may prefer other sweet substances, such as sugar water or fruit juice.

Do ants like honey or sugar better?

Ants are generally attracted to both honey and sugar, but the type of ant and its preference can vary. Some ants may prefer honey, while others may prefer sugar water or other sweet substances.

Does honey facial wash attract ants?

It’s possible that honey facial wash could attract ants due to the sweet scent, but it’s not a common problem. Keeping the wash away from areas where ants are present can help prevent any issues.

Is it safe to eat honey with ants in it?

While ants in honey are not harmful to consume, some people may find them unappetizing. Removing the ants by straining the honey or freezing it can help make it more enjoyable.

Will ants get trapped in honey?

Yes, ants can get trapped in honey due to its sticky and viscous nature. The high viscosity of honey can hinder ants’ movement and potentially lead to them getting stuck in the honey.

What should I do if ants invade my honey jar?

To remove ants from honey, strain the honey or freeze it to make the ants easier to remove. To prevent future invasions, store honey in a sealed container or keep it in the refrigerator.

Do ants attack bee hives?

Yes, certain species of ants, such as fire ants and carpenter ants, are known to attack bee hives. They may prey on bees, consume brood, or steal honey and pollen.

Resources – (for further reading)

AntWiki – Classification of Ants

University of Florida – ENY-169/IN1181: Ant Control in the Apiary

I'm Ernest M Noah, the founder of BugsTips.com. I have years of experience as an exterminator in Texas and Idaho, and I'm passionate about educating people on how to deal with pest problems effectively and safely.